My teaching approach
My Teaching Method
There are several methods of teaching English to students who are learning the language for the first time, each with their own unique pros and cons. Depending on the teaching situation, setting, and resources available, any one of these English teaching methods could be right for you and your students
Before you teach English, you need to be aware of two crucial elements of learning which are:
The Goals & The Needs of students
Most of the human behavior is directed by goals and needs. Goals range from personal to professional, from being happy to doing well in school, from short-term to long-term and the list could go on and on. While needs can be objective and physical or subjective and psychological.Each student coming to the English class has a different need for learning English.
A banker attending a class of English will probably want to master the language in order to have more chances of promotion (which is a goal ) while his needs will be learning new business terminology that will allow him to deal with foreign clients if he was to be sent overseas to close business deals or even to exchange business emails with foreign clients
While a teenager might be learning English for the goal of getting to know more people internationally especially through new social media websites. While his needs would probably be a modern up to date English vocabulary and everyday conversation that would make him more capable of communicating with other people from around the world
When teaching English , you come across many Approaches and Methods of teaching, but , what is the difference between a method & an approach?
An approach is an idea or a concept, whereas a method is the procedures to turn that idea into reality in the classroom.
As for me, and throughout my career as a teacher , I have always adopted a method of teaching that reflected my personality, which others describe as fun and witty.
Teaching with fun and entertainment has always been my style when teaching English to different levels, as it is a well-known fact that a happy student will produce a good outcome from class, while a bored student who doesn’t like neither the class nor the teacher will be counting the seconds until the class is finished.
While my method implies lots of fun in class, it holds within its corners bits and pieces of the materials which the SS are supposed to be learning in class. an example of that would be a fill in the gap exercise with a given song that the SS have to listen to and fill in some missing words from that song, while the students are entertained and challenged listening to that song they may not know that the song was carefully chosen because it has lots of phrasal verbs , which is a subject that the SS had already been exposed to earlier in that class.
This exercise has combined both the learning and entertainment factors.
What I also tend to do in my classes is establish a friendly relationship with my SS especially the adults, where I always write notes about each student ( his likes , dislikes, hobbies) and I tend to use that in class , for example :
Fernando likes sleeping alot !
In class, we are tackling the subject of What It Feels Like , and the students have to talk about things that annoy them and what it feels like to be exposed to those kind of things, I would head to Fernando and tell him : Fernando , tell us what it feels like to be awakened at 7:00 am on a Sunday ? Then all the class would be laughing including Fernando because they are all familiar with the fact that Fernando loves sleeping so much.
My syllabus for the classes are usually comprised of ( In order )
Quick questions about what has been learned last class.
Out of context information ( where I give the students bits and pieces of info about English
grammar or vocabulary that is not in the book ( for the example : Antonyms , Synonyms , Homonyms, etc…)
Reading a text and answering questions related.
Listening and answering
Discussion ( higher levels )
A fun word game or a fill in the gap song or a scene from a movie with questions around it.
Roles in my classes & assessment
I have to always be a friend of my SS more than a teacher, especially with classes of adults, while maintaining the teacher-student respectful relation between me and my SS. I always try to put on a joke here and there to make the SS laugh and keep them waiting for more fun moments in class while they are still learning.
Sometimes I make fun of myself and always stay down to earth to make SS feel that I am not superior than them and that I just know more English than they do, and there may come a day when they could be as good as I am in English.
As for assessments in my classes, I usually do a weekly little test for my SS which includes all the new material that we have covered throughout the week.
And by the end of the course there will be another summative exam that will summarize what they have learned throughout the course.
Even though I have come up with my own method, but looking through all the different methods of English, I have borrowed some elements from many methods with which I have reached a level of satisfaction about my method as it includes concepts from many different well known and used methods .
Grammar Translation :
I use grammar translation usually when I am having SS who face so much difficulty learning a second language, so I try to translate the grammar into their language and indicate the similarities between the two languages ( If there are ). But nevertheless, I don’t take the role of the authority as a teacher , as I allow my SS to express their ideas after they have learned the rule and I try to communicate with them as much as possible.
Direct Method :
While this method came out as an anti-grammar translation method which uses no mother tongue at all in the teaching process , I find it quite useful because classroom instructions are conducted exclusively in the target language and only everyday vocabulary and sentences are taught during the initial phase; grammar, reading and writing are introduced in intermediate phase. I use this method with A2 and later levels.
Audio Lingual Method
This method relies on drills and repetitions, and what I do in my class using that method is that I present the correct model of a sentence and the students would have to repeat it. Then I continue by presenting new words for the students to sample in the same structure. In audio-lingualism, there is no explicit grammar instruction—everything is simply memorized in form. The idea is for the students to practice the particular construct until they can use it spontaneously.
And to be different and more creative sometimes, I would use the Suggestopedia method during my normal classes, I would use it for eample once a week to elaborate a complete idea or story to students
I should act as a real partner to the students, participating in the activities such as games and songs “naturally” and “genuinely.” The class would start with some relaxing music and with me narrating a story with its objects in my hand and I would act out as am speaking in order for the students to understand better.
Correcting my students :
The way I correct my students usually depends on their level .
But the one thing in common that I do with all my students , is that I type on a piece of paper during class all the errors that they have committed and by the end of each section of class I give them their errors and the correction to that error. This method in my opinion is more effective and gives the student time to realize his errors and even write them down as he wouldn’t be able to do that if I corrected him while he is speaking.
Nevertheless, some grave errors must be corrected also depending on the level, for example
A high intermediate who keeps saying he instead of she in a sentence (usually that is a lapse )
But the repetition of that lapse makes it an error and it must be corrected.
I also correct my students immediately with grammar if the mistake done is related to what we have been learning in class.
Seating arrangement & Group size
There are many different seating arrangements available to the teacher, and lessons can be enhanced by paying attention to them.
As for me, I prefer the seating arrangement where the teacher is centered.
In this arrangement, rows are the typical environment for a teacher centered classroom and/or individual learning. Students are aligned in such a way so they all face the front of the class. The teacher conducts the instruction from this ‘front’ position. This type of physical set-up is regarded by some as helping classroom management as the teacher can see all the students nearly all the time.
As for the ideal size of a group of students attending a class, I would say, the smaller the number the better results to be achieved individually with each student, as the teacher would be allowed to focus more on each student´s needs and adjust his teaching method and syllabus for that.
While in large classes, teachers may be obliged to use limited teaching methods that do not use the communicative approach which involves the teacher and students be in continuous communication and conversation throughout the class.
Is there an optimal age for second language acquisition? Everybody agrees that age is a crucial factor in language learning. However to which extent age is an important factor still remains an open question. A group of factors can influence language learning, such as biological factors, mother tongue, intelligence, learning surroundings, emotions, motivation and last but not least: the age factor.
While children learn a second language really fast because of the fact that their brain is like a sponge really flexible and not filled with concept and ideas about language usage.
This loss of the brain´s plasticity explains why adults may need more time and effort compared to children in second language learning.
As a conclusion , I think that teaching is a very challenging job, you have a great power in your hands to educate people and add another language to their CV , but you also have a huge responsibility on how to find the most efficient way to do that .
I have chosen the Funducation method as I have found it the most effective way to educate my students and make them love to learn English.