Hello. I'm a university student in Korea.
In this semester, I'm attending an English conversation class,
which is taught by an American teacher.
He is kind of unusual compared to other teachers,
and now I wonder if I can say it's just his teaching style.
We have 10 students in class, and the teacher is not very stern or severe.
And if we want to take a break of 30 minutes, he says ok.
And if we want to go home early, he says ok.
Most students speak English pretty well, so the teacher does not care a lot
about teaching English itself. He spends a half of the class in chatting
Sometimes our reading textbook or even group discussion is interrupted by
Also he doesn't care about answering the cell phone during the class.
He says "This is a conversation class. When I talk over the phone, you can
listen to the real English!"
I don't know he was joking or not, but he answers his phone in class anyway.
At the beginning of this semester, the teacher said, "Students are
for the class, not a teacher. If you don't participate in the class and you
get interested in the class, it's your problem. "
Do you agree with him?
I agree that students are responsible for their class. But the teacher is,
Although it is a conversation class, only talking and chatting is not all
What do you think?
It should not be necessary for a teacher to be stern and severe unless
the class is made up of delinquents intent on disrupting instead of
Unless that's an occasional occurance--very occasional--I'd say it's
irresponsible of the teacher.
That's also irresponsible unless the circumstances are extenuating.
After all, you or your parents are paying for X hours of class time and
English conversation tuition every week, and your teacher is obliged to
provide it if he's paid.
Conversation classes are for conversation, not grammar instruction,
unless the teacher notices a consistently produced pattern that is not
grammatical in English. Then he might want to bring it to everyone's
attention as something to be aware of and teach the correct grammar.
The best way to improve your conversational ability in English is by
conversing in English. If your spoken English is pretty good, then you
and your classmates should have not trouble thinking of things to say
about topics that interest you and your teacher.
Oh. I want to add that I would love to have the luxury of a
conversation class with only 10 students. My smallest over the past 20
years in Japan and Taiwan has been 18 students.
If this disturbs you, you might think about asking the teacher to be
less blasť about the structure of the class.
This is rude and a poor excuse for stealing your time to take care of
his private business. I never allow students in any of my classes to
make or accept cell phone calls during classes and I would never dream
of doing what I do not allow them to do. Such double standards are
inherently discriminatory and lead to anger and frustration for
If he thinks his phone calls are good learning materials, he should
record them, copy them, transcribe them, explain all the vocabulary in
them, and then give them to you to listen to outside of class.
This demonstrates only a partial understanding of the nature of
teaching and learning in language class (well, any kind of class,
really, but most of my experience is in language classes). Yes,
students are in part responsible for the class. They bring their bodies
to the class, and they are obliged to bring their minds as well.
Attendance is not enough to pass.
A conversation class is a performance class. But the teacher has the
obligation to provide students with motivation to perform. Students
must perform for themselves, not for the teacher. Their performance is
practice, and if students do not want to practice their English in
English class, then they should not be there. But the teacher has to
create a positive environment, one that makes students want to come and
practice their English in his class. Your teacher does not seem to be
doing that. If all he thinks he is is a Western face to look at and a
native speaker to listen to while he chats on the phone with his
friends during your class hours, then he is no teacher but a leech:
He's there because he cannot get a job anywhere else and he needs money
to pay his cell phone bill
Only if you can see that he is doing his best to motivate you to want
to participate and actually succeeding with almost everyone else in the
class. Then he is doing his job as a teacher. But if what you say is
true (I am not questioning your account, just pointing out that I've
heard only one side of the story so far), I have to say that your
teacher is not a real teacher--he's just an available native speaker.
If I see that there are uninterested and non-participating students in
my classes, I make it a point to find out why. It is something I'm
doing wrong? Are they anti-social even in their native language? Do
they hate English? Are they in the English class only because their
school or their parents require them to be? Is there something else we
as a class could to do engage their interest? Is there something else
that I as the teacher can do to engage their interest? The teacher has
some responsibilities for the class and the students have some.
I don't like talking to boring people and I don't like talking about
boring topics. If your teacher is a boring person who has no idea what
is interesting to his students, then he is being irresponsible.
Not as you have stated his case., no.
Absolutely correct. You pay money and he is paid money. He works for
you, and if he doesn't, he's stealing your money.
What else needs to be done in a particular class depends upon the
English skills of the students. But even in my highest-level classes, I
do my best to provide vocabulary, usage, and grammar points that matter
for conversational English and are appropriate for the particular
students in the class. And I do that by making sure that everyone in
the class has read the same background material and is prepared to
answer my questions about that material. Yes, I agree that more than
just chat is required. Reading and listening are also required, as are
a number of directions for the class to follow--according to their
This teacher is a problem and needs some educating.