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Teaching and learning in Australian classes

作者:zhangxiuyin 来源: 发布时间:2008年10月09日 点击数:

Ji Hong (Lisa)

 

参观悉尼歌剧院和海港大桥

在昆士兰科技大学上课时发言

When I was in China, I was very curious about high school education in Australia because I can learn something from their education. So I chose the topic Teaching and learning in Australian classes. I interviewed some students from high school, some freshmen from QUT  and my homestay. My questions are as follows:

1.      What subjects do you learn?

2.      How do teachers teach, especially English teachers?

3.      What are the individual work and collaborative work in classes?

4.      What kind of abilities have you improved at school?

5.      What is the relationship between teachers and students?

 

They said they have three main subjects to learn: English, science and maths. They also have other elective courses such as: drama, photography, law, accounting, manual work, media and foreign language studies including French, German, Japanese and Chinese. Generally speaking, these elective courses are evaluated three times every year by marking A,B,C,D. The students enjoy different sports such as: swimming, playing basketball, volleyball, cricket, going to the gym. Even the girls like soccer. Teachers also organize students to participate in all kind of activities such as excursions, debating and singing competitions. My homestay, who was once a school councilor, said by leaning these practical subjects, students can learn knowledge as well as some life skills. In this way, students can make good preparations for their future careers, especially for the students who will not go to university.

        

Whether in a private school or in a public school, all the teachers will try their best to make  their students interested in their classes. A high school student said nearly all their teachers use multimedia, real objects and pictures to assist their teaching. She said multimedia can help to arouse their interests as well as making maths and science problems easier. They really like to attend such kind of classes attentively. I quite agree with her because it is the same case in China.

 

Teachers also use a lot of different creative ways to motivate and challenge their students to learn, for example: pair or group work, learning by singing, giving performances in drama classes, doing some research work on the Internet and conducting surveys. They help each other, so they feel less stressed and are more willing to solve the difficult problems. Students also have individual work: reading, drawing, finishing sheets, giving presentations, and solving maths problems. In China, students from the countryside are not even so willing to speak in public and feel embarrassed. So I think, we teachers need to fill our brains with new ideas and our students need more individual and collaborative work instead of just doing some repetitive homework or memorizing something mechanically. Maybe another problem is that many teachers have big classes and schools in the country do not have enough modern facilities, for example: computers, libraries and stadiums etc.

 

Compared to China, they have a quite a different way of teaching English. Of course, I know English is their mother language, but I think  there is still something for us to learn. They have their text books. Similarly, teachers first get the students to understand the text, read and explain something, ask and  answer questions. However , the most important thing they do is to write a report whose topic is related to the text. While writing the report, they are asked to surf the Internet or conduct surveys. After they accomplish the task individually or in a cooperative way, they are asked to give a presentation in class using powerpoint, video or something else.

 

Not only do they learn their from text books but also they spend a lot of time in libraries. A student from a private school said they will go to the library together with the teacher once or twice a week and they also read at lunch time. In the libraries, teachers teach them library skills or help them to find proper materials. Teachers are quite supportive. In order to know what the students have learnt, teachers will give them a topic to write a report or students are required to write a bibliography, telling teachers what kind of books they have read.

 

Both my homestay and high school students told me that by learning at school, they can improve their various abilities such as: listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, working in a team, doing research, leadership, involvement in activities and solving problems independently. They may also form a good personality: brave, confident, smart and outgoing instead of being timid or self- centered.       

 

I remember an expert said, the relationship between teachers and students may decide what and how the students learn. So, I asked whether they like their teachers and what kind of teachers in their eyes are good teachers. They think a good teacher should be welcoming, friendly, humorous, creative, enthusiastic, easy to understand as well as being someone who can make lessons interesting and doesn’t assign too much homework.

 

But things do not always go that way. The student from the private school said that their teachers are authoritative, supportive and responsible. They place limits and controls on them, but they also encourage them to think independently by asking appropriate questions and challenging them to investigate for themselves. Students like them and like their lessons because they are fair, kind and can involve the students in classroom activities and praise them for their good work and effort. Their teachers will help them whenever they need it.

       

But the student from the public school said they feel quite unequal to the teachers who seem to be above them in classes. They also complain teachers place too many expectations on them. They can’t behave as expected and can’t achieve their goals. In classes, they hate to copy down the notes from the board and they feel it unfair for the teachers to pay more attention to some good students.

 

In my opinion, different students have different tastes. But the truth is that if students have a good relationship with teachers, they can learn more, which contributes to more effective teaching and leaning.

 

This is what I learnt  about teaching and leaning  in Australian classes. Nowadays, China is carrying out curriculum changes. From my point of view, we can learn something new and effective in foreign countries to help our education innovation.

 

 

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