TEFL, Oxbridge, Barcelona, 2013
Spanish camp instructor, 2004-2005
English summer camp instructor, 2002
In the last three years I've been sporadically giving private drawing, dancing and meditation classes.
Freelance producer and seller of handmade jewellery, paintings and other art objects.
Clothes seller at Lacoste (Barcelona), and at Adolfo Domínguez (Barcelona and Paris).
Waitress at different restaurants and coffeeshops in Paris, Barcelona and Skyros (Greece).
TEFL certificate, Oxbridge, Barcelona, 2013
BFA, Engraving, Universitat de Barcelona, 2012
Certificate in Ancient Indian Culture and History, Visva-Bharati, India, 2008
My teaching approach
learning and living can be fun!
I first enrolled in the TEFL course I thought teaching a second
language was something quite easy, something anyone with a good level
of the target language can do if helped by a book. It may sound a bit
naïve but, it had never crossed my mind the thought of people
theorizing about such a subject; even less of people writing
specialized books and analyzing the effectiveness of different
teaching methodologies. I have always been taught foreign languages
through the Grammar-Translation Method (GTM) and even though I was
completely aware of its communicative deficiencies, I believed this
was The Method (I didn't know of any other). I used to solve the
aspects of communication outside the classes and on my own, an usual
mean was to work in different countries so I would face the real need
to communicate and feel compelled to speak the language no matter how
shy I felt or how many mistakes I was making. This immersion method
has been quite useful for me for the last ten years, but it's
certainly a method not suitable to most people's lifestyle and
character. Nevertheless now I realize that many other methodologies
less demanding, more efficient and enjoyable exist, which are
applicable in a classroom and have been proved to achieve the main
goal when learning a language: the ability to communicate in such
language. This essay aims to analyze some of these methods and put
forward my own perspective on how to approach the teaching process.
However, before doing so I should consider some other basic and
determinant issues which will be very helpful for the understanding
of the subsequent reasonings.
theories have arisen in the last forty years regarding the learning
process of a second language (L2). In
our days one of the most popular theories is language acquisition
that is related to the natural process
children use in acquiring first and second languages.
According to Krashen adults
have two ways of developing competence in the second language:
acquisition (subconscious learning) and learning (conscious
learning). Children when acquiring a language aren't affected by
interlanguage factors while adults usually are, and this is where the
need for conscious learning originates.
the age factor should be never observed as a barrier, but more of a
challenge a teacher should deal with. Affective factors should be
also taken in consideration when teaching since they can play even
more of an important role than the age factor. The learner's attitude
towards the second language, their personality, their needs and the
role they play in a group can be crucial in the process of
acquisition. And here is where a teacher should question his/her own
performance in a class and examine the cultural and social context of
his/her students. In most countries the institutionalized educational
system was based on a hierarchy structure where teachers were
depicted as 'superior beings' and students needed to achieve the
teacher's goals instead of their own goals. Students' backgrounds,
interests, aptitudes and needs were hardly ever taken into account.
past experiences and even genetic memory about this sort of
educational system still affects the order of things in our times, so
I believe that one of the main functions of a teacher in our days is
to change students' vision towards learning. In order to carry out
this function it's important to spend part of our energy in creating
a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere in our classes, working on the
rapport with our students, provide them with the feeling of freedom
for talking and asking, strengthen their critical thinking, enhance
group dynamics and demolishing historical preconceptions such as the
elevated position of a teacher or the previous aptitudes a student
might or not have for learning a language.
important point to bear in mind while teaching is to convey the idea
of amusement; learning can be a game in which everyone wins. In my
opinion, a teacher's role can't be really labelled; it's more of an
ability for directing a play in which its actors will improvise with
concrete contents given by the director, with their own knowledge and
with their means for communication. The director will be in charge to
organize, coordinate, assess, guide, coach, motivate, bring inputs
and comfort the actors in scene. But the final result will be brought
into being by the performance (the language production) of its
actors. How to reinforce their performance so a brilliant piece is
created, should be again the director's concern. This last issue
though, shouldn't become a major worry since researchers from all
around the globe have studied it thoroughly and have developed many
different methods and approaches to choose from.
no agreement on what's the best method to teach a second language,
apparently every way has its own advantages and imperfections.
Nevertheless at present many teachers and language schools are
appealed by the Communicative Approach which bases its goal on the
development of the communicative competence. The communicative approach could be said to be a 70s product of educators and linguists who had grown dissatisfied with the audio-lingual and grammar-translation methods of foreign language instruction.
approach emphasizes on the integration and development of four
skills: speaking and writing (productive skills), listening and
understanding (receptive skills). The way to accomplish it is to make use of real-life situations that necessitate communication. The teacher sets up a situation that students are likely to encounter in real life. Unlike the audio-lingual method of language teaching, which relies on repetition and drills, the communicative approach can leave students in suspense as the result of a class exercise will vary according to their reactions and responses. The main features of this approach are the following ones:
language: language is introduced as it is used in a real context.
language: becomes a mean of communication instead of a content to
are a recurring tool for teaching due to its similarities with real
are tolerated since they're seen as an outcome of the learning
and vocabulary: are taught inductively through communicative
materials: use of magazines, newspapers, visual aids, graphics,
radio conversations as input.
as a teacher I widely agree with this approach: I stand for the
establishment of function-based syllabus' instead of grammar based
ones, I consider extremely important to focus on students'
development of communicative skills and to encourage them to produce
meaningful language, I recognize the enormous value of suggesting
activities offering a real life like situations for students to
communicate coherently, as well as of providing current and authentic
materials to improve the students' understanding of the culture and
context where the target language is used and I completely advocate
for learning through games.
still I believe that combining features from other approaches could
enrich the communicative approach and produce a much more complete
program. As for instance, this approach is well designed for
one-to-one classes or small groups of students, but it might be the
case that we find ourselves confronted to a large group of students,
then other considerations should be also borne in mind. A very
interesting approach deals with this subject going hand in hand with
the communicative approach: the Cooperative Learning Approach.
Cooperative learning focuses its attention not only on how teachers
interact with their students and how they interact with the provided
materials, but also on how students interact between each other. So a
new role is added to the teacher: he/she should structure various
student-student interaction patterns -goal structure- in order to
attain a better learning environment (more self-esteem, implication
and better relationships). This strategy aims to promote students'
cooperative, competitive and individualistic efforts all at a time.
However the most important goal structure and the one that is used
the majority of the time in this sort of learning situations, is
cooperation. Let's see now what are the main attributes of this
approach when applied in a class so it can be better understood:
All students share the same goal.
students are distributed in small changing groups or teams assigned
by the teacher at every lesson.
Students assessments are interdependent.
Require the contributions of every each and single student, they
can't be solved if one of the team's members does not participate.
Are distributed within the teams.
Are continuously changing and different for each member of the
lots of attention have been drawn towards the way a class should be
arranged in order to enhance students' communicative competences and
their rapport with the teacher. But little have been thought of how
relational dynamics can influence the course of a class, specially in
advanced levels. Big groups of L3, L4 and L5 students able to speak
quite fluently could be largely benefited if we, as teachers,
implement this approach in the class.
features extracted from methods such as Suggestopedia can be of great
help when trying to create a relaxed and cheerful environment in our
classes. The use of indirect positive suggestions to
students' self-confidence and to convince them that success is
obtainable can be a great manner to cope with their psychological
barriers to learning. The random and consistent use of visual or
audio aid materials related to fine arts can also be an interesting
way to induce a relaxing atmosphere in our classrooms.
Total Physical Response method offers us a good system to deal with
kids or adult S1 students. The TPR can be a brilliant way of teaching
kids since they feel less anxious than adults to learn, aren't so
prone to have interlanguage interferences and aren't so much aware of
embarrassment feelings, all these factors enable them to easily
follow a learning pattern based on imitation (the teacher is
responsible for modeling spoken instructions and students are
responsible for demonstrating the actions and repeating the aural
structures). Adult S1 students will be also benefited by this method
since it does not use native language translations and their first
approach to the second language will feel as natural as language
acquisition is for children. Nevertheless repetition and imitation
can be boring and tiring for advanced level adults, so I would prefer
to use my own “combined communicative approach” to teach them.
last but not least, as a teacher I think is very important to take
into account within the general frame of education, one of the main
values of the TPR approach: learning effectiveness is improved when
it is fun! Acting games, creative activities, board games,
controversial conversations, riddles, etc. should be taken seriously
as they can open all the doors for students to be motivated and learn
effortlessly, and for us teachers to feel excited towards every new
class we are going to teach in. Teaching, learning and living can be
fun! We should only choose for the right approach!
Barcelona, Madrid, Beijing, seoul, South and central America, India, Indonesia, South East Asia, Japan or Italy.