Saturday, 23 January 2010

Language teaching stereotypes

We have an annual school marketing evening where prospective new students come to see what our school might have to offer them. In our school system, it is at the age of 16 that students make a big choice between a more academic senior high school and different vocational schools. In areas where there are several high schools to choose from, there is a serious competition between them to attract the best possible students to their school.

This month we organized this evening again for 2010. After a general info session in the school cafeteria, the visiting students and their parents then go around to school to see different classroom and meet all the various subject teachers to be able to learn about studying at our school. Different subject departments go into great lengths to decorate the classroom and make their subject look interesting and attractive.

All us foreign language teachers shared one classroom - English, Swedish, German, French, Russian and Italian.

For English, apart from the candles that are there just to look pretty, there is a London taxi and double decker bus, plus all the textbooks used. Doesn't give a very vibrant and modern image of language classes, does it? Wouldn't you like to know what is actually done in the lessons, how the students learn, possibly what new technology is used to enhance their learning? How could we move beyond the old touristy stereotypical clich├ęs to present a language?


Jim said...

I believe English speaks for itself. You can display names of famous English authors and books.

sinikka said...

Thank you for your suggestions Jim! It's a real dilemma how to present a language without resorting to worn-out stereotypes.