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Author Topic: Teaching High School vs (Normal) University?  (Read 711 times)

Calach Pfeffer

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Teaching High School vs (Normal) University?
« on: March 04, 2016, 06:45:50 AM »
What are the major differences?

I know in a what's called a "normal university", that is, a post-secondary college emphasizing teacher training but still offering a range of subects for 3-4 years of study, students are immediately collected into classes. Some kind of thought goes into which student goes into which class, and the classes are ranked. But from there on in, students are likely to stay in that one class and to spend most of their day for the next four years together. Their daily timetables are fairly completely scheduled from 8am to about 6pm though in any given day there will be gaps. They are expected to study. They start out aged 18-19. They finish aged 21-22.

My experience tells me that by and large given something interesting and relatively accessible, these young people will attempt to learn. They'll involve themselves more or less in the process of coming to understand. They may or may not also perform tasks for assessment. Within the relatively strict confines of their environment, they can be counted on to make relatively adult choices about what they will do in and for class. It's been a long while since I've encountered any significant discipline problem.

I think all this has be more or less true every place I've worked. I've seen (and not been pleased with) a more entitled clientele at private schools, but that was years ago and I don't know what I'd be like in front of them these days.

But what's high school like?
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rattie

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Re: Teaching High School vs (Normal) University?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2016, 10:31:53 AM »
I am at a 'normal', and your description sounds idyllic! Or perhaps as you don't teach English 'as such' your conditions are different. I'm preparing English Majors for the TEM4, I teach writing, and correcting their homework which has been my day's project has put me into a right proper funk.

Gave them sample test questions, exercise was to write a topic sentence to begin their essay only. The plan being to move onto paragraph and essay structure next. The rubbish 4 word sentences I received were shameful, Truly embarrassing and have made me have a very serious pause for reflection filled with self doubt and general dismay.  ananananan

I have experience of 2 high schools, here. One was a 'private rich kids on the way overseas on daddy's kuai' school, didn't matter whether they did well in class work or not, they were set. Discipline there was godawful, if I dared attempt anything apart from playtime activities there was revolution of the nastiest kind in the room. With absolutely no recourse in terms of discipline, couldn't inflict fear - parents and headmaster didn't care -it's all about money.

But, the bit of work I did at a really good public high school was amazing, absolutely incredible. Young people so motivated, so interesting, so quick on the uptake. It was sheer joy daily. Those kids had opinions and ideas, they had things they did outside school hours that were actually interesting, they were thinkers and had ambitions that went beyond wanting a lot of money one day.... sadly most of them drifted off overseas for their further education, so they won't contribute over here any more

I suppose what I'm trying to express is that if it's a 'good' high school, not simply one that pays a lot, you may find China's hidden gold.
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Teaching High School vs (Normal) University?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 11:02:33 AM »
I might be having a bit of the rose tinting because I'm remembering just now the unpleasantness that was the first semester offering the business studies classes. I now know those students to be bright and capable (by and large) but at the time those classes were very disappointing. They consisted of two class groups together in an unneccessarily large ampitheater style classroom. That plus me having not yet calibrated my delivery of the subject matter didn't work well.

I suppose what I'm asking is what are these young people like when they're even younger. Do they need different kinds of teaching? Do they need more guidance? Are attention spans shorter?

They're not tiny adults, are they?


The thing is, the kind of young adults I see in college classrooms are not at all like their putative younger selves, the shell suited fiends I see elsewhere in China. Are the people I see in class, like, the broken in version?
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