In 2014, I have completed a 1 month TEFL course with Oxbridge in Barcelona, which involved regular classes and 20 hours of teaching experience with feedback from qualified teachers.
Secondly, I have experience providing care for and teaching children with downs syndrome.
Finally, I have a number of teaching experiences in Japan in 2014, including teaching debate classes and essay writing classes in 2 separate high schools and participating as a senior leader, mentor and teacher at summer camps for orphans between the ages of 14 and 19. I also gave one to one classes in conversation, that were bespoke to the interests of the individuals, and taught classes in anthropology and world cinema.
I have worked in a range of high street services, such as delicatessen, pubs, cafes, bars, etc. I was employed By the second largest charity in Japan called Ashinaga, between the months of June and September 2014, including many roles within the organisation including various support and teaching roles for orphans and and also leading fundraising projects, cultural exchanges, giving speeches to up to four hundred people and participating in conferences which were shown on national television. Through this charity I had the opportunity to interview the Japanese minister for education and technology.
BSC biological and social anthropology 2014
TEFL certificate 2014
My teaching approach
Over the past 100 years, a shift in teaching practices has occurred, ranging from the hard-line traditional methodologies of prose translation and vocabulary memorisation seen for the majority of the 20th century to the relatively more diverse methods we have today. Education is a persistent topic of political debate, and is often subject to reform all around the world, both for economic purposes, and to understand how best to teach a sense of cultural identity while being part of a global community. However, after participating in both state education and home education, I have become disillusioned with the British state education system that continues to educate in the same way it has done in the past. People become alienated, because the education system marginalizes what they think is important about themselves’ and they do not see the purpose of studying. Current educatory systems in the United Kingdom were designed for a different age, in the economic circumstances of the industrial revolution. I believe languages are a victim of this archaic mentality towards teaching where education is modelled on industrialisation. It is for this reason I will be suggesting more contemporary methods as pivotal to improving and diversifying the education systems we have today.
In order to understand how we have arrived at the current language teaching methodologies, it is important to look at the teaching methodologies used in the past. Historically speaking, languages have usually been taught by means of grammar, an aspect of teaching that still perseveres in methods today. The Grammar-Translation method or GTM is characterised by its focus on written texts, where literary language is superior to spoken language and the ability to communicate is not a goal. Little attention is given to speaking and listening and almost none to pronunciation. If we assume that a language is necessary as a means for communication, a method that does not aim for communication is surely no longer viable. This method has proved to function as an anaesthetic, students shut their senses off and deaden themselves to what is happening. It is very important that we should not be putting eager students to sleep or worse discouraging them from learning languages. Schools are still to this day organised like factories with ringing bells, separate facilities, specialised into separate subjects and organised in batches by age and then by ability. I think it’s really important that we move away from this approach to teaching.
In the more contemporary techniques, priority is given to the linguistic functions; despite this, students are still sometimes language analysers rather than language users. We know that adults acquire new languages with more difficulty than children. While young children, regardless of their native language, can pick up English simply by regular, prolonged exposure to it, adult speakers of other languages can acquire fluency in English only through conscious effort and training. Linguistic researchers continue to debate the best ways to teach English to adults, and some of their theories are more widely accepted and used in teaching than other theories. There are a number of methods that are used today, each of which have aspects of value for a communicative approach. The Berlitz method does not allow any translation and materials are used to help students understand, only in L2 with the goal of communication. The Audio-Lingual method places emphasis on grammar patterns over vocabulary but still focusing on oral and aural skills. In the Silent Way, the teacher is passive so that the students develop an ‘inner criteria for correctness.’ The goal of this technique is self reliance and group cooperation. Suggestopedia seeks to eliminate negative barriers such as the feeling that we will be limited in our ability to learn or that we will fail. The total physical response takes an all senses involved approach, but it unfortunately places emphasis on repetition. And finally, the communicative approach aims to integrate the four macro-skills for communicative competence. In order to arrive at a custom teaching method a range of aspects of these approaches must be incorporated into a new method that takes the strongest points of each and that best suits a teacher and his or her students.
In order to successfully teach a foreign language you must understand what motivates a student to learn. Once you know that, you can use it along with your own skills as a teacher to enhance learning and create some really productive language acquisition. It’s important to create an aesthetic experience, one at which the students senses are operating a high capacity and they are present in the current moment and resonating with the excitement of learning. This is the mindset in which most language will be acquired. We know that some people, regardless of age, have different levels of ability in different areas and at different times of the day. Some work better alone or in small groups and some in large, so if the aim is to educated it is important not to start with the model of education which has a production line mentality as can be seen in the past. We need to encourage creativity and the process of having original ideas that have value because these will stay with the student. We must teach students to use language laterally and not in a linear fashion, always referring back to L1; coming up with multiple pathways to expression not just one. It’s imperative that the teacher keeps a positive mental attitude and encourages the student whenever possible. The activities and classes must be of high quality and well practiced, taking into account the class dynamics and personalities of the students. Wherever possible, work should be bespoke with the student in mind. In order to successfully teach a second language it’s important to understand how acquisition take place and the subconscious process by which we learn. Through understanding this, we can improve aspects of the student’s receptive and productive skills. Knowledge of interlanguage must be used to predict and anticipate errors. The learners’ attitudes must be encouraged in order to increase language acquisition. The teacher must have a positive attitude in order to dispel anxiety and create a good rapport with the student; this will facilitate quality learning time. In terms of the skills we need to develop in learners, I would suggest that speaking and listening are of paramount importance to acquiring a second language and furthermore that developing these skills would also improve reading and writing. It is also very important to take into account objectives and goals for learners having in mind their age, level and specific needs. To become proficient in the second language, the learner must be given opportunities to use it for communicative purposes.
In terms of creating a syllabus and lesson plans I feel one must take a bespoke approach in order to be as stimulating to the students as possible. English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is a sphere of teaching English language including Business, Technical, Legal, Scientific, Medical, Tourism, HR and English for Art Purposes and seeks to take the goals of the learner into account. This is a strong method of teaching and teachers should seek to customise the content of their material as much as possible in order to suit the goals of student and to be as stimulating as possible. Well developed themes must be used, chosen according to students' interests or experiences which will motivate them automatically. The age and culture of students must to be taken into account when choosing a theme.ESP is highly motivating because students are able to apply what they learn in their English classes to their main field of study, whether it be accounting, business management, economics, computer science or tourism. Being able to use the vocabulary and structures that they learn in a meaningful context reinforces what is taught and increases their motivation. A regular needs analysis of why students are learning English can help teachers stay on track and keep students motivated. Asking for students' opinions and negotiating a course plan with them can make students feel a certain responsibility towards their work. Once you know what motivates the students you can develop carefully syllabus. It must contain all the relevant functions for their level but also be thoroughly engaging.
To conclude, my proposed style of teaching would seek to dispel the rigmarole and boredom of past teaching methods and move towards a more bespoke and invigorating conversational style of teaching. I would seek incorporate certain methods from the communicative approach, the audio lingual approach and the Berlitz method. I certainly would not use any methods that use L1 as a reference point. Collaborative systems can be of real use to teachers, giving them access to far more teaching material than they could produce alone, however it’s very important that it is carefully mediated. Collaboration is key to knowledge and growth. If we separate people and judge them separately we will enforce a disjunction between them and their learning environment. It’s through the habits of our institutions and the habitats they occupy that we can make a difference to the teaching paradigm.