My teaching approach
The teacher should clearly distinguish the learners´ needs: students
who want to learn, students who need to learn and students who are forced to
learn. Teaching goals depend on the age and level of the learners. As for
me, I have appropriate objective with each target group. One of the
important goals of learning language is the ability to use it correctly and
communicate competently. Students engage in conversations, exchange opinions, concpets and ideas in the Second Language.
The receptive and productive skills may vary depending on the level of the
learners. For example, for P2 students it is more useful to begin with
receptive skills and step by step to develop productive skills. Listening and
reading activities help the students to learn the second language structure and
vocabulary in a natural way and use them correctly from the beginning. However,
it is important to develop speaking and writing skills, especially if the
students need the Second Language for business communication (correspondence,
phone conversations, seminars and presentations). As to the children, it is
worth to use watching activities (pictures, cartoons) that will help them to
develop speaking skills rather quickly.
Regarding the language areas, firstly I would give importance to the
vocabulary and grammar, and after the students are able to use the Second Language
correctly I would pay more attention to the pronunciation. Nevertheless, if the
learners´ level is high, the emphasis evidently is put on vocabulary and
pronunciation and the accuracy of the students’ language.
It´s very important for me to have syllabus because I feel self-confident knowing
concrete goals and content of each activity. In this way I can anticipate
learners´ possible difficulties and problems and be well prepared to clarify their
doubts. The syllabus helps me to have main idea about the teaching process and outcomes.
I prefer to make mixed syllabus based on structure, situation and vocabulary.
The idea is to show the students the usage of structure and vocabulary in a
context and help them to communicate easily. For example, a lesson plan for P3
would be in the following way:
of some grammar rule in a context)
Raise awareness of
the target language
communication skills (students make dialogue using the new structure and
(conclusion of the given lesson trough questions and the students´ own examples)
experience in teaching area, I would say the teacher has rather decisive role
in class transmitting his/her positive or negative energy and motivation to the
learners. It´s really obvious when a teacher is passionate or not, and the
students, respectively, are encouraged or less motivated with these factors. Most
of the times the students get bored quickly seeing teacher’s boring face
expression. I think the students should
be the protagonists of the lessons and feel free in communicating with each other.
The teacher guides and helps them to understand the Second Language, then to
apply it through the communication.
The teacher must create kind of friendly atmosphere in the class and use
the modeling system for explaining the things, while the students must be participants.
The more they communicate the better for their productive skills improvement.
The teacher´s attitude in the classroom could vary depending on the level.
In lower level sessions the immediate correction of mistakes is essential to
avoid further difficulties. In upper levels I would use a wrapping up system and
hand in at the end of the class, so that they can visualize and fix the correct
version of expressions or structures. Anyway, it depends on the situation also;
for example, the students are talking about something with enthusiasm, trying
to express their opinion on some topic, and if the teacher interrupts them
every now and then, the students may lose their self-confidence and be blocked.
In this particular case, the teacher should intervene when there are repetitive
serious mistakes (especially in structure).
As to the teaching
materials, I like to use more on-line, authentic materials. It´s true that
current news topics attract the students’ attention. They start to develop
productive skills expressing their opinions, discussing ideas in the Second Language
and while talking they use the target language more correctly. Games and
picture activities also are effective. A new structure is easy to explain
through the examples but they also are quite memorable when you use pictures.
For instance , I use on-line video materials for the kids. The experience shows
that with the help of videos they start to use structures correctly from the
affective factors like age, personality, emotion, beliefs about learning, attitudes,
motivation, etc., firstly I would like to concentrate on the age and
personality factors. It´s not so easy for 60 year-old learners to learn a new
language as it is for the children. The brain of the children is more capable
to capture new information and accept the Second Language without analyzing or
comparing with the native language while the adults are tend to translate and
compare the structures with the native language and most of the time they get
confused. Here the teacher faces to the obstacle of changing the native
language thinking to the second language mentality. Another affective factor is
the personality; it´s obvious that extroverted students learn more than
introverted ones. In this case I would try to keep in balance and not to allow
an active student to dominate the lesson. The shy students will feel involved
if I give them equal attention. What refers to the students´ reasons for
learning, it is really important to understand their needs and attitude. Then the teacher should assume the responsibility
to motivate the learners and awaken interest towards the Second Language. It´s
an essential task for each teacher because if the latter doesn´t enjoy teaching
the student neither will enjoy learning.
reasons for learning second language, particularly English, are different. Nowadays
English is necessary in all over the world mainly for the following purposes:business
and career, work or study abroad, travel, to keep the brain active and healthy,
able to communicate with foreigners, enriching knowledge about other cultures,
etc. Besides, language improves one´s personal life too, makes you feel more
confident and capable that you've achieved a new goal. By being able to speak a
language with native speakers, you can better understand their history and
In my opinion, to asses learning outcomes well, the teacher should carefully
prepare the lesson plan for each group having individual approach. If you have
your concrete aim at the end of the course you should design an effective
syllabus according the students´ need and abilities. For example : “By the end of
this program, P3 students will be able explaining ideas and concepts in English
with fluency”, or “P2 students will use the structures correctly in a context
and have considerable amount of vocabulary”.
Students´ difficulties are possible to foresee as the teacher can base on the
previous experience and similar cases. Some of the common difficulties for
Spanish speaking students are; constant comparison between the first and the
second languages, phonological differences (mispronunciation of s and u, study [estudi], bus [bus], language
thinking, structure particularities (putting
the adjective after the noun, changing the subject position, random order of
the syntax), confusion of personal pronouns, genders (he, she), etc. Another kind of difficulties that the teacher can
anticipate is related to a new grammar rule or target language explanations.
That´s why it´s necessary to be well prepared for each class and to know by
heart the activities, as well as, the definitions of the new words bringing at
least two examples in context.
My approach teaching to complete beginners and more advanced students are considerably
different. Of course, the goal is the same: students acquire the second
language for communication purpose.
Nevertheless, I don´t explain the function and meaning of some new grammar rule
to a P2 student in the same way that I do with a P4 one. Undoubtedly, the language of explanation is adapted to each level. I avoid
using technical terminologies in any way. It´s easier for them to have several examples seeing
it´s usage in the context so that they visualize, remember and begin to apply
in a correct way. Complete beginners are more disoriented in the first stage of
learning and if the teacher uses the modeling style it´s efficient for both
sides. The advanced level students need the accuracy and fluency, which means,
the teacher should be too careful in correcting the mistakes, because the
students really need to be corrected in order to reach improvement.
The same happens with the age differences; the children are easily taught a
new language trough the interactive activities, songs, videos and games. They
have the ability to absorb the information and maintain in their memory better than
the adults do. However, it´s also effective to use such activities with P2
adult students providing motivation to achieve their goal.
To conclude, I would say that before this course, my approach was quite
different from the Oxbridge style because I used to teach with text books and mainly
I was guided with their content (grammar explanation, gap-filling exercises, reading,
listening and speaking activities). While learning the Oxbridge second language
acquisition theories, also having chance to share practical classes with the teachers,
I realized that the Oxbridge style is one of the efficient and best methods I
have ever applied, as it gives to me a wide opportunity to be creative and
motivated. On the one hand the activities are interesting and individually
designed for each target group, on the other hand the students are not obliged
to do homework and learn the second language through the communication. Oxbridge
teachers manage the session time and are as operative as it is possible.