Virginia Roquero Mitchell

Virginia Roquero Mitchell TEFL certificate Virginia Roquero Mitchell TEFL certificate


PROFILE


I was born and raised in Madrid by an English mother and a Spanish father. I am an enthusiastic and hard working person who wishes to transmit my passion for English to others through teaching. I really believe that learning English doesn´t just take place in a classroom, it can also be an enjoyable activity that is used in everyone´s daily life.


PROJECTS


I am bilingual in English and Spanish and I am currently studying French. I play field hockey with SPV Club at National League level. I enjoy music, travelling and socializing.


Whilst at high school and university I gave private English lessons to children and teenagers. I have recently finished the TEFL course with Oxbridge which has provided me with further practical experience in the world of teaching adults.




TEFL certificate from Oxbridge Language School in Madrid. BA, English Literature and Linguistics degree 2:1 at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Bachillerato with distinction.

My teaching approach

Virginia Roquero Mitchell 20-10-2014                                                        

 

                                                           The Immersion Approach

 

The Immersion Approach tries to provide the students with a wider view of how English can be used outside the classroom. It is a mixed form of teaching that blends characteristics and techniques from the Communicative and the Direct Approach with additional innovative teaching features.

The main goal of this approach is to improve and increase the oral proficiency of the students without neglecting reading and written skills. Teachers want their students to achieve communicative competence, this would involve knowing how and what to say to a certain someone in a specific situation. In order to reach this communicative competence, lessons would combine the study of the English language with the cultural aspects that surround English speaking countries.      

Another objective would focus on students accomplishing a total chain of thought in English. This would aim towards students thinking and processing information in English without interferences of their mother tongue. The reason of this objective is focused on the idea that once the dependency on the L1 barrier of the students is taken down they can start to master the L2. To quicken this process English would be the only language used during the lessons. When students do not understand the meaning of a new concept teachers would try and demonstrate it through images, mimicking or simplifying their explanation. Teachers should never resort to the translation of the concept in the student’s mother tongue.            

Another key characteristic of this approach would deal with the importance of language functions over form. Teachers aim to educate the students through real use of language not its structures. However, even if this approach focuses on language functions it does not overlook its form. This is introduced inductively in the lessons through function based activities.                     

Teachers will try to achieve these goals by attempting to follow the natural pattern of language acquisition of the four skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing. Beginners first contact with English would focus around them listening to sounds, words and short sentences (in this gradual order). Speaking is then first encouraged through repetition, which is maintained till the students have acquired enough knowledge to be able to sustain a basic form of conversation (e.g. through Q & A activities). Once this is accomplished reading and writing are introduced.

The teacher´s role in the classroom changes depending on the level of the students. When dealing with beginners the teacher adopts a controller position. Meanwhile when dealing with students that already have a certain level of understanding and competence in English the teacher slowly shifts towards a conversationalist role. This gradual alteration has a logical explanation. Beginners have no knowledge of the foreign language so the teacher is the one who carries the initiative in the classroom. As students progress they will be able to participate more and share their opinions during the class activities. Along this process teachers will gradually pass on the initiative position to their students and become mere playmakers that assist the students in their quest to accomplish communicative competence. However, teachers must not confuse this change of roles with passiveness. In order to maintain the level of motivation and learning progression they must choose topics that will stimulate and make the students participate while inductively teaching grammar and vocabulary.

The student´s role in the classroom also suffers alterations depending on the level. Beginners will start by adopting an imitator role because of their lack of knowledge of the L2. Through repetition some sort of teacher-student or student-student communication shall try to be achieved as soon as possible as the main objective of the approach is to get students talking, listening and understanding each other. To make the students understand the dynamic of the approach, the teacher can use Question and Answer activities that will help them learn how classes are structured and what is asked from them. On the other hand students in intermediate or advanced levels shall adopt the role of communicators who will actively engage in discussions, negotiations and debates. The shift in student roles is mainly due to the oral capability of the students. If they lack knowledge and feel insecure they will seek to imitate the teacher. If they display confidence and experience when using English they will want to form their own sentences and opinions without searching for the teacher’s advice.    

Concerning error correction in class the Immersion Approach suggests two different strategies. During the activities that deal with vocabulary and grammar the teacher should focus on accuracy rather than on fluency as the objective is students learning the target language. Meanwhile during discussions, role-play or debate exercises the teacher should take a step back and allow fluency over accuracy as the objective of these activities is to give the students freedom to try and apply what they have learnt in class to their previous interlanguage.  

The Immersion Approach has a situational syllabus. The syllabus is structured around different real life situations that change depending on the level and the age of the students to satisfy their needs and motivations. For example, children are usually forced by their parents to attend English classes so we need to use situations that are familiar and simple to motivate then to participate. As they can easily relate to everyday situations like a day at school, at home, an outing to the park, going to the zoo… teachers must stick to plain events. If they overcomplicate them they might risk children losing interest and dreading English class. Situations for teenagers would be slightly different. Some examples would be, at a concert, an afternoon with friends or going to the cinema. Adults usually take English classes to improve their oral skills when communicating in real English environments. Teachers should then focus on situations that the students might possibly encounter in the future like booking a hotel, going to the doctor or a job interview.

Classes on the other hand are divided in four parts. The first part of the class would work as a warm up for students and it would consist on a culture clash. Teachers will introduce a cultural aspect related to an English speaking country so students can appreciate, not only a language difference between L1 and L2, but cultural differences related to traditions. The second part of the class would focus on activities which would introduce the new target language (either dealing with inductive vocabulary or grammar). As mentioned earlier accuracy is given more importance than fluency in this section as the teacher aims for students to consolidate the new concepts. The third part would deal with activities that allow students to express themselves more freely. The error correction strategy changes its focus from accuracy to fluency making the teacher limit the number of corrections per student. To finish the class, a summary of the new target language shall be run through. This will help students fix small errors or insecurities that have arisen when learning the new concepts.

No textbooks will be used when teaching with this approach. Teachers will only use authentic material such as articles in newspapers, magazines, video clips, nursery rhymes…The objective is for students to interact with real material so they can realize that English learnt in class can also be applied to English elements outside the classroom. Teachers will try and make students aware that English should not be linked to a two hour lesson a week but to a constant flow of English material around their daily lives (we listen to songs, we read books, we use English everyday).

In class activities deal with oral skills while homework focuses more on reading and writing. Students with an intermediate to advanced level will have to prepare a couple of exercises per month. These would include reading comprehension (which are related to situations that have been seen in class), short story writing, written comment of a movie scene…Beginners will not be asked for homework as there is no point in asking a person who can barely express themselves orally to hand in written or reading related homework. However, beginners will be encouraged to bring authentic material to class (e.g. children can bring their animal toys when dealing with target language of pets) to make them feel like they are contributing with something personal to the class.

Oral skills will be assessed during classroom time. For the reading and writing skills, students will be offered the choice between doing a presentation or writing a story. The students will have to provide the teacher with the written form of their presentation before giving it to the rest of the class. The teacher would then grade it and return it with feedback to the student. Students who prefer to do the story will hand in a copy to the teacher who will correct it and then make the rest of the students read it (without providing the name of the author). The corrected version is read out loud to avoid the author feeling uncomfortable when other students might correct the mistakes he/she has missed (avoidance of affective filters).

To sum up, the Immersion Approach tries to make students enjoy learning English through a dynamic and highly engaging teaching method. Its main objective, to achieve communicative competence, attempts to bring all four skills together using authentic material. This combined with the use of a situational syllabus provides the learners with a close feeling to the real use of English that allows them to observe that what they learn can truly be useful outside the classroom.    

 

 

 

Class (Intermediate teenagers)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Activity

Culture Clash (American and British students, Gap Year)

Grammar and Vocabulary (going to/will, travel vocabulary)

Plan your Gap Year

Revise target language and structures

Timing (1 hour class)

10 min

20-25 min

20-25 min

5-10 min

Objective/Description

Introduce an English “tradition” to Spanish teens and make them aware of a different approach to life after high school.

To teach students the future simple with going to or will through examples and questions.

To expand their knowledge on travel vocabulary.

To make students apply the structures and vocabulary learnt in the previous section to a situation that they might encounter in the future. This will help them fix the target language better.

To refresh the new concepts learnt during the class. Another activity that helps the students’ retention of information.

 

 

 



Barcelona, Madrid, Lyon, Vienna, Melbourne, Rome

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