In the autumn of 1888, Victorian London was gripped by a terror which it had never known before or since. Street prostitutes were being picked up by an unknown man and ripped to pieces before being left in the streets. To this day, the mystery of Jack the Ripper still intrigues and mystifies millions around the world. 

In this very dark ESL lesson strictly for adults, students will learn more about Jack the Ripper, what it was like to live in London in Victorian times and have their English lesson venture into the macbre. A real twist on the normal English lesson!

To buy the Jack the Ripper DVD to go with this ESL movie plan click here

You have a choice of ways to go with this compelling Jack the Ripper lesson. There is a Jack the Ripper reading comprehension exercise for your adult students as well as some macabre creative writing activites, one where students write a gory letter to police and the newspapers, and another where students write a newspaper article about recent Jack the Ripper murders in Whitechapel, London. A third activity is where your ESL students design their own Police Wanted Poster bearing the face and crimes of the bloody killer.

Finally, there is a gruesome Jack the Ripper ESL roleplay, where adult students can play Jack the Ripper himself, eyewitnesses, publicans, prostitutes, police, journalists and other Victorian London vagabonds! Great for Halloween!

I hope you enjoy this very cool and very sinister ESL lesson about Jack the Ripper!

Written by Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons
Hi guys, in my first article I talked about my previous job of teaching kids in a private training school in China, and the pros and cons of teaching in a English language schools in China.

In March 2015, I changed jobs and began working at a college in China, the reason for the change was simple: I was ready for a new challenge and intrigued about teaching English to older students. 
At the university I currently teach at, the English classes are divided into four parts: speaking, reading, listening, and writing. The foreign English teachers will usually teach speaking and writing classes, and the Chinese English teachers will usually teach reading and listening classes. Last semester, I taught speaking and writing in university, this semester I only have speaking classes. I am currently in my second semester at the university and I have already accepted the offer to renew my contract for another year.
Advantages of Teaching English at a University in China
The biggest advantage of working in a university in China is that compared to working at a private training school it’s extremely laid back; I go to class, teach, and go home. There is no dealing with parents, aside from a class register very little admin work, and I have no office hours (I have a key to the office I can go as much or as little as I's up to me). 

Not Set Syllabus
As I’ve now been teaching English for several years, another advantage for me is that I have complete control over what I teach in the class. There is no curriculum to follow and as long as I am in class when I should be, nobody will monitor what I teach. The students do have exams to pass, for example, for speaking; they have to have a five minute interview in which they only speak English, but this does not impact each class. This has allowed me to teach what my students are interested in, for example music, basketball, and clothes to name several popular topics. Books are provided but there is no syllabus for me to follow. 

Great Holiday Entitlement at Chinese Universities
Another great thing about teaching for a university is the long holidays. For example, July and August are off for summer holiday, half of January and February are winter holiday, alongside various other holidays dotted throughout both semesters. Working for a private training school, I would get one day off for May Day, here I get ten days off!
This extra time off is great as it allows you to do more with your time in China, be it playing sports, travelling or learning Chinese. For me, more time to do my own thing in China is always a bonus.

Good housing
Housing is also provided by my school, it’s bigger than my previous apartment, of good quality, and if there is a problem help is always available for example my washing machine broke and the school bought a new one.
Disadvantages of Teaching English in a Chinese University
The biggest disadvantage I have encountered is that there is very little formal training given, nearly everything I have learned working here I have either learned through trial and error or by asking my colleagues over lunch (outside of my department I know virtually nobody as the school is so big and there are so many teachers).

Poor Teaching Materials

The teaching materials provided are of pretty poor quality and not much use to me when in the classroom, I will make the effort to use the books as the students have bought them but I could happily do without them full stop.

Very Large Class sizes in a Chinese University
Class sizes should also be mentioned previously my biggest class was 14 students and the average was around 8 students which is very easy to manage. At university in China each class has 25 students, which is very small by Chinese public school standards. Whilst Chinese students are generally not disruptive, students will often try to do as little as possible and with so many students some will inevitably succeed. One thing I recommend is to put everybody’s phones including your own on your desk at the start of every class, I didn’t do this last semester to my peril.

Living on campus
My school requires that I live on campus which is by no means a bad place, but is definitely less interesting than living on a campus in the UK or USA. The activities on campus are sports such as badminton or basketball and going to the library. Occasionally there will be a show such as singing, but this is rare.

Activities such as military training and sports day also happen on campus and it gets LOUD.

Your Salary Will be Lower at a Chinese University

Finally you can expect your salary to be lower at a China university than at a private training school withh much less room for negotiation if you do decide to renew your contract. However the excellent free time available can be used to make up for this shortfall in pay.
In conclusion I would recommend working at a college on the condition that you have taught before. Teaching English in a China university as a new teacher is much more difficult. Teaching is daunting for anybody starting out so the additional support and assistance you are likely to receive at a private training school are invaluable. For me right now I prefer working at a university. The challenge and the opportunity to teach older students (17-21 years old) is proving to be very enjoyable.

by James Clifford Brown

James Clifford Brown

James Clifford Brown was born in 1990 and is from Manchester, UK. He has been teaching English in China since 2012, first for EF Education First Ningbo and is now teaching College English at a university in Ningbo, China. He loves sports, particularly boxing, basketball, rugby, and cycling. He also enjoys learning Chinese and travelling.
As an English as a second language instructor I have run across some, of what I like to call, questionable material. Some of the material I’ve seen in books makes me cringe and shake my head in wonder at who developed the content. This is not just in China, but in every country where I’ve had the pleasure to teach. Often times teachers are not allowed to change the material, which in some cases means the teacher needs to know how to break down the content and bridge it so that when taught the material makes sense to the students. Such a task is easier said than done. 

Not having to stick rigidly to curriculum: A big difference
Currently I teach oral English at a small college in Henan Provence. The material provided is more of a guideline than a necessity, which is a first for me. All of my prior jobs required me to use the material already use for the curriculum; but at my current post that is not necessary. Thus, bridging the material is so much easier because I can cherry pick important information and use it instead of use every little bit of information in the books’ chapters. 

Learning about your students
One of my favorite parts of bridging is learning about the students. When I take the time to learn about the students in my classrooms, then not only can I take the information in the books and bridge it to real life, I can also incorporate the student’s personalities into the lesson. We had a chapter called Escape in my sophomore oral English class. The word is rather ambiguous, but the chapter discussed traveling; or a way of escaping reality. 

Sparking quality spontaneous and unplanned debates
Now, as an English teacher, traveling is a good topic, but it is so overdone, in my opinion, I decided to change it up a little. In an earlier class I had mentioned that I wanted to travel to the rings of Saturn, which had sparked a debate on where people could go if we did not have human limitations. That was a fun lesson! The students enjoyed it and parts of what we talked about were brought up again during the midterm when the students had to speak to me on any topic for five minutes. 
Escape is a huge idea, so I ran with the thought that the students could spend a few minutes thinking about where they would escape to, real or make believe, if there were no human limitations. I, of course, told them of where I would find my escape, just to show them that imagination was more than useful in storytelling. In the end, the students were able to take the lesson and run with it into all sorts of fun. One student said he would run away to his own private island, which prompted another student to ask the question about the island government; was it similar to China’s or did he choose a different form. Another student said she wanted to escape to a boat that could travel around the world. 

What is Bridging?
'Bridging' is a term in English language learning wherein the instructor attempts to take material and help the students see it for how it is beneficial in the real world. Or in the case of what I did, helped the students think outside the box and open up their imaginations, using real world applications. Each student used their prior knowledge to tell a story, in their own words. To speak English a student must have the ability to form ideas in their heads, especially if that individual wants to have a conversation with another English speaker. A good conversation is not going to revolve around the time or how to find something. A student needs to know how to tell fun, personal facts about themselves; storytelling. 

Capturing your audience
The more a student practices storytelling, the more the conversation will flow. I have seen it personally in my own second language ability, which sadly is pretty low, but nonetheless the ability to tell the story is still present. Even with limited vocabulary, a student can still tell a story that will capture the attention of the audience, which in the end will motivate the student to practice English all the more. 

by Melissa Smith


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