My teaching approach
I believe there are many different ways in which we can approach teaching English. Most of the methods which I have read all have their strengths and weaknesses.
I strongly believe that students will learn English a lot quicker by hearing it constantly and repeatedly. This is why I like the Oxbridge system, as it has a good approach, It covers all areas, Topics, Structure and vocabulary activities through a fun communicative approach. I very much enjoyed planning activities as part of the course, especially the wrap- up where us as Teachers check the students understanding by asking a few Concept Checking Questions (CCQ). However I do think there should be some kind of written activities (depending on the level of the students ability) as well as oral and role-play, so as to hit all different types of learners, be it visual, auditory or kinaesthetic.
The process approach to writing is ideally suited to the second language learner since listening, speaking and reading can be so naturally integrated with it. Lower levels will obviously be restricted by their limited vocabulary, therefore the teacher would provide students with a starting point and a skeleton of ideas, e.g. pre writing tasks: brainstorming, word banks. They could also copy words and phrases, I believe this would help as the students will relate the letters to the sounds. This could then lead on to simple activities such as simple descriptions to accompany visuals. From personal experience I found this very helpful, I learnt the Greek alphabet and the sounds of the letters, before actually speaking the language.
However I think it's important to stress not to neglect speech- as is done in the Grammar Translation Method as most English learners feel that they need more conversation practice. Conversational practice in English, not in the students native language, therefore I would never translate, literal translation of the words and sentences is not always helpful. Our role as teachers would be to give the students a good definition of the word, or a visual- so they can match the word with an image. This is where I agree with the Direct Method, no translation.
According to academic research, linguists have demonstrated that there isn't one favourite method for everyone, and not one teaching method is inherently superior to the others.
Personally I would approach teaching English, taking the Principled Eclecticism approach into consideration, deciding on the most suitable techniques and applying the most appropriate methodology, and for the learner's specific objectives learning style and context. This way your fitting the method to the learner, not vice versa. This means choosing activities that are appropriate for each particular task, with a focus on motivation and helping learners become independent and inspired to learn more.
I would also consider the Total Physical Response Method (TPR). It has entertaining activities, which involves the students to react to what the teacher is saying but in a physical manner. Although this method is mainly aimed for beginners/ children I believe it's a fun method, and by adding a TPR activity into class I believe his would help students relax, and is definitely a good ice- breaker. It's also an excellent way of providing students with comprehensible input. It's also highly motivating and involves total involvement on the part of the teacher and students.
Finally my favourite approach, and one which I would definitely use is the Communicative approach. As I mentioned before it's important to take other essential skills for learning a second language into account, the communicative approach does exactly this. Although I believe speaking is definitely the most important thing that has to be developed when learning a second language, understanding, listening and writing are also important.
The grammar structure or vocabulary words are usually thought through a fun activity/ discussion.
It also encourages role play, which is a great way for the students to interact with each other, they will feel more relaxed and won't be afraid of making mistakes, which will help keep the conversation flowing. When learners are involved in real communication, their natural strategies for language acquisition will be used. I feel the communicative approach places less emphasis on the learning of specific grammatical rules and more emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language and pronunciation.
I think that my way of approaching teaching English would include parts of the above methods- TPR method, communicative approach, The Principled Eclecticism approach and the Oxbridge System .I would add a TPR activity as kind of an ice- breaker to start the class, I think it's a fun way to start, and a good way for the teacher to see how much the students actually understand. I would include grammar structures and vocabulary activities, as well as topic activities. The topic activities would contain a more fun side, using the language through class discussions, role plays and group work, this would cut out teacher talking time (TTT) and would allow the students to do all the talking. Lowering TTT is very important in class, so as the students have more time to talk (STT). I would also include images for explanations. In some cases I would put the word underneath the image, so as reading would also be covered, and the students would then relate the word with the image.
With the grammar and vocabulary activities, it's important to have good Target Language and good definitions to go with them, so as the students have good knowledge and understanding.
To check the students understanding at the end of a class, I would use the Oxbridge system of asking CCQ (Concept Checking Questions) I strongly believe that this is an excellent way of finishing a class, not only are you checking the students understanding, but also re- covering the lesson. Maybe a student was unsure of something, buy doing the CCQ you can make sure all students will leave the class feeling happy and feeling that they have learnt something.
I also think a positive and fun environment within the class will help students learn, and definitely put the students at ease. I think a teacher's role is to be a responsible role model and keep a positive attitude whilst at work or in areas where students can see you. Be patient and understanding. Us as teacher's have many roles within the class: A guide, organiser, coach, agony aunt, playmaker. We should always be prepared and be ready for whatever the students ask/ need.
The teacher should keep the students engaged with fun and exciting lessons, if the lessons are boring an dull, then the students will become frustrated and will not want to learn. Praise is very important, always remember to encourage students and congratulate them on their efforts, no matter how small the achievement. However it is just as important to correct the students, but this can be done in a more subtle way.
As a teacher, always keep in mind the 3 P's: Personality, Preparation and Punctuality.
Punctuality is very important because it shows others that you can be reliable.
It is also the first impression you give about whether or not you care about whatever you are supposed to be on time for. The most important of the 3 are Personality and Preparation. If the teacher is positive and has a good personality, the students will feel relaxed and will want to learn. It's very important to always be prepared, a good teacher is always well prepared. If activities are prepared well, there will be a good flow in class, and good understanding. If you have not prepared well the students will pick up on this, and may test you, this will then make both teacher and student to get frustrated. Plan effective lessons, be organised and well prepared.