GES is a large "buxiban" or "cram school". The students come to GES to further improve their English after they've completed their school day at their regular kindergarten, elementary school, middle school or high school. Students range in age from as young as 5 or 6 years old, all the way through university. The majority of students are in elementary school, middle school and high school. Classes vary in size, but average about 14 students. Each class is an hour and a half or two hours long, with a ten minute break in the middle. Students come for class twice a week (for example, on Monday from 5:00-7:00pm and on Thursday from 5:00-7:00pm.) On the first day, you teach the class with a Taiwanese co-teacher. On the second day, the Taiwanese teacher teaches the class alone. You don't need to understand any Mandarin Chinese because the Taiwanese teacher is always available in the classroom to help translate anything that needs to be translated. But in general, foreign teachers are able to do just fine conveying the material to the students on their own using simple English, gestures, pictures on the whiteboard and role-plays with the Taiwanese co-teacher.
The main focus of GES is that the kids HAVE FUN learning English. The classroom atmosphere is generally enthusiastic, laid-back, and cheerful. Taiwanese students are in general hard-working, attentive, polite, inquisitive and eager to please. Most foreigners find them to be shy at first, but after a few classes they lose their inhibitions and become very active and animated.
Since the expat population in Taiwan is still relatively small, students are excited and curious to meet a "real, live foreigner". They are particularly bemused by blond hair and beards and they delight in discovering the idiosyncrasies of Western customs and habits. Many of them already have some experience with English from regular schools and most have been exposed to some Western movies, television, music or other pop culture.
The students at Gloria have gone on to lead successful careers in all walks of life. Several of them are now teachers or administrators at Gloria. Many develop life-long friendships with their classmates and teachers at Gloria. Almost all of the students at Gloria have found their experience here to be a fun, memorable and entertaining gateway to the English language.
In order to cultivate a long-term interest in the English language for Taiwanese kids, we are constantly in the process of developing innovative, creative and fun teaching methods to further inspire our students and increase their competence, confidence and fluency. Gloria students are generally far more proficient in English than their classmates when they enter Junior High, and this superiority is even more pronounced when they enter high school.