My teaching approach
the years of my degree in Translation and Interpreting, I had many different
teachers who would impart their knowledge of the language and translation
techniques, helping me to become a good translators/interpreters.
one would expect, many of them I considered average
teachers. These were the teachers I will simply remember by name, appearance
and subject. But I cannot remember any special classes or conversations in
particular. To be honest, after so long, I find it difficult to remember any specific
knowledge imparted by them.
there were a few teachers that I will always appreciate and with whom I
associate great memories. These were the ones who would tell us stories and
anecdotes related to the language and the cultural background, and those who made
us laugh to tears in class. These were the ones whose lessons I would never
miss no matter how high was a fever I might have had. These were the teachers who made
the classes so personal and enjoyable that the lessons became simply unforgettable.
And that feeling is exactly what I want my students to feel towards me as a
teacher. Those teachers are nowadays my example to follow.
students contented themselves with having a
grade certifying their knowledge, mistakenly believing that they knew
“everything” about the language then. However, once the
course had finished my conclusion was that the teacher was great, not only for making it easy for us to pass the exam, but rather for having
motivated me to continue learning. After all, languages are the expression of
our thoughts and feelings put into words following a structural system
implemented in our brains. As the world and humanity are in constant states of
change and evolution, languages change and evolve too. According to the
ever-changing events around us, our lives are transformed so we create customs,
habits and traditions that are reflected in new words, expressions, concepts, and
terms. So, to those who suggest they completely master a language, I
would suggest one never stops learning a language.
within the same country, words and expressions tend to vary from one region to
another, among cities, and even among neighbourhoods. Expressions and concepts will
still change with time. We never stop creating. Hence, we never stop learning. Things
change and that’s the beauty of it.
the case of the teachers that I always appreciate and remember, it shows how
important the affective factors are. Brain experiments carried out by
Neurologists investigating on the learning process of human beings have proved
that we learn in a more effective way with emotion. People don’t normally tend to memorize and retain exact long numbers, data or statistics and so on. In a conference or a speech
where information is presented only through figures and charts without any
personal touch, rarely will attendees retain all of the information provided. But
tell your attendees a story or anecdote to compare specific data, and nearly
100% of them will remember the story and retain this information. Why is this?
The reason behind lies in the fact that no matter how rational we think we are,
the truth is that a great part of our brains is emotional.
said all that, I hope I made it clear that my teaching method will be inspired
in those methodologies using emotional factors such as the communicative approach.
Given the case, just like Oxbridge does, I absolutely agree with the fact that old
methodologies based solely on grammar structures are not a good way to make
students learn to communicate, as it will only give them knowledge on how to
analyse structures, but won’t provide them with the skills necessary to fluently
form structures in their oral production. In fact, one does not learn to play a
sport by reading a book on how to play that sport. One learns how to play the
sport by playing it, and so must be the case when it comes to learning a
is one of the terms I would like to mention in this essay, as it is one of the
main variables that my method will focus on. Acquiring the language in a
subconscious and natural way, as babies do when learning to speak, would be the
main aim. Acquiring a language must be a natural process. It should not
represent a chore for the student. If we think about it in a deeper way, why
can children get to learn even several languages so easily? Do they attend
grammar lessons? No. They just go with the flow. They repeat what they hear.
They enjoy and speak without any fear and without even wondering if it’s right
or wrong. Their parental figure will correct as necessary, and the child will
repeat, internally correcting that mistake for the next time. This comparison
with the way a baby learns a language will be the focus of my approach. The
role of the teacher could be as that parental figure caringly correcting his child.
Beginner students could adopt a role analogous to a child learning how to speak
for the first time.
those starting to learn a new language, the teacher’s primary role would be to
create a friendly and nice atmosphere. The teacher should keep a professional
appearance to inspire respect from the students, but he/she can also adopt the
role of a friend in some cases, showing interest in his/her students, providing
motivation and encouragement to search for materials to prepare for lessons
based on things they enjoy.
teacher should also focus on offering guidance and resources to contribute to the
students’ oral production, so use of their mother tongue would be avoided in
the class. Otherwise, students might get used to asking in their first
language, and they would always try to follow their underlying grammatical
structure, thus leading to errors and mistakes.
class would also start with a few Quick Questions as we have seen in the
Oxbridge method. I find it a great way to grab students’ attention and engage
them on the activity. But I also find it very important to introduce activities
in a smooth way with personal questions as if it were a natural conversation
between friends, so they would hardly notice it is actually a language class.
effective teacher would prepare lessons by selecting interesting activities
from different resources or textbooks. But the student does not have to have a
textbook. Just a programme or syllabus of what they are going to learn
throughout the course would be enough. The teacher would provide the students
with photocopies of the activities done in class and objectives to be learnt
and practiced in class. The main target here would be that the students have
fun and enjoy the lesson whilst learning and acquiring the language at the same
time, so I would definitely prepare activities combining usage of the language
and having fun. The more varied the activities, the more enjoyable the classes
would be for the students. Therefore, I would combine activities with dynamic
games, drawing or painting, roleplay games, telling stories to practice tenses,
vocabulary and grammar.
physical resources, I would make use of the whiteboard to write as necessary
and for myself or my students to draw pictures, explain concepts if need be(recalling
that I would not communicate in the students’ mother tongue); a projector to
project videos, short movies, images, presentations, maps; and a CD player or
computer to play a song and do a gap-fill activity at the end of the class.
Music has always been one of the most useful resources for me to learn languages,
so I want to transmit this to my students.
programme of each class must have the same structure and fulfil the objectives
set, but every class should be as different and as enjoyable as possible. This
ought to involve the teacher showing empathy and concern for his/her students in
terms of their progress, and even in personal problems if appropriate, thus creating
a healthy teacher/friend-student relationship. But the teacher must also show
his/her know-how when it comes to dealing with problematic learners who might
not show interest at all in the class or behave with bad manners.
most important thing would be that at the end of each class the students feel
like they have practiced and learnt the objectives, in a natural, enjoyable and
effortless way. This is after all what everybody wants when learning a new
language. And this is one of the things that I have learnt throughout the weeks
of the TEFL course with Oxbridge. It has been for me a big eye-opener in so
many ways, especially since I had only seen a traditional method based on
grammar, where I observed frustration of students who could not speak the
target language at all. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude and
acknowledge the Oxbridge TEFL preparation team.
you so much for everything you have taught me. It has inspired me in so many
ways for my career as a language teacher. Your team of experts and the teachers
I have had the pleasure to meet will be among those that I will always remember
with joy and gratefulness.