Secret method 5: Delivering a lesson that’s a feast for the senses
Most of us would give our students a very focused lesson.
We would have a very specific lesson aim or objective that we want to achieve.
Teacher D’s lesson was nothing of the sort!
He asked his students questions. He showed them photos. He played songs for them to listen to. He gave them a video to watch.
All of this in just one lesson.
Secret method 6: Inviting other teachers to the class
Many teachers dislike being observed.
It’s nerve-wracking because if you make a big mistake, your whole department is going to know about it.
Teacher D doesn’t care.
By inviting me to observe his class, he showed me an alternative approach to teaching.
His students were also able to meet another foreign teacher, hear things from a different perspective and practice their questioning skills.
Secret method 7: Handing out small gifts as a reward
When I was a student in primary school, I remember my teacher having a huge chart on the wall. On it was the name of every student in the class.
If we did something particularly worthy of recognition, our teacher would stick a tiny star next to our name.
Teacher D does something similar - he regularly hands out small gifts to his students as a reward for their contribution.
Sometimes, he hands out sweets and at other times, it's a balloon or a small toy.
This may seem like quite a childish thing to do, particularly at university level, but his students seem to like it.
The downside to Teacher D’s secret methods
By ‘dressing down’ and not being strict, Teacher D has won the hearts of his students.
However, by doing so, he’s just perpetuating the idea that foreign teachers never teach anything important, aren’t worth taking seriously and are just good for a few laughs.
If there are any disciplinary problems in his class, such as students sleeping, playing with their phones or not doing homework, he may not be able to do anything about it.
Understanding the importance of student evaluations in China
Another criticism might be that Teacher D’s techniques aren’t conducive to learning.
His lessons are haphazard, have no clear aims and he teaches oral English by getting students to utilize receptive rather than productive skills.
So why is he deemed to be such a great success?
One simple reason is that in China, student evaluations are taken very seriously by schools.
The assumption is that if your students like you then you must be doing a good job.
Lessons learned from this successful teacher
I’ve learned a lot from Teacher D.
Even though I won’t be utilizing all his methods in my classroom, watching him deliver a successful class has opened up my eyes to how I can improve and be a better teacher in China.
And who could argue with that?