My teaching approach
I always said, “If you are not happy about
something, change it. Change it from what you don’t like to what you want it to
Indeed, I never really liked English
Because of how stressed I was to know my
irregular verbs and vocabulary perfectly before each class (we were being shoot
with a 0/20 every time we couldn’t answer!)
I am lucky and have a multilingual mother.
This is how I improved my English more than thanks to school…
The thing is, not everybody is able to
speak English regularly and most of my friends just gave up with English and
even hated it! What a waste, English is the most useful knowledge to re-use in
everyday life; have you ever re-used the Thales’ theorem?
I’ve not! But I have needed to speak
English way more than once.
Anyway, every English class should be
enjoyable and teachers should keep in mind that they are not going to work like
they would if they worked in a supermarket.
Just like a plant needs a stake, students
need support and teachers have to be aware of everything and chose the good
method to use with their students.
“Oh! Today is the day of English class!”:
This has to be a good news for the student, but it is not always the case. Some
methods have weaknesses and could ruin the relationship between the student and
Some methods are
stressful and put the student in a weird mood.
The Grammatical Teaching Method, by putting
so much importance on the “correct answers” could make the student afraid of
making mistakes, so afraid of talking.
The Callan Method, in a different way can
be stressful for the student because very fast and intense: There is never any
time for the student to take a breath (and it is worst for the teacher!)
Some methods are
not complete, and do not provide all productive and receptive skills.
They can lack of speaking (GTM), lack of
structure (Direct Method), lack of vocabulary (Audio-Lingual Method), etc.
Incomplete methods are for me synonyms of boring methods, because by focusing
on one skill, you put away a lot of different exercises and interactions.
Students need to
be encouraged but not too much!
The silent way does not praise or criticise
the student. I think it is essential for a learner to know if he is doing well
or not. That’s why the Suggestopedia Method is also weak: it never tells the
student that he actually made a mistake, but stays positive and suggests some
other words. That won’t help the student remembering what he said will never
work because it was a mistake.
Hopefully, some methods bring good points
of how to teach English.
All the methods that don’t use translation
understood something! It is helping the students that not giving them any translation:
they will remember easily by understanding how to use the actual word in a
Direct Methods, Communicative Approach, and Oxbridge System that are using a
syllabus are stronger than any method without it.
A syllabus allows organisation and
preparation, what reinforce the productivity of each class! Complete methods
providing every 4 skills are the ones!
The communicative approach does not forget
any skills and provide: speaking and writing, and listening and understanding,
but maybe by focusing too much on fluency and not enough on accuracy, whereas
Oxbridge complete the task and provide accuracy in vocabulary and structure
activities, and fluency in topic activities.
If I had to create a method, I would first
think about something NOT stressful and efficient.
to speak, communication and pleasure to talk would be my main goals. Focusing on what students need, all 4 skills
will be developed. To achieve this, I would follow a good and versatile
syllabus, providing every kind of activities, going from thinking to acting:
that way, activities can be adapted to any type of students, and be the most
To do those activities, the material is
essential. It can be visual aids or Authentic Material, it can be realia (just
bring an orange to your class to teach the verb to eat!), or audio (bring a CD
and play something! Only if it is interesting)
In any situation, the teacher and the
students have a relation of colleagues, which can talk and ask questions to
each other. That way, the student will never be intimidated and always feel
relaxed when going to English class.
important points will need to be present in my method: No other language than
English to create some reflexes in the students’ minds.
Also, a few minutes will be accorded to
writing in class, not too much because it will kill the rhythm of the class,
but just like The Oxbridge system do Quick Questions, I will provide a little
bit of writing in each class.
The teacher will have to guide
the student in his progression and always be sure everything is assimilated. If
not, the teacher will come back on each non-understood points. He will be
another person, just like the student and will not represent any kind of
authority in the classroom; will be able to understand the students’ needs, and
provide them with the best education, interesting and exciting!
The English language is something precious
in life today, and children at school should be able to receive a good and
stimulating education; that way, they will have a chance to speak English
later! English at school is often a waste and that definitely has to change!
Anybody should be allowed to learn English
without already having an English family or having to live abroad!
If all schools and all teachers could agree
and teach following one efficient method, everybody would love and enjoy
speaking in English!
And is that not the goal of any teacher?
Having students enjoying learning and coming in class with a smile?
It should be! And it will be mine if one
day I become a teacher!