Teaching English . . . Among Other Things!

teaching-english_0Welcome to Cool Shade of Life. It may be a small Thai church, but God’s Word is taught in this place regularly and as a result people in the neighborhood are learning more about Him and His plan for their lives. I’m teaching an English class here tonight and thought you might want to “join” me for the evening.

Class starts at 6:30 pm. I like to arrive about ten minutes early to make sure everything is in place. I’ll have three students tonight – Yim, Nun, and Ay. They’re between 12 and 14 years old and we have a lot of fun together!

We’ve just started working through the Chronological Bible Series, touching on key stories and themes from Creation to Christ. As I prepare each lesson I try to discern which words from the story might be diffi cult for them to understand and what sentence structure or grammar point I should focus on. Tonight we’re talking about the six days of Creation and I’m teaching them a few “sequence words” for storytelling – first, next, then, after that, and finally.

Oh, here they are! We greet each other in the traditional Thai way – placing the palms of our hands together and bringing them towards our chin with our head bent slightly forward and saying, “Sawatdii, kha” (or “Sawatdii, khrup” if you’re a guy). After exchanging some simple conversation it’s time to get started on the lesson.

As I teach I try to remember to use simple words and speak slowly. For our first activity I’ve prepared several groups of sequence pictures. I show them the first group of pictures, they put them into the correct order and then I demonstrate how to tell the story using the new sequence words. I write these words on the board so they can copy them to their worksheets. Now it’s their turn to try these words and tell a story with new picture groups that I give each of them.

Then it’s time for them to make it personal. I ask them to use the sequence words to tell me about something they made and how they felt about what they made. After they share their stories I am ready to move into the Bible lesson and tell them what God made and how He felt about it. As I tell the creation story using pictures to show what was made on each day I once again emphasize the sequence words that we’ve been focusing on.

Next I have them play several games in order to check their comprehension of the story I just told. For one of the games, I’ve prepared a paper dice with days 1-6. They take turns rolling it and saying what God made on each day.

Before we know it an hour has passed and it’s time to wrap up the evening. I teach them a song about the different things God made. As I sing the song the second time I notice that they seem distracted by something under the table. Hmmm, what’s going on? Oh… Nun is trying to record the song on her cell phone! “That’s okay,” I tell them! “You don’t need to be shy about it. Let’s all sing the song together from beginning to end so she can record it!”

And now it’s time to go. Their parents are here to pick them up. I go out to say goodbye. As they climb on their motorbikes they wave and say, “Thank you! See you next week!” And another English class is history. Thanks for “joining” us this evening. You’re welcome anytime!

By Katrina Nisely, IGo English Teacher (I Witness News/Spring 2008)

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