September 2009- November 2009 Holy Angel School
I spent three months teaching English, Maths and Science in a non government, non profit school based in a slum within Pokhara, Nepal. The school provided English based education to children within the slum who otherwise would not have been able to afford even a government education. My main role within this voluntary position was to demonstrate new teaching techniques to school staff.
April 2007- June 2007
Play Therapy Internship
I worked part time as a teaching assistant and play therapist intern while completing my undergraduate dissertation on play therapy and Occupational Therapy. I studied the theory behind Intensive Interaction Therapy while completing practical research in the overlap between two professional backgrounds. During this time I worked hands on within a special school 2-3 days per week.
September 2003 - March 2004 English Teacher
I spent seven months voluntarily teaching English as a foreign language in Nepal. During this time I lived in a small rural town with a traditional Nepalese family and learnt the basics of the Nepalese language. Prior to this I completed a TEFL course and applied varied and imaginative teaching methods to groups as large as 90. During this time I facilitated an after school arts and crafts group. I feel this experience improved my communication skills, creativity and initiative.
Kidlington and Gosford Sports Centre
2001-2007 Children's club coordinator
I worked for six years in the school holidays within a children club within a leisure centre. Facilitating leisure activities and meeting the needs of children throughout the day.
1998- 2007 Voluntary Teaching Assistant
While I was of a very young age (13) I began to volunteer weekly for a learning disability school, working for three different schools for ranging periods of time as a teaching assistant. For three months in 2007 I worked part time as an Occupational Therapy student within a special school.
June 2013- August 2013 International Development Internship
Child Workers In Nepal
During this two month internship I wrote my Masters dissertation focused on child rights in the global south and particularly Nepal. I trained the staff in various therapies and techniques while carrying out research directly with children in Nepal using focus groups and activities.
October 2010- August 2012
Senior Mental Health Practitioner
Outreach Service for Children and Adolescence
OBMH High Wycombe
The team has several functions including providing an outreach approach in engaging children who refuse traditional services. Another key function of the service is to run a crisis team which provides crisis assessments and interventions for young people with mental health problems who are at risk to themselves. My role is as an Occupational Therapist and a Senior Mental Health Practitioner within this busy team. I provided assessments and interventions while closely assisting other unqualified team members in their work. Individual and group psychosocial education was a predominant role of mine. During the summers I led children's activity clubs for children in need of extra support.
October 2009- August 2010 Hope for Himalayan Kids (HFHK)
HFHK is an NGO in Nepal who specialise in de-institutionalisation of orphanages. HFHK work towards re-uniting impoverished children with their families and providing support to prevent placement breakdown.
I was required to perform a number of different roles within the organisation. At first my focus was to train HFHK staff in how to assess need and provide specific child centred support for abandoned children with either learning disabilities or mental illness. This included working within a home schooling program and assessing needs of children.
I later provided additional support in helping the NGO develop their clinical processes and paperwork structures. Whilst in Nepal I learnt the Nepali language to a basic level. I organised and implemented training sessions to focus on assessment skills and basic mental health awareness. Together with HFHK management we developed child centred care plans to be implemented by Nepalese care managers with my supervision for specialist cases.
October 2007- March 2009 Community Mental Health Team
High Wycombe, UK
During the18 months working within the CW CMHT in High Wycombe I have worked individually with clients along with running a mixture of Occupational Therapy groups. I have used a collaborative approach with clients when carrying out many different aspects of therapy such as; anxiety management, anger management, voice hearing management and cognitive behavioural therapy. psychosocial education was taught individually and in group sessions.
September 2013: Oxbridge Language School, 1 month TEFL course full time, Barcelona.
2012- 2013: Sheffield University Masters in International Development (MSc) (Child Human Rights Specialist).
2004 - 2007: Sheffield Hallam University, BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy.
2003: Two week TEFL Course full time, London.
2001 - 2003: Gosford Hill School Sixth Form
3 A- Levels: English Language and Literature (B), Sociology (B), Art and Design (C)
My teaching approach
In traditional teaching the grammar translation method (GTM)
is a limited approach with involves translating between students first language
and the target language. The GTM method may have its place, in school systems,
where the emphasis is on the ability to pass tests, however this may not be
transferable to a functional use of the English language. I would not take a
great deal from this approach in my future use of teaching methods.
The direct method holds some useful characteristics, such as
grammar being learnt inductively, and topics being used to include the grammar
more naturally in the classroom. This is a technique that I have observed in
classes to benefit students and create a more fluent and natural learning
process. However again it appears attention is placed on written rather than
oral communication. This approach may be more suited within a school
environment with large numbers, however if there is the scope to practice
verbal communication I would utilise this above the written format.
The audio lingual method appears to have some benefits to
the speed of learning, however again it does not provide a natural context to
learn. I would take from the method a strategy to repeat the target language
and allow students to learn through corrections. However "to drill"
students in this manner removes the potential enjoyment they could gain. This
method maybe practical when learners are children and the education is
mandatory however as a within my
teaching style I would prefer to incorporate a breadth of methods, that allows
structure to be practiced along with speaking and having conversations as
naturally as possible.
The silent method is another extremist approach, which again
may have its place within a classroom however should not dominate as a method.
The aspect of letting learning find the answers to the learning problems is
clearly a positive technique, and one that can be included within activities as
much as possible. However as an approach in its pure form it is not one that I
would adopt very often, I would include it as a game when appropriate which
could create an interesting and different learning environment.
Suggestopedia is a method which incorporates activity along
with language learning which is something I feel would benefit students, by
taking the emphasis and pressure away from the language itself. I feel this is
a step towards creating a natural environment, one with stimuli other than what
is presented by the teacher. I can see that this method could be more student
led rather than shaped by the teacher, and thus form a more collaborative and
enjoyable feeling in the classroom. The
downside of this method is that it has the potential to become very unfocussed.
The teacher would need to take great care to create a momentum within the
classroom, and allow the other stimuli such as painting, drawing and listening
to music to be helpful rather than distracting. Training on how to use this
approach fully may enable a more successful use of this method.
The total physical response is a
mainstream technique which i believe can help learners. This well rounded and
simple method is one that can be incorporated within any learning model.
Incorporating the content based
approach is also something that should be considered for any lesson. The
content and subject of the conversations should stimulate the learner, and be
adapted to their interests. Throughout the Oxbridge course we have seen the
reaction of students when the material is not specific to their needs. During
these times, without quick and careful adaption of the resources available the
lesson can become unsuccessful. For this reason it is crucial to not only
consider the structures that are targeted but also the context of the material
The communicative approach again
is another mainstream technique, one which allows the classroom to be balanced
allowing language inputs and outputs to be managed to produce a balanced, fun
and successful outcome. This approach which includes the simple structure of a
goal, input and an activity (output), creates a goal orientated learning
environment, and provides the backbone or structure of almost any classroom.
The Oxbridge approach, combines
aspects of some of the above approaches, predominantly utilising the
communicative approach, the total physical response. From the Oxbridge methods I
agree that spoken language is the goal, and that language learning should be
fun. I do not however agree with the structural approach used for resource dissemination,
and I feel it takes the responsibility away from the teacher, and creates a
lack of preparation rather than a facilitated preparation. Resources that are
shared and a set syllabus are a great idea, however only when the resources are
of good quality and matched to the learner appropriately. Giving teachers more
freedom to plan their syllabus, while sharing teaching tools appears to me to
be a more affective way of ensuring happier teachers, while providing them with
the means to gather resources and prepare their classes.
My teaching approach would contain a large amount of
adaptation of resources and style in order to adapt to the needs and
motivations of students. I would ideally work with people for long periods of
time, and throughout this adapt my style and techniques to meet their personal
needs. One way of adapting the approach would be to focus on students
difficulties. To do so I believe understanding the students first language is a
useful tool especially when working with children, who may not always point out
their language learning barriers. I would also take an emotional and a
behaviour stance regarding a students difficulties, and through developing a
professional and warm relationship with the student I would be able to
interpret and understand the emotional as well as practical barriers to their
learning. Through a collaborative stance, these barriers can be managed on a
repetitive and consistent basis.
Being an Occupational Therapist the suggestopedia approach
appeals to my nature. Occupational therapy uses occupation as a therapy goal as
well as a therapy tool, thus combining activity with learning is a natural
approach for me and one that I would be skilled to implement. I have seen
activity used to break down barriers and help people progress in therapy and in
life, and thus I am inclined to imagine this technique when applied correctly
could help people learn. My teaching style would also take into account the
need to balance receptive and productive skills and for that reason it would
include the communicative approach and utilise the structure of goal, input and
process/ my syllabus
My syllabus would be function based as well as grammar
based. I would alternate the used of a more communicative method, with the use
of the suggestopedia approach. During the initial 45 minutes grammar structures
can be learnt through speaking structures. The topics can also be covered in more
breadth and in a logical way during this time. Following this a 30-45 minute
session using the suggestopedia approach would allow the student to learn
through induction and create a more natural and free form of learning. This
creative part of the session would encourage students to enjoy the language
learning and allow them to be the drivers of their own experience and goals.
The type of learning material needed depends on the learning
style of the individual. Some learners may rely on visual learning.
Traditionally this may be related to written text, however symbols and visual
prompts also contribute to the learning experience. I do agree with the
Oxbridge method of decreasing the amount of written text used in the classroom
however for some learners this may need to be a transition, away from more
traditional techniques, to a more verbal method. I would however utilise
symbolism, with pictures and demonstrative displays in order to explain words
and concepts quickly and effectively. As discussed above utilising stimulus
such as music or painting is another way that learning materials can be used.
Attitude of the
Finally the attitude of the teacher is key as projecting
enough energy and motivation into the classroom is paramount in order to create
an environment where students are keen to learn and engage. While using only
speaking throughout the lesson, this is particularly important as the teaching
"tool" is your own voice, and ideas. The teacher is responsible for
creating the learning environment as well as the structural outline and the
content of the class material. Therefore the attitude of the teacher has a
direct impact on the learning environment and thus the students ability to
learn. By behaving in a friendly and engaging way the teacher is able to make
the students feel at ease and create a relaxed and focused environment which is
conducive to learning while having fun.. I would incorporate the use of
authentic materials, such a up to date and relevant topics. A wide range of
media would be used in order to stimulate the learner, and make the classroom
more interesting. Corrections and praise would also be a significant part of
the teaching facilitation. I would pay attention to the appropriateness of the
corrections, and the need to balance this with a students emotional state. I
would use praise as a tool for motivation throughout the session, and for
groups incorporate a non competitive and supportive environment.