Keith Groves





My teaching approach

Keith Groves

4/12/12

The Devised Method of Teaching English

I believe that successfulness is the most successful way to succeed. Despite what many believe, learning a language should not be hard work. Any angst in learning a language is uncalled for and ultimately harms the process. Many methods of teaching English have been created and the few that try to address this have limited success for a number of reasons. I have created The Devised Method of Teaching English (DMT) to overcome the idea that learning must be difficult for students. With my new method, not only will one not have to try to learn English, they will also enjoy the process. With the teacher as the guide in this process in a very controlled environment, the aim of DMT is to seamlessly teach the English language in an enjoyable, effective way.

Method

DMT is a method of teaching English that focuses on the elimination of effort on the part of the students. This is achieved by giving the student the ultimate driving force to learn a language: motivation. Teachers can do this by making the English speaking culture, the English language, and the possibility of understanding and speaking it as intriguing as possible. The students need not try to pay attention, try to remember, try to understand, etc…; all of this is left up to the teacher. If the student makes an error they will be corrected only through examples that illicit understanding and very simple explanations that don’t only give the student the right answer but understanding as well. If a student doesn’t understand something, it is up to the teacher to find out why rather than the student. From the most basic level to the most advanced, the classroom will be in a relaxed environment. The students will have the feeling that they are being taken on a ride or given a show, much the way you would feel awaiting an intriguing film. The environment will be controlled and carefully arranged, taking into account all the senses. A large monitor will be there to illustrate the teachers points; for example, video close ups on the mouths of English speakers will be shown to help students with pronunciation. At the very start of the most basic level the teacher will begin to introduce fundamental aspects of English. The teacher’s job is to the coax the student into learning English. Because the teacher is solely responsible for all the students’ learning they must be like a good poker player in that they can read and understand what a student may be thinking in order to anticipate what they may need to progress.

Every language of the world shares some relationship, whether is be large or small, with English and that should be made clear to the student. The teacher must earn the students’ trust from the very start by relating to them and drawing them in. Using the students’ mother tongue the teacher will introduce very basic verbs and cognates until they can exercise the use of them with confidence. This will be beneficial to the students because they tend to get in the way of their own learning with negative assumptions and discouraged thoughts. These thought patterns must be unlearned. The structures and vocabulary are built upon step by step all the while keeping the students’ confidence very high.  The students’ productivity in the class will increase exponentially throughout the course as the teacher guides them along introducing new structure and vocabulary along with context and exceptions keeping it stimulating and engaging. The transition from the mother tongue is done extremely smoothly replacing words and phases systematically. Students, through their own curiosity, will unlock the language for themselves. Eventually, all inquiries will be replaced with inquiries in English. Children operate in this way and investigate the world around them using the simple questions. The ultimate goal is for the student to have full command of the language and be able to use it in a wide range of context.

The syllabus of the course will be carefully constructed taking into account the fact that all students are different. After a thorough interview, students will be placed in course levels based on a scale from 1 to 20. The 1 to 20 scale will cut courses into short manageable parts and makes it easy for the teachers to specialize in specific levels of teaching English. This is also good for students because they aren’t crammed in with other students that may dominate the class. There will be no text book to keep teachers on track; instead, the syllabus will be followed carefully to ensure that everything is covered. At no time will a student be left in the dust, for the students who have the most difficulty learning have the most to teach the teacher and they should be understood more closely. Reading is a very important skill improving vocabulary and students are encouraged to read at higher levels. As the student progresses and the overgeneralization of language would be corrected as the exceptions came up so the student could fine tune their language then and there. DMT will be structured in a way to offer the path of least resistance for the learner avoiding possible pitfalls of interlanguage. The goal is to give the students the ability to express basic wants and needs as well as ask questions about the world around them. Materials will be provided for the teacher but also encouraged to be brought in by the students if they have anything in particular they would like to understand. The details of the individual classes will be up to date with materials that are relevant, stimulating, and absolutely engaging. To achieve this, the teachers themselves will record data about teaching lessons and results during each of the courses. These techniques are carefully devised based on sound research and chosen on the grounds that they do now require effort from the student.  If a certain technique is shown to be successful, the teacher’s methods are taken into consideration. This will be most beneficial for the students because the techniques offered to them only improve. The language that the students acquire each lesson will be recorded for the students on an online podcast for review. All recordings of the vocabulary will be done by David Attenborough with examples in context but without definitions as this may lead the student to generalize. David Attenborough voice is used do to his ability to make ordinary things sound interesting and students can feel that they are learning something very important.

DMT differs from all other teaching methodologies in many ways; for example, The Direct Method concerns itself foremost with communication, yet students are rushed though different words and pictures. I believe this will cause them unnecessary stress and inhibit their progress. With DMT, the students are given time to process and contemplate what they are learning and the teacher is encouraged not to rush students. The Vaughn Method provides adequate input for the student, but it is flawed deeply in that it has no output; the student is simply told what to say but never puts it into practice. In order for something to be retained there needs to be output as well as input. DMT focuses on this factor of learning and keeps the TTT at a minimum depending on the level of the student. The Callan Method is communicative but like the Direct Method it is too fast paced and students are not given time to think things out. I understand the idea that fast drilling aims at getting the students to think in the new language but I believe this high speed method is too forceful. In the Devised Method this happens at a more natural pace when the student is ready. DMT is similar to Suggestopedia in that the vibe is positive and relaxed but the emphasis is on being genuine and down to earth, without having a regressive condescending tone that seems unlike anything in normal spoken English. Like TPR, DMT uses physical gestures especially at early levels. At more advanced levels, exaggerated body language should be avoided as the students may become dependent on it.

Conclusion:

With the Devised Method, learning English will happen naturally by motivating the learner. The golden rule of The Devised Method is that there should be no difficulty or work for the student and everything is on the teacher to create success for the student. Unlike other methods the Devised Method has a sound theory and in practice it is very adaptable. No method is perfect and there is always room for improvement. We should not forget that it is not about creating a new method that is triumphant over all the rest, but simply making the world a better place. Better communication can break down barriers and give people from different walks of life a better understanding of each other.



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