Numbers

5,10,20,40,60.

These are important numbers in my teaching life. They dictate what I do, how much of it I do and when. They are the contact hours, course hours or teaching hours I have with students and corporate students.

I have long contemplated about the ideal golden course length i.e. how many hours makes the perfect course? How many do I need to get students to where they need/pay to be? How many do I require to get them their grades?

I’m still not sure but I have reached some conclusions:

  1. 5 hours split into 30 minute phone lessons is great IF they call on time and the lessons are regular such as twice a week for 10 weeks.
  2. 10 hours is OK for an exam prep crash course with a student who already has the level but just need to learn and practise the test. An ideal course would be 5 sessions of 2 hours.
  3. 20 hours is fine for a language or uni course with weekly 2 hour slots but a break after the first hour is needed. 90 mins is better I feel.
  4. 40 is a good length for a regular corporate student who wants 90 mins or 2 hour sessions every week and is willing to put in self-study time. Twice a week is perfect as the course is then 10 weeks.
  5. 60 is a bit long, in my opinion for a 1-2-1. You can cover most needs/requests in less than that so you end up out of ideas and materials half way and motivation and “how many hours do we have left?” kicks in.

2 thoughts on “Numbers

  1. I love the contact hours and program length I currently teach. Sometimes it doesn’t seem enough either, but perhaps with whatever time we are given, we use it.

    3 hours of class with 15 min break. 2 classes per week. 26 weeks.

    • Sounds good but 3 hours? My god!!I used to have 2 hours twice a week for about 25. I think at uni we had 3 terms but in France its just 2 so in theory, students in the UK get more courses. I did/do feel like some courses get milked to death and I’m all in favour (from an education point of view) of having the British style of lecture/seminar/lots of self-study. When I mention it to French or Chinese students they go white. I heard that it’s actually illegal here for high school or uni teachers to tell students to buy books. Thus they get copies but it’s not the same as when I was at uni and we had 5 core texts then 10 extra units and journals to read every week for every course. I think some students get used to be being given/taught everything. this is definitely the feedback I’ve heard from internship bosses.

      Thanks again for the comments Tyson.

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