My teaching approach
The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘language’ as “the method of human communication, either spoken or written,
consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way” (Oxford
University Press, 2013). Human communication underpins all human interaction,
and as such and individuals perspective of the world they live in. The
acquisition of new languages requires an alteration of this perspective, and
thus can be a daunting and challenging experience for learners. This experience
however, can be significantly eased through the use of appropriate and
effective teaching methods, a concept which will be explored in greater depth
through the course of this paper.
The concept of second language acquisition is a simple
one, learning a language alongside ones mother tongue, yet this process of
acquisition generates a multitude of challenges that can influence its outcome.
The age of a EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learner is one of the most
important defining factors when considering language learning. As a child,
individuals are not influenced by a grammatical perspective of their native
language, and so are unlikely to experience interlanguage
interference. In contrast, adults often experience this interference as their
preconceived idea of grammatical rules; taken from their native language, often
hinder the absorption of a new grammatical perspective.
are a number of other complications we must consider when approaching the
teaching of EFL. As well as interlanguage effects, adults are likely to have
far less time to study language than children due to work schedules and other
commitments. Moreover, they may well have specific reasons for learning the
second language, such as for business practices, which will dictate the methods
and direction of teaching that should be used. A ‘needs analysis’ provides a framework through which to assess the
reasons and motivations of students learning a second language, and allows the
teacher to begin adapting his/her methods to suit the student best.
other factors must also to be considered when assessing the adaptation of
teaching methods. The larger groups may promote greater interaction comparison
with a one-to-one teaching class; however, it may also reduce learning
effectiveness if there are several different levels in one class or the
students resort to first language communication. The motivating purpose behind
student learning is also another important factor to consider. Self-motivated
students who want to learn the
language are often more engaged and committed comparison to students who are made to learn the language. The
students preferred learning styles must also be taken into account the teaching
method. The most common for learning styles are (1) Visual where students learn through visual material, (2) Auditory in which students learn by oral
and audio material and lastly (3) Kinaesthetic
whereby students learn from movement and gestures.
order for both student and teacher to be familiar with and keep track of the
learning objectives in a particular course it is vital that a syllabus is made. The teacher will most
likely not have a great input in syllabus creation when working for a language
school, however, for private teaching purposes this becomes vital. It is
important to consider all the aforementioned factors when producing a syllabus
as well as the learner’s goals (e.g. business language) and current level.
Furthermore, the syllabus must consider a balance between productive (speaking
and writing) and receptive (listening and reading) skills. The syllabus can be
based on grammar, vocabulary or topic and will ensure that the lessons in
different categories are not repeated.
main reason why any student chooses to attend English classes as opposed to
studying on their own is the teacher.
Thereby making the teacher the most important element of an English teaching
class. A good teacher needs to be able to build a quick rapport with the
students and to easily interpret and adapt according to students’ needs. The
teacher is seen as the guide in the
classroom as students look to the teacher for answers and direction.
Furthermore, a good teacher needs to be a conversationalist
as well as a resource for the
students. The teacher should be aware of effective tools such as body language
and tone of voice when managing a classroom. Certain classes may require more
control and more TTT than STT and it’s important that the teacher
is able to use her different tools skillfully to ensure successful classroom
teacher must also consider mediums and materials
used when teaching. Many language schools have their own system for material
creation, which obviously leads to a great database of a wide variety of
activities. However, the teachers should double-check the activities according
to the level of students’ grammar and vocabulary. Even though a set exercise is
tailored to a set level student, it is not always the case that the exercise
will be suitable. Furthermore, the teacher should consider other items for
learning practices. Among these are blackboards, which may be very beneficial
for a group of visual learners, however, not necessarily for audio learners.
are also another valuable resource for teachers. Many of these come with a set
syllabus, which can benefits teachers holding private classes, and may not have
the resources posses by larger organizations. It is often preferable to use
these textbooks as reference points and adapt, change or drop certain sections
in order to be able to adapt better to the students’ needs.
is a range of language teaching systems founded in the past that are useful
reference points when selecting a methodology most appropriate for teaching.
Grammar-Translation approach has a focus on writing
and reading a language as opposed
to communication. The teacher thereby takes an assessors role by telling the
students what they need to learn. Even though this method is highly useful for
developing written skills, however, in terms of communication it is highly
ineffective. As oral communication is a vital part of second language
acquisition, I would not consider this to be suitable method.
Silent Way was developed by Caleb Gnetto and places emphasis on students’
developing a skill for self-correcting.
A teacher using the Silent Way takes a passive role and teaches through
gestures and body language. The method requires a very committed student
continually correcting herself. The method does not have a fixed structure or syllabus,
which would make progress confusing to the student, and it is not suitable for
is a method developed by both Caleb Gattegno and Georgi Lozanov and it aims to
reduce psychology barriers students
face when learning a new language. The method uses relaxing art and music to
free the students of daily life worries in order to give a 100% focus on
language acquisition. This method therefore carries a very high level of TTT
and does not particularly engage in interaction between students.
Total Physical Response method places an emphasis on the use of gestures to
indicate the meaning of the language students. Thereby making the students use
all their senses and making it easier for them to remember vocabulary. Despite
it enhancing students ability to remembering vocabulary, the method is limited
as certain concepts such as ‘Human Rights are difficult to teach using
gestures. Additionally, using this method grammar becomes very difficult to
Communicative Approach focuses on language creation by students rather than by
the teacher. The method encourages specific attention to speaking and listening
in context, rather than reading and writing. The obvious advantage of this
method is the focus and development of students’ oral capabilities, however, it
may be not be very suitable for students wanting to develop their written
skills or who learn visually.
summarised some of the popular teaching methodologies I believe there are
positives and negatives in every method. Therefore I will propose a much more
engaging and enjoyable methodology.
Matchmaker Method is based upon the concept of increasing the intrinsic
motivations of learners by placing them in a situation where extrinsic factors
cause them to try harder to learn. The method is centered on a class with 2
students, one male and one female of roughly the same age and language level.
The aim of the method is to have interactions between the two students,
attempting to create an atmosphere where each student attempts to impress the
other with their superior language skills.
teachers role in this method is to act as a guide, leading the pair of students
through different aspects of language through topics, structure and vocabulary
as found in the Oxbridge Approach. The teacher uses gestures to help the
students learn vocabulary and the pattern of the language, and focuses teacher
talking time into a block. The class then focuses on communications between the
two students who practice what they have learned from the teacher through
conversations in context, as with the Communicative Approach. As a guide, the
teacher can correct and help to facilitate conversations during this period.
believe this approach could have a significant beneficial impact on both the
quality and speed at which the language is learned. By focusing TTT into one
block, students are able to utilize the type of learning they find most
effective (Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic) and then practice the techniques
studied through communication in a separate block of time. I believe this is
far more flexible than other teaching methods, which do not allow students to
adapt to the type of learning they find most effective, and also furthers the
sub-conscious aspect of learning by increasing intrinsic motivation with the
use of extrinsic factors (i.e male and female interaction in class).