Bernadette Szegedi





My teaching approach

Teaching sklills assignment

When it comes to teaching a second language such as English there are many various strategies and techniques which can be applied depending on variable factors of the students which must be considered. Some of these techniques focus on grammar during teaching, like the Grammar Translation Method, where emphasized skills are reading and writing. The ability to communicate is not the main target. Students, who learn this way, normally have difficulty speaking fluently and they struggle using the language in daily life. So for this reason I do not think it is a good way to proceed when you want you students to learn communication. There are other methods where grammar patterns are more important than vocabulary. Others such as The Direct (Berlitz) Method which emphasizes vocabulary rather than grammar; there is no translation used and its purpose is to learn communication. The Direct Method also includes interesting activities which is directly related to specific goals and the student input.  Communication is the most emphasized in this method however grammar and vocabulary are also thoroughly taught with so when they have to express themselves they can use the right expressions with the appropriate word. Although it works on all four skills from the start, oral communication is seen basic.

 In my opinion the most important skill students should learn is how to communicate, how to use the language in different situations and therefore I would choose the communication approach as my key teaching method. This method consists of a goal where the teacher expects the students to be able to apply skills learnt during each task. It is essential that students apply themselves outside the classroom and contribute an input which could be reading a text form newspapers for instance, listening to a radio discussion.

The skills students should develop actively when using communicative approach are receptive (listening, reading) and productive (writing, speaking). Developing listening skills is the first step to learn a language. First a student must listen and then they are able to copy. Within my classes I would include speaking practices in each activity and when students are able to express themselves orally I would start introducing some writing practice. Preferably writing tasks will be explained in class and be completed as homework rather than in class, such as, writing a formal letter or writing about their last vacation and then checked the following lesson altogether in class. Students would read their homework aloud practicing reading skills as reading skills and also pronunciation. Grammar skills would be gained through activities. Grammar can be dry and tedious thus I would use proactive activities such as class discussions, role plays and other situations.

Commencing this course I was convinced that students must learn grammar at all times although I learned my second and third language by acquisition, which is an entirely different way.  Acquiring a language has to do with the natural ability to learn languages. Anyone who lives in a foreign country acquires the language being spoken there. It is an effortless way to learn, therefore those who want to learn a second language should be exposed to the language outside the classroom. By encouraging students to make friends with native speakers, watch original movies with subtitle or listen to the radio, their senses will be engaged. This proactive learning is a perfect way to improve listening, pronunciation and speaking only by absorbing during leisure.

 Inter-language is being used by beginners who have no such knowledge to express themselves and often translate from their native language. Making errors such as overgeneralizing roles for example : they use womans instead of women. This erros will gradually disapear when students have more knowledge for this reason teacher should only use the language being taught and quick repeated questions can reduce students thinking time so students reaction in English gradually become spontaneous.

 Other important aspects of teaching are teacher´s and student´s goals.

My goals as a teacher are to help students achieve their goals, to boost their confidence and knowledge during classes, to make sure that they can use the language as their own native language in any situation outside classroom without any fear.  Before starting teaching someone it is very important to find out the students goals because their success to learn also depends on how motivated they are. With simple questions we can discover whether the student wants to learn to get a new job or perhaps they are being obliged or forced to learn similar to that of a child in a classroom in some cases.  Another important thing to consider when planning classes is the type of student you are going to teach as each one has a different learning style. Teachers can ask students directly as most of them know what the best and easiest way for them to learn is. Some have preference for hearing the language, they are called auditory learners, some remember more if they see or write things down, they are visual learners, or others prefer to do something physical during classes like kinesthetic learners. Information like this helps teachers to prepare and to have a successful class.  Relationship between student and teacher should be professional but relaxed in order to create a good teaching environment. In addition a good teacher should present themselves as good role model for their students, by being punctual, prepared as well as handling unexpected situation in an orderly manner. A good teacher should control dynamics of the class, provide advice as well as explanations of the usage of English language. Difficulties that a student might face should be recognized and addressed in class. By monitoring the students, you are able to gain a better understanding of the students’ capabilities, their difficulties and how they are progressing within your class. Even facial expressions can tell you a lot about your students. If they are bored you can change activities, if they are frustrated you can relieve their frustration with some jokes, if they look confused you can ask if they understand what you are talking about. Repeated and major mistakes must be corrected at all times but being conscious not to interrupt students’ fluency as it can be very disturbing and discouraging. It is also good to write mistakes down while students are speaking and correct them once they have finished. This technique will assist in avoiding the formation of any grammatically incorrect habits.

 Every student should participate in class, whether it is answering questions or dialogues between students. Questions like 'Do you understand?' must be asked following a concept and checking to make sure that students are not just saying that they understand. They should demonstrate it after each activity.  Teachers should do a wrap up to see if students have mastered the use of the target language (new words to be learned during class). Teachers also have to praise their students so they know that they have done a good job. Praise can boost confidence and be very motivating.

 Teaching beginners is considerably more difficult than teaching higher levels. Beginners try to translate everything into their native language and use their native language to express themselves as they haven´t acquired the skills or vocabulary to express themselves in their learning language. Teachers must be patient constantly repeat questions and words followed by asking the students to repeat them (drilling technique) until they can pronounce them correctly. They must give short, clear and simple explanations using synonyms, antonyms, pictures and gestures.  Higher level students can understand complex explanations and you can use authentic material like articles from newspapers to discuss recent news which they can relate to.

Although I would modify my materials used in class in relation to the level of the students. However I would not change my teaching approach between varying age differences. For example, for beginners and lower levels I would use more pictures and songs to make class more enjoyable. After all, age does not matter.  By using the appropriate materials accordingly to the students’ level of language, they are motivated and thus are more capable of learning a new language. All students are capable of gaining the skills and knowledge to confidently speak in another language given the motivation and support.

 

According to Jeremy Harmer, a lesson plan should have three stages: engagement, study and activation.

Engagement: to get students’ attention by choosing an interesting subject.

Study: where you explain the target language and tell them when and how to use it.

Activation: when you create an activity where students can freely use the newly learned target language.

I think this is an excellent way to plan a lesson.

 

Choosing a syllabus depends on the type of course you are preparing for. For example:

-General English- a situation or dialogue-based syllabus, could be appropriate.

-English for a specific purpose (medical, legal, business)-a technical-based syllabus.

-Specific categories only (grammar, vocabulary etc.)-Structure-based.

 

A Grammar-based syllabus for a Specific English course would look like the following:

 

Course overview

The aim of the course

 

  •         Develop knowledge of the English grammar
  • ·         Provide necessary skills for using tenses     

·             Content of the course

  •   Simple Present Tense
  •   Present Continuous Tense
  •   Simple Past Tense (Regular and Irregular verbs)
  •   Past Continuous Tense
  •   Future: Going To
  •   Future: Will
  •   Future Continuous Tense
  •   Present Perfect Tense
  •   PresentTense vs. Present Tense
  • Present Perfect Tense vs. Past Tense

      Recommended book: Grammar in use from Raymond Murphy      

 

A Lesson Plan for an intermediate class:

-Aim of the class: to learn to use future continuous tense

-Title: Next week on vacation

- Quick questions as warm up exercise (5 minutes)

- Structure activity: Introducing the future continuous tense with an example, explain its function and practice through an activity. Target language used freely by students.   (15 minutes)

-Vocabulary activity. Introducing new words, explaining their meaning and also to practice using target language throughout the activity. (15 minutes)

- Topic activity: Read an article and discussing it with students. Activate target language. (20 minutes)

-Conlcluding lesson:  Checking student´s knowledge.

 


The learning outcome of the students would be followed by me continuously by asking questions during and after class. I would clarify any confusion, making sure that everything has been understood by them.

With more experience, teaching methods and techniques may change and develop. By experimenting with different methods of teaching I look forward to gaining the ability to modify each lesson plan in order to complement the class or individual students.



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