Schools and the ALT
Teaching English at
Junior High School is regarded as being one of the most challenging since
the students are often more interested in establishing their own personal
identity amongst their peers than sitting down and learning another
language. At times, as many JTEs and ALTs will attest, this can be
difficult and even frustrating. Yet, despite this, teenage students are
actually the best able learners.
Most Junior High
ALT's are one-shots (i.e. not based at one school but instead visit many
schools) or if they do have a base-school, they may only spend sporadic
periods of time teaching there.@For this reason
alone, JTEs and ALTs alike should try to take advantage of the time that
they are working together in that school. It should be highlighted that
many ALT's are not trained English teachers. In any case, since they are
often one-shots, it is very difficult for them to know exactly what level
of English the students may have. They will be relying quite heavily on the
JTE's knowledge of the students. Good communication between the JTE and the
ALT is therefore essential.@Establish early on
exactly what you both wish to achieve whilst team-teaching together—what
roles you will play in formulating lesson plans and how you will team-teach
in class. Remember, emphasis should be placed on the quality of the English
lessons you give and the quality of the learning undertaken by the
students. Arbitrary activities are not always effective.
Most JHS students
may not have had the opportunity to speak with a native English speaker.
Both the ALT and the JTE should encourage as much communication as possible
with the students both inside and outside of the classroom as this can be
immensely rewarding and enjoyable. Similarly, using creative, more
interactive and communicative activities in the classroom not only enhances
student learning but also increases motivation and enthusiasm. Using an ALT
to continuously carry out English dictation in class is NOT a good way to
maximize on and use the resources that they have to offer. An ALT has a
wealth of linguistic knowledge and cultural experience. It is up to both
the JTE and the ALT to fully utilize and demonstrate this during school and
afterwards at club or social activities. Ultimately, this is the best
opportunity for free conversation and discussion which is, after all, one
of the main goals of learning a foreign language!
aim...to have a simple conversation with a native speaker in English. To
achieve this, they require regular practice at exchanging ideas and
information with each other in a relaxed classroom environment.
Communication activities should be a regular feature of your classes. As
students improve, make the activities more challenging g.
English Guide (1995)