My teaching approach
METHOD TO TEACH ENGLISH
First of all, I will explain in brief the main methodologies to teach English. Afterwards, I will express my opinion about how I would approach the teaching process and I will propose my own way to teach English.
The grammar translation method is a traditional technique. It is focus on translation of text, grammar and learning vocabulary by memory. There is no emphasis on speaking and listening comprehension because it is taught more as academic subjects rather than oral communication. This teaching method is still common in many countries around the world. , and still appeals to those interested in languages from an intellectual or linguisticperspective. However, it does little to improve the ability to use the language for oral communication.
Direct Method is an alternative to the traditional grammatical translation method. It is based on the direct involvement of the student when they speak and listen to a foreign language in everyday situations. Therefore, there are lots of oral interactions and spontaneous use of the language. It is also focused on good pronunciation. It is not an easy methodology. It requires small classes and high student motivation. Moreover, in the artificial environment of a classroom it is difficult to generate natural situations of understanding as well as guarantee enough practice for each person.
Explanation is a technique where a student is trained using a system of reinforcement. When the teacher corrects student´s behaviour, they receive positive feedback. However, when the teacher corrects errors, students receive negative feedback.
This approach to learning takes place entirely in the target language. What is more, emphasis is on the acquisition of structures and patterns in common everyday dialogue. These patterns are elicited, repeated and tested until the responses given by the student in the foreign language are automatic.
The main characteristics of this method are:
It is common to use military exercises to teach structural patterns.
They set phrases and memorize them with a focus on intonation.
The explanation of grammar is kept back to a minimum.
They always teach vocabulary in a proper context.
Pronunciation is very important so they make sure to focus on it.
The correction of responses is positively and immediately reinforced.
Modern usage is the audio lingual method that is still in use today. It is part of individual lessons more than the base of the course. These types of lessons can be popular as they are relatively simple, from the teacher's point of view, and the learner always knows what to expect.
Developments and problems is a method that insists on repetition and memorization of standard phrases. It does not pay attention to the role of context. The language is not obtained through a process of habit formation and errors are not necessarily bad. Students could often see immediate results but in a weak way. The methodology does not come across with an improvement in communicative ability which in our time is absolutely obsolete.
Suggestopedia. This method is based on the idea that the mind has great potential and can retain information by the power of suggestion. This teaching method uses relaxation as a way of retaining new knowledge. In the first lessons students receive large amount of information in the new language. The information is translated, after that it is read aloud with classical music in the background. The purpose is to supply an atmosphere of total relaxation where learn, understand and gain knowledge is easy and natural.
Total Physical Response is a method based on how children learn their earliest language. It involves a wide range of physical activities as well as a lot of listening and comprehension. The way of learning is with great fun that stimulates overall young learners. It is widely considered to be effective for beginners. On the other hand, this method has limitations, especially when teaching abstract language and tasks.
The silent way is a technique where the teacher is supposed to be practically silent for this reason the name of the method. It avoids explaining everything to the students so they are thought to become autonomous and co-operative. The aim is to help students select the appropriate sentences and know how to control them, with good intonation and rhythm. The teacher does not repeat phrases that students have to imitate. The teacher uses patterns with vocabulary and coloured guides for pronunciation to help learners understand. Obviously, the teacher tries to say the least amount possible of words.
Community Language Learning. The method involves students to sit in a circle. They are encouraged to use their feelings, intellect, relationships and reactions. It is a communicative method where it covers a broad number of functions rather than a specific teaching methodology.
Explanation is a communicative method. It emphasizes the ability to communicate the message in terms of meaning, instead of concentrating exclusively on grammatical perfection. Therefore, the understanding of the second language is evaluated in terms of how much the learners have developed their communicative abilities. It actives student interaction in the foreign language. It uses authentic English texts. Students also learn strategies for understanding. The learners´ personal experiences are considered as an invaluable contribution to the content of the lessons. Using the new language in unplanned contexts creates learning opportunities outside the classroom.
To my way of thinking, there is not one single best method in all contexts as well as there is no method intrinsically superior to others. Moreover, it is not always possible or appropriate to apply the same methodology to all learners, who have different objectives and learning requirements. An experienced professional language teacher always adopts the most suitable techniques and applies the most appropriate methodology for students’, specific objectives, learning style and context. Currently, tools which can be very useful are computers. There are plenty of different games that can support lessons properly.
We all know that methods of teaching English have developed rapidly. Consequently, it is important that language learners and teachers, understand the various methods and techniques. As a result, we are able to navigate the market and boost our enjoyment of learning and teaching a foreign language. As a modern teacher, I will in fact use a variety of methodologies and approaches. I will choose techniques from each method that I consider effective and apply them according to the learning context as well as to the objectives. I will prepare the lessons to facilitate the understanding of the new language when it is taught. I would not rely on one specific best method.
I would have in mind a helpful selection of exercises. They would be to improve the student’s precision, fluency and communicative ability. These exercises could be written as well as oral. If the aim of the classroom activity is accuracy, I would correct errors and mistakes immediately. On the other hand, if students are speaking fluently, I would correct errors and mistakes later on. To improve pronunciation I would speak very slowly and vocalize so that students could repeat automatically the phrase or word until it is said correctly. I also think that I would include along the course all the different skills that a language has; read, write, listen and speak. Obviously, I would commit myself to develop a wide variety of resources in order to give importance, stimulate, motivate and give prolific lessons. I would also encourage students to be autonomous in their learning. In addition, I would not deliver everything to the students neatly packaged because the more they do by their own, the better they assimilate the language.
Clearly, I would encourage them to take risk and build self-confidence to improve the learning. It is also very important to promote tolerance. I would practice my intuition and overall be extremely patient. Therefore, I would promote learner autonomy and stress the importance of self- motivation.
There are several difficulties that students might have when they learn English as a second language. In my opinion, it is quite easy to realize when Spanish students have problems learning English. Some are uncertain of what is expected from them. Some lack the confidence to speak. Some have difficulty in comprehending what others are saying as a result, they do not feel confident to participate. Some have specific problems with grammar. Most of Spanish students have difficulty with pronunciation and for sure with the ability to speak English fluently.
In our time, English is an international language. Even technology and working world use English. Students want to be winners in working word competition that is getting tight day by day. They are required to speak English fluently. It is a tremendous positive feature for a professional career. This is a main reason for them to study the foreign language.
All in all, teaching a language, especially English, is extraordinarily rewarding when I see students improve and they are so pleased to achieve something that is so hard for them.
Susana Ramirez del Rio