My teaching approach
Learning a foreign language regardless the reason is not an easy undertaking. It requires time, patient, and investment. Of course, everybody’s situation is not the same when it comes to learning a new language. Some are leaning the language to be able to get a job, to move to a different country, to communicate with grandchildren and in-laws, and others to be admitted to a university. Regardless the reason, the student needs to be motivated to learn to make progress. As a foreign student myself, I would approach teaching the language in a very fun and amusing was.
My priority as an English teacher is for my students to able to communicate. Foreign language learners need to be free to go out on their own to perform the most basic leaving activities. Such as going to a restaurant and ordering food, go to a store to purchase whatever they need and be able to ask questions.
My approach will be a combination of the direct method and the silent way. The direct method focuses primarily on listening and speaking. You show the student something so they can understand the word. If you can see what the teacher is trying to teach you, you have a greater chance to be able to understand it. For example realia, flash cards, or other visual aids. The teacher says the word by pointing at it. He or she asks the student to try what the word or the sentence. Corrections are made if the student does not pronounce the word or the sentence accurately. The teacher asks the student to repeat the word or sentence more than one time. On the other had the silent way is based on the notion that learners need to discover or create the language. It uses color chart and rods to produce words and sentences. Students work together to come with the output or producing the word, the sentence or the idea.
The two approaches combine together will create a very good balance between the receptive and productive skills. The show, say, try, mould and repeat system as well as the topic based approach of the direct approach will address the listening and reading skills in other word the receptive skills. The productive skills will be taking care through the silent way. By definition, the silent is way of approach to produce not to memorize. Students should be able to produce the out. The teacher will elicit the meaning. If it right, the teacher will say yes and move on. If the answer is not correct the teacher will elicit responses from other students until they got it right.
Since I believe that learning a language primary’s goal is to communicate, the syllabus will be situational-based and need-based. I will develop a syllabus that will allow students to learn and acquire general functional needs such as how to count, to say color, to order foods, or to take public transportation as well as what comes up through language production via silent way. Students should have the flexibility to learn what they are interested in learning. The syllabus should not be forced at all time; otherwise students will lose interest and focus in learning the new language.
This approach will allow me to incorporate all three learning styles: visual, auditory style and kinesthetic style.
Visual -According to general consensus, people forget what they learn but will remember what they see. It is easier to learn words and correct spelling if you see it than writing it down. If you can touch and mould something it might be easier to remember the name rather if it was told to you.
Audio – Some students collect and confirm information via listening. Some student learn best when the teacher explain orally. The quickly process and acquire the information.
Kinesthetic – Some students learn by moving around and touch things. I will be using a lot of hands on material to convey the information. I will be using body gesture and expression to give meaning or life to a word or sentence. This process will not allow students to be restless and to fall asleep.
Because to me learning a foreign language is situational, I believe that classroom setting should not reflect the experiences of the normal classroom. We all have terrifying recollections of learning experiences. I was afraid to go to grammar school because the catholic sisters were mean. They screamed and physically hurt me. I do not want my students to have fears coming to my classroom. The teacher/students relationship will be mostly partners. We need each other to make the learning takes place. They rely on my expertise to guide them and I am counting on them to participate and acquire the material. I will motivate, guide and inspire them. The expectation from my students will be clearly defined. Students will be praised and corrected as necessary. However, my students will be inspired to teach me as well as I am teaching them. I want the atmosphere to be relaxed, inviting and fun.
As a L2 student myself, I know how much I rely on my mother tongue to try communicate. I have made many mistakes by using my mother tongue to translate. The use of the mother tongue will not be used in the classroom. I will try my best possible power to only use English as the vehicle of communication in my class. I will pay close attention whenever interlanguage shows up in my classroom. L2 students have a tendency to apply what they learned to any situation or to remove work to communicate. This process is called overgeneralization or simplification.
My syllabus and classroom delivery will keep in mind that affective factors play major roles in second language acquisition. These factors are individual and affective. We cannot teach a four year old child the same way we teach and 37 year old adult. They both have to be motivated in different ways. Their experiences and motivation are different so their learning process should be different. Affective factors such as self-esteem, inhibition, risk taking, anxiety, and empathy will affect one’s acquisition of a foreign language.
Learning will be assessed through different techniques: Verbal and non verbal.
Verbal – Students will ask to make “class presentation”. Depending of the level of the students, presentation can only be standing up and identify a word. Role playing will be highly used; through it, they will be able to use what they know to communicate and engage with their fellow students.
Non-verbal – Physical presentation, students will be asked to act out a vocabulary concept. They can point or use gestures. Pictorial products, students will be asked to draw words, countries, or objects. Material will be given out to students and they will be asked to label them. Portfolio, students will be asked to produce a portfolio with activities, pictures, and any other objects related to the given activity.
As a brand new L2 teacher and a L2 student (Spanish) myself, I will approach the classroom in a very fun and motivational way. I know for fact that most people are not learning just because they want. They are learning because there is a reason. If someone is obliged to learn a language, the motivational factor will not be as strong as someone who wants to travel to a foreign country. As a teacher, it is my obligation to instill it into my classroom and eventually through my students. I will encourage them to be brave. I will make sure that my classroom reflects a sense of comfort where students will feel free to engage. It will be an environment where right and wrong have no place; however, students will be corrected through repetition or role model. They will be praised when necessary but not patronizing. I will always keep in the forefront that my primary goal as a L2 teacher is for my students to be able to communicate.
Below is a lesson plan:
Objectives: To learn colors
Target language: Red, Blue, Yellow, White, Black, Green, Pink, and Purple
Prepare colored papers – enough color for each student in the class. Each student has a set of colors.
I will hold up the first color and elicit the color from the students.
I will say and repeat the color.
I will pass colored paper around the class so each student can hold and say the color. This will continue until each student has a chance to say all the color.
Add all types of color objects and colored papers to the classroom walls.
I will stand up, say a color and run up to wall to find the color and touch it. I will repeat the exercise a few more time until I am sure that students got the idea. I would have students do the same activity: say a color and run up the wall and touch it.
I will ask students to tell me what colors their classmates are wearing. I will only stick to the target language. I will not focus on dark orange or sage colors per example.
Cupcakes of all colors are displayed. I would ask students to identify the colors. After all colors have been identified by all students, I would ask each student for their favorite color and ask them to go and get the cupcake of that color.