Courtny Valenzuela

My teaching approach

I think the best way to learn language is to acquire it, rather then “simply” learn it from books. Therefore I would use materials, such as pictures and physical objects to teach L2 language and have the learners use only the target language on the class. In my experience, learning the target language without immediate translation to the student’s mother thong on the beginner level could be harder, but it helps to understand the deeper meaning of it. Have the students spoken only in the target language between each other on the class; help them to start thinking in a different way.


I think, I would use a blackboard (or whiteboard), but not to write on it rather then placing the pictures or the target language on them for the better visual access. Placing them only on the table isn’t always offers the best visual access to the students, especially with larger groups. In this way the students could look at them for aids. Pictures and cut-outs our one of the best way to remember specific things, such as words, we trying to teach to the students, therefore I would use then throughout the whole course in every level, starting with more pictures at the beginning to help acquire the necessary vocabulary base. On higher levels I would use more cut-outs, to represent the structure of the target language, but I would never loose the pictures completely.


I think, acquiring the target language trough verbal communication helps students understanding it better. I would start the teaching of S1 learners by the simplest ways of communication, by using body-language as a visual aid, alongside with the target language, as most body-language gestures are universal, therefore understandable for almost everybody. This way, starting with simple sentences and questions, the teacher could conclude, by analysing the reactions and answers, how much the students understand the target language, and from there she/he can assign the students to different levels if necessary. In this point, using some visual aids, such as cards with target words on it, like “hello” or “my name is…”, could also help assessing if the students are more recipient for verbal or visual learning, and by this assessment they could also be divided to groups, and taught accordingly.


I think the syllabus should also be built, according to the learning capability of each group or person. This capability should be assessed on the first two-three lessons, by measuring the speed of the students are capable of acquiring the target language. But in any case the syllabus shouldn’t be too fast or too slow, it should give the students time to understand the target language and practice it.


The first step of teaching a language should be built in a strong base of vocabulary, rather then structure. A beginner would gain very little from learning grammar when it can’t be used with little or no vocabulary knowledge. By listening to the teachers speech students will learn the basic structure they need to know for communicating their thoughts on the class. As their vocabulary knowledge grows, I would teach them structure incrementally.


For visual and listening aid I would also introduce technology in the classroom. There isn’t always a way to rotate teachers between groups, therefore I would use a laptop or tablet PC to help students learning different accents, and for this purpose we can find many legal materials on the internet to listening to a speech or watching a conversation between two or more people. Watching a conversation, rather then only listening to it, could also help students to understand the meaning of it. A situation played out by two people or group could also communicate the meaning of the speech. I would keep these videos short and also have the verbal communication printed out for the students, to help them identify new words in the target language. First I would have them listening, then listening and fallowing the conversation with the print-out. Roll-playing is also a good way to help the students remember the content of the class, especially if the roll-play is funny and make them laugh, they will remember the context easier. These roll-plays should involve the entire class rather then just few person, but on a rotating period, where two or three people play the roll when the other students can observe them. A two or three minutes long play can be enough and will give more time to rotate the group and have more things learned in one class.


I think amongst many, the teacher one of the most important part of learning new language. No matter how much aids the teacher use in the class, if the students won’t accept the person “behind the table”, they won’t be as much interested learning the language. The teacher should be the roll model for the students, especially for the beginner levels. Students will always remember the first teacher taught them, and if those first classes where bad experiences, they would struggle at the later times as well. The teacher has to be friendly and should communicate a positive attitude in the class. If the students are happy, the learning experience will be more meaningful. The teacher should act as a coach, rather then just teach; guide the students on their way of learning. The materials, the teacher could use on the class, should not be limited. Anything could help the teacher communicate the target language to the students, except dictionary or any other ways to translate back to the student’s mother thong.

If the teacher feels confident, the students will feel confident too, as they can see, they are in the right hand to learn the language.

  • About:
  • Message:
  • From: