Victor Hope

My teaching approach

In this essay, i would first talk about the various teaching methodologies and express my opinion about each one of them, then go on to introduce you to what i think is the best method to teach english. Every method has its advantage and disadvantage the key is in mastering all of them and using the most appropriate method for each particular situation

The Grammar Translation Method  (GTM) is a method focused on written english, reading and writing. The latter are developed however attention is not focused on spoken language. I think this method is completely obsolete because it's not effective. The best way to learn a language is to acquire it. Native languages across the world first learn to speak a language then go to school not the other way.

The Direct (Berlitz) method is focused on vocabulary not so much on grammar, and translation is forbidden in class. The upside is that it allows to overcome language transfer, however the downside of this method is that class time is spent working on the 4 skills, and I personally think that reading, writing and listening can be done at home outside of class, and in class one can focus on speaking which I think is the most important skill to have. 

In my opinion the audio lingual method is too monotonous and boring, it doesn't stimulate, challenge nor motivate the student enough because it is based on drills and repetitions which is not very natural.

For complete beginners i would use the Callan method because it gives you confidence from day 1, helps you start speaking english from the beginning, and because  the formula answer answer question answer is such at a high speed, language transfer hardly occurs and the grammar is learned implicitly through repetition, although this method might be great for a low level for a higher level it's completely inefficient.

For S1 i would use suggestopedia to help them overcome some barriers to learning, native language translation can sometimes be justified to make the meaning of a dialog clearer, fine arts such as music, drama and acting could be very useful.

For P2 students, especially children, total physical response method is great because language learning is easier when its fun, and for younger students they need to be constantly engaged to be able to learn.

For P3 students and up, they need to develop their own criteria for correctness, in other words to be able to correct themselves, hence from that level to up, we will partially use the silent method but in a very specific way, in error management. At a lower level if a student makes a mistakes he is given the correct answer. For higher levels, students should not be corrected nor given the answers, teacher should repeat the word with a rising intonation  implying a question and let the student self correct himself, because if they are given simple answer, they will not retain it.

Moreover the communicative approach in my opinion is the method with the least flaw. The flaw that i perceived it to have is the conscious focus on the 4 skills , productive (speaking and writing) and receptive (listening and understanding). I think during the classroom time, the only focus should be on speaking, and if other skills are learnt implicitly, great, and thish will inevitable happen, (just the fact the student is hearing your voice is improving his listening skills), but the focus should be speaking in class and the other 3 skills can be studied at home as homework. I am not saying that the other 3 skills are not useful but that a child learns how to speak nearly perfectly at the age 4 or 5 without knowing how to write nor read a single word. 

Moreover during teaching, if we noticed a recurrent language transfer, we will use the audio lingual method to help the student correct and learn his error. For example if a student keeps forgetting to put the pronoun before a verb i.e. IS raining as opposed to it is raining, i would do a drill.

In my method the goal is to try to emulate how a native speaker of any language learn their mother tongue.

So these are the ground rules, these are the fundamentals of my method

DO NOT WRITE OR TAKE ANY NOTES. Remove notebooks, pens, dictionaries and anything else associated with learning at school.

DO NOT TRY TO REMEMBER. While participating, do not try to remember nor memorise specific words or expressions, learning is based on understanding not rote memorisation

INTERACT FULLY in classes.


DO NOT GET ANNOYED IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE. Mistakes are part of the leaning process, one can't learn a new skill without making mistakes. The most important thing is that you have an ahaa reaction, yes of course i UNDERSTAND, not  yes I MEMORISED it response. If you see a child make a mistake, he laughs about it, he does't irritated.

In my method
  1. SPEAKING is the MOST important skill
  2. No attention is given to reading, listening and writing IN class. Students focus on these skills at home. Homework and correction is provided daily.
  3. No attention is given to grammar 
  4. The teacher's goal is to talk as least as possible, ideally 90% student 10% teacher, the teacher's goal should just be to prompt and engage enough the student and let them talk and correct them from time to time as need be. Although 90/10 is ideal, 50/50 is also acceptable. We do not support or recommend for the teacher to speak more than the student unless the student is an extremely low level, a beginner for example with no knowledge whatsoever of english and is struggling a lot

So that's the main overview of how my method would work. Now let us go into details.

First of all before we start anything it is crucially important to know why the student wants to learn a language. Once we figure out why what the student or students want to study, we should focus our attention around that.

And then move on to elicit what he perceives as a difficulty, a challenge, an obstacle to achieve his goal and then build the right syllabus with the use of the right methodology to help him achieve his goal.

Based on the knowledge we will customise a syllabus based on his objectives

This method is flexible because the student can choose the content but the structure of the class is inflexible.

Secondly, nothing should be started until the student is engaged or motivated, until they know why they are learning a specific topic, structure, or vocabulary.

If their main motivation is to communicate at work or travelling, keep reminding them often how what you are teaching them will help then communicate at work or travelling.

If a student is anxious and nervous he won't learn so it is very important to build rapport, maintain eye contact, say student's name,smile,find something you genuinely like about the student and tell them.

 If a student is not motivated he won't learn so engage students by choosing topics that he finds interesting, presenting topic in an interesting way for i.e. varying our tone and speed and moving to the next activity on a high

Thirdly, the main focus of the class is speaking. Although I realise that balancing between receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills is very important only 1 skill requires the presence of a native speaker, speaking.

Listening, reading and writing can be done outside of the class.

I believe it is way more important for the student to be exposed daily to the the target language everyday for 5 to 10 minutes, than to spend 2 hours, once a week studying, so the homework will be set and corrected on a daily basis.

Fourthly, in each lesson taught we will teach 

visually by showing pictures, writing words when necessary

auditory by the mere fact of the teaching talking is enough

kinaesthetically by doing some sort of activity where the student has to move their hands for example

Fifthly, we will apply 5W frameworks with ESA ( Engage Study and Activate )

  1. The teacher will pre teacher the context implicitly
  2. The teacher presents the title of the thing that is going to be covered and explains why are we learning that, where and when it can be used …
  3. The teacher explicitly explains how to do, in other words he teaches it
  4. Then the teacher asks the student to replicate or produce the lesson taught to demonstrate comprehension

Sixthly we will systematically at the end of the activity, lesson and month, check the student's progress by asking concept check questions.

At the beginning of each class, we will spend 5 minutes going through a quick quiz, this quiz is a collection of concept check questions of everything learnt so far.

For example, Use However in a sentence, What does rife mean, Is cooking your cup of tea, in this example we are testing and checking if the knowledge imparted in the previous classes was learnt and remembered.

In conclusion there is no perfect method, the most important thing to realise is that each method has its advantages and disadvantages, knowing various methods and calibrating to your student is a far superior skill. By calibrating to your student i mean knowing the needs of your student (why are they learning english and what are their difficulties),  knowing what method to use at what time (direct, callan, communicative,..), for how much time (5minutes, 20minutes, 1 lesson, several lessons),  and in what manner (visually, auditory, kinaesthetically).

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