How to Teach Advanced English Classes

Autor: prof. Miulescu Florina Oana
Colegiul de silvicultură și protecția mediului, Rm. Vâlcea

Teaching Advanced English classes is not easy, but teaching students can be rewarding as you watch your students’ abilities grow each day. The purpose of these classes is to increase academic knowledge and apply that knowledge to real use, in college and in professional life. What you teach advanced students now about the use of English will help them in these endeavors.
1. Plan your syllabus. Students need this itinerary of goals, objectives and grading standards. Provide the chapter and textbook page numbers as well as names of novels or short stories they will be reading. Keep the syllabus simple, no more than two pages, using either a „1, 2, 3” or „A, B, C” outline method of writing.
2. Publish your grading scale. Because grades are the final measure of success for your students, give them a clear grading scale at the beginning of the semester. Explain the calculation and percentages you use to average their final grade. The easiest way is to categorize grades based on tests, quizzes, essays/reports, and extra-credit (if allowed). Leave nothing open to interpretation to avoid disputes.
3. You facilitate; they participate. Because this is an advanced class, your students should already have the basics of English mastered regarding grammar, usage, writing process and elements of literature. Act as facilitator, guiding the discussions about the novel or short story, asking leading questions and encouraging critical thinking. Students are the active participants, questioning each other, discussing and debating opinions, as well as sharing written papers for critique.
4. Challenge students daily. Pose open-ended questions for oral discussion and on written tests. Talk about controversial subjects, within appropriate limits, and with respect shown toward the opinions of everyone. Give writing assignments based on topics related to literature they are reading. Assignments should require personal reflection combined with outside sources to justify and support their thinking. This type of work keeps students focused and builds metacognitive skills necessary for advanced coursework.
5. Grade critically and strictly, but fairly. To prepare students for college, assess and grade on a scale similar to that of a college class.
Teaching advanced English students is challenging, but quite interesting, hence, don’t forget to be resourceful, creative and try to engage every student in class debates, group activities, in order to create a collaborative learning environment and receive a positive feedback.