Inés Donadio

Inés Donadio TEFL certificate Inés Donadio TEFL certificate


PROFILE


I enjoy teaching and I love transmitting my passion to my students. I like students to have fun while they learn. My motto is: "No boring lessons allowed".


PROJECTS


* Expert Technician in Microsoft Office 2010 (Azpe Informática - 2014) * French: High Level * Spanish: Native


Oxbridge TEFL Certificate (February 2015) I did my primary and secondary school at a bilingual school in Argentina. I have experience with kids, adolescents and adults.



* Accounting Analyst (BANCO SANTANDER) 2010 - 2013 * Assitant to General Manager (BANCO SANTANDER) 2008 - 2010 * Assitant to Senior Managers (BANCO SANTANDER) 2006 - 2008 * Assitant to Partners (URÍA MENÉNDEZ) 2004 - 2005


* Translation and Interpretation ES>EN - EN>ES (Universidad de Vic - 2014) * Sworn Translator ES>EN - EN>ES (Universidad del Museo Social Argentino - 2002) * Literary Translator ES>EN - EN>ES (Universidad del Museo Social Argentino - 2000) * Master Degree in Secretarial Studies (IIR Spain - 2008)

My teaching approach

How to teach English as a second language

 

Introduction

In globalization times to learn a second language is necessary from a business point of view. But there are many reasons why people need to learn a second language, in our case, English. Adolescents, for example, may need English to study at the University or to get their first job; some others may need it to travel and get to know different cultures. Whatever the need is, learning a second language broadens your mind. People start having contact with a second language in different stages of their lives, some would start when they are very young and some others would start when they are already grownups. What really matters is how we as teachers can make them have a good command of their second language. When teaching we have to take into account some factors such as the age of the learners, one-to-one teaching, group teaching, student personality, reactions and respond to stimuli. The better we know our students, the better we will interpret their reactions, needs and doubts. Creating rapport with students is essential, we need to have a good connection with them. We have to pay attention to their attitudes, for example, adults have to work, they might have a family and they may be tired when they arrive to their English class and perhaps they do not pay attention to what we say because of this. It is important to find out how our student is as a person and as a learner. It is necessary for us to know if he/she has got a previous experience. It is necessary for us to know if he/she has got a previous experience with English so as to adapt the classes to his/her needs. Personality factors have shown that extroverts are better language learners than introverts. Sometimes we find that students they have a frustration towards learning the language, if so we have to break these psychological barriers by showing him/her that there exist other modern methods that can help him/her achieve his/hers goals and that you will guide him/her from the very first day. There are other factors such as anxiety in language learning situations that can be also detrimental to successful learning. There are different ways of learning a second language. In my opinion, the best way is the immersion process. In this process you acquire the language through what it is called “the acquisition method” (a long-term subconscious process which is the result of being imposed to input). An example of this is to spend time living in an English speaking country or to attend a bilingual school in the case of children. If the acquisition method is not possible, there are other ways to learn a second language such as to take weekly classes with a communicative approach.

When learning a second language, our main reference is our teacher, and he/she is our model to imitate. People produce speech by imitating single words that are used by others. Repetition helps students recognize the structure of the utterances. A further step of the learning strategy is reached when students learn and continuously use short phrases that are attached to certain everyday life situations. And finally, the incorporation process appears when students use the words and short phrases in some sequence with elements already established. Before starting to speak about teaching aspects we have to start by testing our student’s level. Some teachers would ask the student to sit for an exam so as to check the learner’s command of L2. But I agree that we can guess the student’s level with a short conversation. Having graded the student teachers have to decide how to teach different levels. Teaching beginners is very different from teaching more advanced students, the main reason is that beginners do not understand L2. Speaking about complete beginners, I would support communication through the use of gesture, facial expression and action because this gives children and adults clues to the meaning of what they hear and so draws their attention to and helps them to become familiar with the sounds, rhythms and stress of the second language which are different from those of their first language. Speaking about in-class material I would provide pictures, audios and realia so students try to understand meanings without translating and they get used to thinking in English.  At this stage, the use of repetitions is very important, the instructions should be short and clear, I would give as many examples as needed to model them.  In order to engage them, I would use language in concrete situations related to SS interests. I would produce a slow speech, clear articulation and I would not use contractions. At this stage we see Interlanguage problems. These are learner’s errors caused by several different processes such as borrowing patterns from L1, expressing meanings using the words and grammar which are already known, but this starts to disappear when students start to have a better command of L2. Having this in mind, teachers can anticipate students’ problems and guide them to correctness whenever we detect that the student is trying to express more than he/she acquired. Speaking about advanced students, I can say that as they have a good command of L2 they feel confident and competent in many situations with peers and teachers. They almost never use L1 in class and they think in English. How would my teaching approach be with them? What I feel is that these students need is to polish their English in terms of accent and they are eager to learn new vocabulary such as English for specific purposes. It is a pleasure for me to teach advanced students because they are interested in speaking about current news just like a native speaker. So I would focus my attention on making them speak about different subjects, I would give them exercises to polish pronunciation and many role-playing activities so they can interact with peers in possible real situations. What in-class material would I use? I would provide them with internet articles, audios so they can listen to other accents, videos and pictures for them to speak and improve their fluency. I would also take reading activities for them to see vocabulary in context and I would drill in pronunciation.

How would I structure my classes?

  • Quick questions
  • Structure
  • Vocabulary
  • Topic
  • And an extra activity as “plan B”

These structure would be for all levels except for beginners that would have only structures and vocabulary activities.

Beginners: I would always do a revision of the previous class before introducing new issues and the introduction of new issues. In order to plan a syllabus I would first analyze the learner’s needs and goals together with the age, if the class is going to be a one to one class or within a group and I would also take into account the students’ personality, previous learning experience. How would I organize the syllabus for beginners? This depends on the age of the student and his/hers goals but if they were adults or adolescents I would organize the syllabus this way: 

 Syllabus example for beginners:     

  1. Greetings and simple instructions
  2. Days of the week
  3. The verb to have
  4. The verb to be
  5. Possessive adjectives
  6. Feelings (I am stressed)
  7. Habitual actions. Present Simple.
  8. Articles
  9. Family vocabulary
  10. Prepositions (In, at, on, under, up)
  11. Can/ Cannot
  12. The weather and seasons
  13. Verb to live
  14. Past Simple. Was and were.
  15. Past expressions with regular verbs (-ed)
  16. Past expressions with irregular verbs (go/have/get)
  17. There is/ There are + countable and uncountable nouns (a, an, some, any)
  18. There was/There were + countable and uncountable nouns (a, an, some, any)
  19. How much…? / How many…?
  20. Comparative and superlative adjectives
  21. Future time expressions. Be going to (plans)

Example of my lesson for beginners:

 

Lesson Plan

Objectives

Structure

Target Language

1

Greetings

Greetings, names, follow simple instructions

"Hello", "What's your name", "My name is...", "Goodbye", "Give me..." Open your books please.

Stand up, sit down, hands up, hands down, jump, run, turn around, pass, touch.

 

2

Days of the week

 

Learn the days of the week

Today is Monday.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

3

The verb to be

 

What’s your profession?

I am a lawyer

 

Professions

4

The verb to have

 

What do you have?

I have ten pencils

Numbers, letters

5

Possessive adjectives

 

Things that you possess.

My car is red.

 

Colors: blue, red, green, yellow…

6

Feelings

I am, He is, She is, They are, We are, You are.

I am stressed.

Sad, happy, angry, bored, stressed.

7

Present Simple

 

Habitual actions.

I usually wake up at 6 o’clock

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

8

Articles

 

The use of “The”

The train.

Transports

9

Family vocabulary

To learn family vocabulary using the verb to be.

My mother’s name is Susan

Mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, etc.

10

Prepositions

 

To learn positions

The cat is under the table.

In, at, on, under, up

11

Can/ Cannot

 

To express ability

I can buy an apartment

Known vocabulary.

12

The weather and seasons

To learn the weather and seasons

It’s sunny today. It’s October.

Sunny, cloudy, rainy, cold, hot. January, February, March..

13

Verb to live

 

I live in…You live in..

I live in London.

Places. Countries and cities.

14

Past Simple

 

The use of was and were

I was young

Young, old, fat, thin, lazy, a good student, etc.

15

Past expressions

The use of regular verbs (-ed)

She talked to Mary

Talk, ask, answer, call, clean, arrive.

16

Past expressions

 

The use of irregular verbs

Tom went to school

Go, have, get

17

There is/ There are

 

The use “There is/are”  in the present simple with countable and uncountable nouns

There is a beautiful girl

a, an, some, any

18

There was/ There were

 

The use of “There was/were” in the past simple with countable and uncountable nouns (a, an, some, any)

There was a piece of cake in the fridge.

a, an, some, any. Kitchen vocabulary.

19

How much…? / How many…?

 

To distinguish the use of how much and how many when speaking about countable and uncountable nouns.

How much juice do you drink?

How many friends do you have?

Food vocabulary

20

Comparative and superlative adjectives

Lean how to form them

Amy is smarter than Betty.

Tom is the oldest man in town.

Old, smart, happy, short, long.

21

Be going to

 

Future time expressions. Plans.

I am going to Barcelona this week-end.

Plan trips.

 

What would I do if I find a student with difficulties with L2? In every level sometimes there is student that has difficulties. What I would do is to pay more attention to him/her so he does not feel that he/she is left behind. I would give him/her easy things for him/her to feel confident. I would ask his/her peers to give me an answer a particular question so as to model him/her. I would give him/her positive reinforcement so he/she feels that he/she is making a progress regarding L2.

Classroom management and classroom discipline

When I speak about classroom management I refer to teaching to a group of students. To success in classroom management our classes have to be well prepared and engaging. If we do not prepare our classes students will be bored and we will start having discipline problems, so if we do not want this to happen we need to set good procedures and routines to help us teach in a good environment. The way the classroom is arranged also helps students to learn, we can take advantage of the different types of seating arrangements to carry out different types of activities. We can also change problematic students seating place in order to see if he/she works better seated in another place. Regarding the age of the students we can say that the main difference between teaching kids, teens and adults is the course content, if this is well adapted for the appropriate age we will have more chances to succeed. Apart from testing their command of L2 we have to take into account their personal needs and objectives in order to plan our lesson.

Motivation and goals. Student and Teacher. Different age students.

Motivation is the essential part of the language learning or acquiring process. Self-motivation is easier to find in adults and high school learners because they have special needs. They might need to study English for their jobs, to go to the university, to pass an exam, for a job interview, hope of financial reward, a possible future travel or just communicate with family members. On the contrary, young learners, have no motivation towards learning a new language so it is necessary for teacher to foster motivation in the classroom to encourage them and make them be successful in language learning. This can be achieved by making them enjoy the class. The teacher has to present the lessons in an engaging way so students are interested in the class, they pay attention, they do not get bored and they take advantage of it. If the class runs smooth, the teacher can easily reach hi/hers goal which is mainly seeing his/her student’s progress.

Teacher’s role, qualities and attitude in the classroom

In my opinion, a modern teacher has to be a combination of many professions. Among them we can enumerate the following: guide, assessor, psychologist, coach, etc. But what really matters are his/her special characteristics such as to be empathic, to be open-minded, cultural sensitive, dynamic, engaging, creative, organized, keeps eye contact with students to connect with them and to see if they understand, remember student’ and finally to be able to build a good rapport with students. I believe that these characteristics can make a teacher stand out from the rest of the teachers.

Error management

Errors are part of the learning process and provide teachers with important clues on how much a student has assimilated from L2 and guide us in the teaching process. If we are teaching to Spanish students we need to have in mind their most frequent errors such as pronunciation and grammar. Students come to our classes to learn, so we have to correct them but I think that we have to take into account the level of the student and what activity are you teaching. For example if a high level is practicing fluency through a topic activity and he/she goes on and on saying something incorrect, you have to stop him/her and correct him/her. I think that sometimes we have to balance how much we correct and which is the target of the activity. Even though, I also think that the way we correct students is related to our personality, the role the teacher is preforming inside the class, I prefer to correct with a happy face and in a friendly way so students feel that I care about them and if I correct something it is for their own benefit. I think that having a good rapport with them is essential for them to feel that they are going in the right direction. I believe that praising them and giving them positive reinforcement makes them feel comfortable with themselves, with the teacher and with the L2 learning process. In general terms, I would correct students when their mistakes are very important such as basic grammar rules that do not allow them to convey a message.

Methodology and Learning styles

There are plenty of teaching approaches that can be used to teach English as a second language. In my opinion, I would highly recommend the communicative approach because its objective is the use of the target language in real life communicative needs. Aside from this, we have to take into account that every individual is different and each student has different types of intelligence. So, regarding to class material we have to think about which kind of intelligence does a particular student has in order to provide him/her with the suitable kind of material. For example, if a student has a musical intelligence he/she will need music and audio material, if the student has a visual-spatial intelligence we would choose pictures, written signs and to hear things  books. Auditory style students need to hear things being said, recorded and sung; this is a good method to teach children. Kinesthetic students need to touch and move, they get information from their hands and body language, this style is also used for children because they learn most of the things singing and moving and sometimes we can introduce it in adults’ classes to make them a little bit more dynamic. Teaching methods vary from the ones that translate all (GTM) to the ones where translation is not allowed (Berlitz). From my point of view, my teaching method would be a combination of many. I believe that Berlitz and the audio-lingual methods are very complete because the focus on the four language areas but I would include some punctual translations from L2 to L1 when after trying to explain something in many ways using L2, the student still does not understand, we translate but in isolation not as a habit. From my experience, I can tell that if we speak to the students in L2 all the time, they will make an effort to try to understand us and their brain will start trying to think in L2. I would add to my teaching method some of the silent way method because I think that in some occasions you have to let students speak and take down their mistakes and after they finish speaking you can correct them in general. Students need time to think and I believe that I can apply this method sometime during my class but it would not be my style of teaching. Speaking about suggestopedia, I think that I could use this method for specific kind of people, in general, I believe that not all methods are good for all students so you can choose the one that suits best for your student. What I really like is the communicative approach because of its goals and also because of the use of authentic material so students learn from real live language.

Conclusion

My main concern is that students learn how to speak English. I would pay more attention to communicative activities to gain this. Listening activities are also important, students have to train their ears from the first moment. But when students have reached a certain command of the English language, I would start introducing reading comprehension activities and writing skills. At Oxbridge you taught me that “if a student knows how to speak, he /she will know how to write”, I agree with this in part. I think that knowing how to write in a proper way it is always necessary, we do not use the same words when we speak than when we write, in order to have a good writing command we need to learn punctuation, connectors, different styles of writing, different types of vocabulary, etc. and a good command of writing skills comes with lots of practice. As a teacher I like to transmit my passion for English to my students and try to make them feel comfortable. I like going into a class with a positive attitude and a smile so students relax and start having fun. If they enjoy they learn better. I like to create my own material. I like classes to be as real as possible so I would try to use real material such as newspapers, brochures, flight schedules, menus, etc. I like students to feel that they are learning something useful that can be a great tool for work but also for pleasure such as travelling. I believe that if we teach with passion and we are able to transmit our knowledge our students will be happy to learn with us.

Author: María Inés Donadio

Date: February 2015



Madrid

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