Laura Fernandez de la Torre

My teaching approach

My approach to teaching will be communicative and practical rather than theoretical and will be based in a fusion of different methodologies. The teaching style that I will use, will be a mixture of the next theories: Direct (Berlitz) Method, Audio-Lingual Method, Suggestopedia, Total physical response, Content-based, Task based and Participatory Approaches, Communicative Approach, Callan Method in a time limited way (just in necessary cases like correcting errors or introducing a new structure) and Oxbridge System. I will use real material and I will prepare every class with vocabulary activities, structure activities, topic activities, debates and games. I will take into consideration in every class the affective factor through a friendly approach to the learners, to be able to identify their learning barriers and to find like that the best techniques to overcome their learning obstacles. Through observation, I will try to identify their strengths and weaknesses and I will focus on them to make sure that we progress positively and that we achieve the possible missing goals. Another factor that I will always take care of is the participation of every learner, using the stronger ones as a guide and helping the others to participate and to show their own improvements.

My attitude will be non dominant because I want them to feel comfortable and fearless to communicate. I will make them feel that it´s normal to make mistakes and that everybody make mistakes. I will tell them that an expert is a person that already passed through all the possible mistakes and has learned to correct them and overcome them. During the activities I will monitor, observe, listen and moderate but I won´t stop their conversation to correct errors. For accuracy and pronunciation, we will use repetition and spelling during the vocabulary activities and we will gain accuracy through structure activities.

The rhythm of the class will be dynamic and never taking longer than 15 min in each activity, preferably between 5 to 10 min each one. I will try to create a friendly and fun atmosphere using subjects that I know they are keen on so that they will like to talk about, so for instance, if in the class we have two fashion retail assistants and one football fan, I will touch every day for a little while both subjects. Latest news and current general issues will be discussed as well in a friendly and polite manner. In this case I will just act as a moderator monitoring and observing their communication skills. From time to time, I will ask them to think about a song related to the daily lesson. For example if we are talking about the weather, they can say Umbrella or Singing in the rain and the next day I will come with the lyrics so we can listen the selected song once and I will share a copy with the lyrics to each person. They should take it home and as a homework they will try to understand the lyrics and we can briefly during 5 min discuss them identifying phrasal verbs, jargon and type of register.

My class will start every day with Quick Questions. Yes/ No answers, to awake the learners and change their mind to English. They come from home, from work or from school and they have been using their native language all they long, that's why the QQ´s are a good way to commence the class. The QQ´s will be related to the daily lesson, for example; today they will learn vocabulary related to the weather, days of the week and how to express future actions or plans.

Example of QQ: Is it very hot outside? Is it sunny? Do you like the summer? Do you like the rain?

Right after, we will recap the previous class to identify the information that they acquired and to search for any needs or doubts. I will do that through a wrap up of related questions.

After the recap, I will proceed to mention the part of the syllabus that we will cover today. My syllabus is based in functions and today we will practice how to talk about the weather and how to explain the different weather conditions. We will learn as well how to express future plans or actions and how to talk about them. The target of my class will be based on speaking and achieving fluency and at the same time it will have a balance between receptive and productive skills. To get this balance, I will share some activities to write sentences, we will read some paragraphs in a text and I will ask questions to check their understanding and through topic activities I will listen and observe their communication skills.

The activities will be correlative and linked with questions, to keep the good flow of the class. For example, I will start the activity related to the weather asking something like: What´s the weather like today Pablo? Pablo answer: it´s rainy
 Who can tell me another weather condition? Maria please, and like that other students until we get enough so then I will share cards with weather conditions and days of the week that we previously revised.

Working in groups, I will share cards with days of the week and weather conditions and each group will have to create and write two sentences with each pair in a paper. At the end one member of the group will read the sentence and show the paper with the written sentence to everybody. In that way maybe we could create a magic moment.

After that, I will ask If somebody knows a proverb related to the weather and if they don´t know, I will give them one. Ie: Sunny days take the problems away.

I will link the next activity with a question What will you do tomorrow Elena? She will say for example: Go to the gym. And now I will tell them what will I do tomorrow so they can listen and assimilate " will " with the expression of future events through few repetitions.

With the same cards that we used previously and with the same procedure than the previous activity, in groups we will write now sentences using the future simple and through the same procedure, they will show the paper and read the sentence.

For the next activity, I will use real material and in this occasion will be a newspaper weather forecast for the next week. We will read the article and try to describe the graphics. I will ask them some questions like Juan what´s the weather like for Friday? If he say sunny, I will say " It will be sunny " so the next person knows how to proceed, If they don´t get it, I will repeat it and make a funny emphasis while pronouncing " WILL". 

The next activity will be a Topic that I will introduce with a question like: what do you prefer cold weather or hot weather? why?
After few opinions, I will divide the class in two groups and in a poster they will have to represent through graphics, draws and words pros and cons of the weather. After 10 min each group will display the poster in the wall and every member will describe a pro and con.

As a last activity I will try to create a bit of magic moment and I will ask them to think about a song related to a weather condition and listen their suggestions. I will share with them a copy with the lyrics of one or two songs related to the practiced subject, ie: Umbrella (Rihanna) and Singing in the rain. As homework I will tell them to listen, read and try to understand the lyrics so the next day we can discuss the vocabulary if it´s formal, informal or neutral, if it uses jargon, the context, lyrics meaning, words meaning (pragmatics) etc..

I will end up the class with a wrap up asking questions to assess the results of the session. For example:

Jose: What will you do tomorrow?
Paula: Tell me two weather conditions related to cold weather
Maria: Tell me two weather conditions related to hot weather
Pedro: What will you do on Friday?

I will give them thanks for their attention and participation, I will cheer them up with a well done everybody, please do your homework for tomorrow and have a nice evening.

See you tomorrow!



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