ludovica zulli

ludovica zulli TEFL certificate ludovica zulli TEFL certificate


PROFILE


I am a very determined person, I love challenges and I am very open-minded. I had lived in the United Kingdom for almost 5 years training for a very tough profession as it is the one of the Performing Arts. I am used to work with lots of people of different cultural backgrounds and I am ready to embrace my teaching skills!


PROJECTS


I speak Italian, Spanish and basic French. I love skiing and photography. I am passionate about Italian folk dances, African dances and Yoga/ Acro Yoga. I love travelling and mixing with different cultures.


Oxbridge TEFL course-training (teaching adults of all levels) ISTD Modern Theatre Qualification (teaching kids between 4 and 11 years old)



Dancer, Singer, Actress with Performers College Company (Corringham SS178JT, UK) from 2012-2015


Trinity College National Diploma in Musical Theatre FCE IELTS ISTD Modern Theatre Qualification

My teaching approach

Teaching approach: Let’s speak!

When I was 11 years old, my parents sent me to a private English school in order to learn with more efficiency a second language.

I loved the environment of that school and the rapport I gradually built with my teachers. I did all my Cambridge exams but still at fifteen, I thought I didn’t know how to speak English properly. Only when I went to Australia for two months, and then I moved permanently to England, I became fluent and completely comfortable with English. Surely all the grammatical rules and the exams’ preparations had been valuable tools for my learning process, but only by emerging myself in the English culture and everyday life situations as a foreigner, I managed to master my years of study.

Having had this personal experience I strongly believe that English classes (and any other target language classes in general) need to be based on communication and exposure to real life situations.

Obviously, this depends on students’ needs. Actually, students might need to learn English to pass an exam, or for academic purposes, or again to acquire knowledge and vocabulary about a specific profession. In those cases, the approach might be slightly different.

This is why it is vital as a teacher to get to know as quickly as possible students’ needs, goals and motivations.

To find out those I would personally set a self-assessment test at the beginning of the course. In this way, not only a teacher can find out the level of the students, but also get to know a little bit about their characters (shy, confident, strong personality…) and with adequate questions the teacher can discover about students’ motivations and goals. Moreover, I would organize a chat at the beginning of my first lesson, either one-to-one with each student (if it is a small class) or in a group debate/ presentation.

Having assessed this, I could move on organizing the syllabus and lesson plans.

To do this I would have to set clear objectives for myself and make sure that they will be achievable considering the length of the course and the students’ levels.

Once I have my syllabus I can move on to decide which methodology I would like to use. As to that, in fact, I think that considering various factors, (age of the students and number of students in class, students’ objectives and course length) I might have to use a different method than a previous one. I don’t think there is a method that can be defined universally as the most adequate.

Personally, I identified my teaching strategies with two methods in particular:

The Direct Method and the Communicative Approach. I think the framework behind them is the most suitable for an interactive and communicative class.

Anyway, I would consider a sporadic use of L1 in the chance that the pace of the class is slowing down for a misunderstanding of a particular term or TT wants to explain cognates.

Moreover, even if I prefer the inductive approach, I would use the deductive one to teach fixed rules or to relate certain rules between L1 and L2. Especially with older beginners. Additionally, some students prefer a logical approach when learning grammar.

By the way, with young SS and beginners in general, I think a physical approach (from TPR) is quite effective as by associating meanings with movements the learner speeds up the acquisition process.

Also with beginners, I like the idea of using Cuisenaire Rods (from the Silent Way) as it is a very efficient way of teaching grammar without going through the common explanation.

I also think that, if possible, the class’ environment should be comfortable and inspiring (as stated in Suggestopedia) with posters, colours and decorations that make SS receptive and attentive and stimulate them.

The teacher has an active role. In my idea of good teaching, the teacher most importantly needs to build a rapport with students (learn quickly the names, be interested in students’ lives and emotions, be approachable), then needs to be a guide for students to direct and organize their knowledge. In addition, she needs to be a coach and facilitator, as we are emphasizing communicative activities and she needs to be a playmaker to make sure students are the real players of the game and they are the ones “scoring the goals”. Most importantly, she needs to be a “needs’ analyst”. Only by understanding and constantly questioning about your students’ needs you can be a good teacher.

Furthermore, I mustn’t forget to say that a good teacher needs to be knowledgeable and enthusiastic. As a teacher, you need a big, big pot of passion for what you are doing, not only to succeed as a person but also to inspire and motivate constantly your students. A teacher should also be funny and very patient. No one wants a teacher with a dull- serious face or a teacher that gets annoyed every time you make a mistake!

Ultimately, but not less important at all, a very good teacher needs to be a reflective one. Always take notes of his/her classes, keep a record of students’ progressions and maybe even record/ video the class to play it back later. It is vital to reflect after each class about what went right/ wrong and why. This allows us as teachers to improve, develop and adapt materials, change objectives and prevent problems and mistakes. The teaching profession is constantly evolving and developing and we must consider this fact to make sure we reach our students’ goals and objectives efficiently.

As for creating a syllabus, it is very important for a teacher to choose the best syllabus’ framework considering the factors already mentioned before.

Personally, I think the most effective syllabuses are the ones based on functions (Introducing yourself, greetings, complaining…), on situations (at the doctor, at the restaurant…) and content based (teach a subject e.g. History, maths…, using L2).

Actually, all of them are built around authentic contexts and situations, useful and real for students.

As said before, I tent to give emphasis on two macro skills in particular, speaking and listening. This, though, doesn’t mean that reading and writing are overlooked. Actually considering the students’ needs and the level of the class this can change completely.

For example when working with beginners, I strongly think that the emphasis needs to go on the writing skill first. Students will need to exercise the new vocab and structures learnt and will find beneficial to do this in a written way so that concepts are truly fixed and memorized. Having grown with an academic- based education, in fact, most students (adults in general) will find easier and logical to fix concepts by writing them and seeing them on paper before moving on with oral practice.

As for the micro skills, consequently, the ones that I like to focus on are pronunciation and vocab but always in conjunction with grammar. This doesn’t mean that grammar and spelling are not important but just that the approach to teach them would be inductive and implicit for students as again the aim is to make them speak and think in L2.

Here I attach a sample of a lesson plan of a 60 minutes class with eight students of intermediate level.

TIMING

TYPE OF ACTIVITY

DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY

OBJECTIVE(S)

5 minutes

Questions

SS time to ask questions about homework/ previous lesson. Teacher to ask questions about student lives.

  • For teacher to find out about students mood and assess their comprehension on previously taught materials
  • For students to focus on the class and condition the brains

6 minutes

Listening

Listen to three small situations ( 2 minutes each) with offering, requesting and inviting functions

  • Improve listening skills
  • Train the L2 thinking process

30 minutes (10 to prepare, 20 to perform)

Speaking

Create situations similar to the listening ones being worker and costumer and choosing between: pub, airport desks, car rental reception, expensive clothes shop

  • Express requests, invitations and offers

10 minutes ( 2 to prepare, 8 to perform)

Game activity

Write on a piece of paper 3 things you “would like” or “wouldn’t like” to do this summer…guess who wrote it!

  • Describe preferences with would like and wouldn’t like

5 minutes

Lesson review

Discuss as a whole group what SS have learnt in today’s class

  • For teacher to assess students’ understanding of the main concepts of the lesson
  • For students to reflect on their learning experience

1 to 2 minutes

Homework assignation

Write an example of email for a five star Hotel in Morocco asking for a room with all the possible facilities! (using “I would like”, “I’d rather”, “I would prefer” and negative forms)

  • Students to use materials learnt in today’s lesson and put it into practice

 

Together with teaching, as educators we have to assess and evaluate as well. Considering my personal experience, I don’t recommend summative assessments.

They are a formal way of assessing, often assessed by others and normally fixed- point based. Yes, it is true that with a summative assessment, students can fully prepare themselves in advance; but on the other hand, factors like pressure and anxiety play a massive role with this method and the grade is based on a singular day experience rather than considering the whole learning process and experience of the student. Therefore, they can be quite demotivating and unreliable. Also most of the time the tests are created by an institution and there is no consideration of the fact that different students might succeed in different types of tests. Someone would find a written test the best way to express his/her knowledge, others would find an oral test, or a physical one, or again a creative one or an audio based one the best.

The right way for me of assessing students is by using the formative assessment approach, possibly in a continuous way, and using peers assessments and self- assessments.

Continuous because in this way the teacher always has a record of the students’ progresses and can day by day adapt- develop the lesson plan and activities. Also, showing at the end of a course the result of a continuous assessment will make students aware of their improvements and what they still need to master and will give them an idea of how the teacher had been evaluating them during the entire course. Self- assessment, in addiction is an implicit way of getting feedbacks for a teacher about the students’ knowledge. In addition, this is a perfect way for students to find out about their strengths and weaknesses in what they have learnt but also about them as individual. Can they honestly evaluate themselves being fair? Do they know their limits? Can they recognize their success? With self- assessment, a teacher helps developing students’ responsibility and independence.

Finally, yet importantly, peers assessment. This is a very valuable way to create a rapport between students and again it is a way of developing responsibility in each individual. The teacher can indirectly assess both who is evaluating and who is being evaluated. In fact, to assess, a student will have to have a good knowledge of the materials learnt.

On the other hand, tough, I wouldn’t use this method too much as it also has disadvantages. First, it requires a lot of responsibility for younger learners, also it can create the opposite effect of building rapport considering that students might judge their peers using personal circumstances (I like her/him, I don’t like her/him).

This is a very tough and challenging profession but it is also very rewarding and never boring! I am happy to be an English teacher and I strongly hope to inspire my students as much as some of my teachers had inspired me in my life.

 

 



Madrid

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