University of Virginia, Bachelor of Arts, Spanish/Anthropology; Charlottesville, VA; May 2012
Concentrated study in Multicultural Education, Spanish Language and Culture, Globalization, and various world cultures.
University of Virginia Hispanic Studies Program; Semester Abroad, Valencia, Spain; Spring 2011
Concentrated study in Latin American/Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture
Institute for International Education of Students (IES); Semester Abroad, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Spring 2010
Concentrated study in Spanish Language and Cultural Icons as Global Commodities. Completed an internship in human rights.
Spanish Ministry of Education Language and Culture Assistant Program, English Language Assistant, Madrid, Spain; Oct. 2012-July 2016
-Taught English, Science, and North American Culture in bilingual classroom settings in two Spanish primary schools
-IDEOTUR Summer Camp, ESL Teacher and Camp Counselor, Escalona, Spain; July 2014
Developed ESL curriculum and conducted summer camp ESL courses and extracurricular activities for middle school aged students.
-Prior, Business Development Intern, Madrid, Spain; March 2015-June 2015
Fostered new client relationships and new business development for a smartphone app designed to facilitate order management for small businesses in Spain.
-University of Virginia Phonathon, Development Officer, Charlottesville, VA; November 2009-December 2011
Served as an educational fundraiser for a top tier US university.
-Hispanic Cultural Center of Amsterdam, Career Assistant and ESL Instructor, Amsterdam, Netherlands; May 2011-July 2011
Provided employment search coaching and ESL tutoring support to Spanish speaking immigrants living in The Netherlands.
-Africa y su Diaspora, Blog Creator and Recruiter, Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 2010-August 2010
Conducted research through interviews with activists in Argentina working on gender, cultures, and political issues concerning Afro-Argentineans.
My teaching approach
My inspiration for this approach to teaching is inspired by my most recent teaching experiences. I have four years of experience working in bilingual education here in Madrid, as both a primary language instructor as well as an English language assistant. I’ve worked in pre-school (infantil) and worked ages from 1st grade to 6th grade. One of the biggest challenges that I have observed when it comes to teaching Spanish youth English is lack of engagement. This is partially due to the fact that sometimes English is taught as a subject instead of as a mode of communication. To teach kids to extrapolate information or to play with their peers using the English is different from teaching them English simply as a subject, where they close their textbooks and stop engaging with the language.
The objective of this approach is to increase students’ (grades 1st, 2nd, and 3rd) communicative abilities in English. This means that by the end of the school year, students are able to naturally communicate with each other using both English and Spanish. Grades 1 and 2, are not expected to speak full-blown English after the school year. However, I am expecting the students to code switch, to some degree. This infers that students can ask each other questions and respond in English, as well as in Spanish, correctly without hesitation. It also means being able to watch a children’s TV program in English with their friends and understand the humor, and even laughing at it. These are ways in which they engage with the language.
Before even beginning to lesson plan for the entire year teacher needs consider the students’ needs, motivations, reasons for learning and affective factors. When it comes to looking at students’ needs, teacher must observe students with learning disabilities or learning differences. For students who struggle in Spanish, or their first language, to have to study in a second language can be quite overwhelming and difficult. Therefore, students with learning differences must be given assistance in class. Furthermore, instructors should know what are the mother tongues of the students. Students whose mother tongues are not Spanish or an Indo-European language may have difficulty learning English. Knowing the linguistic orientation of the students is very important in understanding what challenges a student may confront while learning.
Once the students’ needs have been assessed, teachers need to know the reasons the students are there in the class learning. Given the lower age group that this approach is aimed at, students are probably learning English because their parents want them to. However, there may be other, more personal reasons as to why they want to learn English. This really requires observing the prior knowledge that students may have about English. English may have relevance to their life because of a family member or close friend who speaks it. Therefore, English becomes something that they can interact with daily.
If for some reason the teacher observes that there is a lack of motivation on the part of the student it is the teacher’s job to instill motivation. This can involve associating English with fun, physical engagement, and laughter. For 3rd grade class presenting English as a way for them to meet peers in the U.S. or the U.K. can motivate them more. By instilling this motivating factor in the students they are more likely to think of English as a useful tool.
While looking at the factor of motivation, affective factors are important to know how lessons need to be adapted. The affective factors of opportunity, environment, and personality are all considered when developing lesson plans. This approach ensure that all students have the opportunity to speak. For this reason, this approach builds students’ confidence because when they successfully answer questions or do activities correctly, with encouragement, they connote English to positivity and success. Secondly, the environment is made for the students and by the students. The classroom environment is key in enhancing the learning experience for the students. The syllabus is situation-based, thus the interior design, objects and images of the classroom will reflect that specific unit or situation. For example, if a unit is titled At The Hospital, then the teacher, and/or the students can bring in images of doctors, nurses, hospital beds, a real stethoscope, etc. to decorate the class. Through the environment students learn vocabulary and constantly have that reinforced by seeing it on the classroom walls. Additionally, objects will be realia and this allows students to better conceptualize ideas by activating their four primary senses of touch, smell, taste, and hearing, consequently helping them to rely less on translation.
Teachers using this approach must also be very adaptive and ready to encounter all types of personalities. Students with more introverted personalities may find this learning style difficult to cope with. Just because the student isn’t jumping or repeating with the rest of the class doesn’t mean they aren’t learning. However, it does mean that teachers have to ensure that they are retaining information. While using this Total Physical Response, teachers can have the introverted student point to an object or image while calling its name to ensure they can atleast identify it.
My approach focuses on enhancing the students’ listening and speaking skills. These two skills coincide with my course objective which is to have students communicate amongst themselves in both English and Spanish. This approach also touches on primarily using the kinesthetic/body intelligence of the The Multiple Intelligences Theory which physically engages the students in learning process.
The language areas that are heavily practiced are grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Grammar will be taught inductively. In later years like 4th to 6th grade, students may begin learning specific names of grammar concepts because they will write and read more complex English. Knowing the specific rules will help older students perfect their writing and literacy skills. By having the students learn grammar inductively, from 1st until 3rd grade, they’ll gain an ear for what sounds “right” and what sounds “wrong,” much like a native speaker. This is due to the recurrence of grammar structures that they will both receive as comprehensible input and reproduce. Pronunciation will be taught by having students imitate sounds that the teacher does. Vocabulary will be learnt through using various principles of developing vocabulary.These techniques can range from relating vocabulary with a background to showing the relationship between words. For example, teaching kids similarities and differences between modes of transport like helicopter, airplane, train, truck, car, motorcycle, boat, etc., by looking at how they travel; on the ground, in water, or in the area.
The class structure is primarily based on two components: As mentioned earlier the situation-based syllabus, and the Total Physical Response teaching method. What attracted me to the Total Physical Response is its focus on action, engagement, and its diversity of realia in classroom materials. Using both authentic and adapted materials in class through TPR enhances learning and reduces the reliance on translation, because students can see the object and know the English word immediately.
What happens when students get answers wrong? Teachers attitude toward corrections should always be positive. The teachers can repeat the word or sentences correctly giving the student a chance to autocorrect. Instructors can also can ask other students in the room to correct a student, thus promoting peer-to-peer support, by empowering classmates to help each other. Looking at corrections also means that teachers have to reflect on what their role is in class. This approach is geared toward teachers occupying mainly a guiding role. The teacher is the head of the class without a doubt. The teacher’s role as the guide is to ensure that students are constantly active with the English language and the the students are enjoying themselves. For 3rd grade class, a bit more autonomy can given to those students. This means, although the teacher is the head guide in class, the teacher can allow students occasionally to take on that role for some class activities, because the students have matured more, than the 1st and 2nd graders. The students on the other hand occupy the role as the communicator. The students have to be very active in class. They’re standing, sitting, repeating, running, repeating, creating their own questions, projects, etc. The role as a communicator is very pertinent to their language learning.
The language of instruction is the target language but a neutral form of English. The idea is for students to be able to engage in natural conversation with each other at the end of the course. This means teaching English that they are more likely to come in contact with. This will primarily be English that they hear on kids TV shows or from story books.
My approach will be assessed in a formative way because is the best in gaining a holistic perspective on a student’s progress. What is excellent about the formative assessment is that the process of using this assessment opens doors for teachers to create student profiles, containing notes, videos, observations, and other information. This information can become cumulative which prepares the next teacher, in the following grade, to understand each student’s strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, it guides the current teacher in knowing which are successful and which are not.
This formative assessment would be carried out using interview style as the primary tool. As a teacher interviews the students, they can measure how good their basic macro skills of listening and speaking are. For example, if the students are able to understand and respond to basic questions. Can students note subtleties in details changed within questions? The interview tool allows teachers to check students’ pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary usage. With the lower years, a grader cannot expect that students demonstrate full accuracy and fluency. In the 1st grade and 2nd the students are more likely able to show fluency over accuracy, and the 3rd graders exhibit both.
-Age: 7 or 8
-Level: 2nd grade
-Time: Before mid-semester around mid-October
-Rapport building activity:
-Singing one of the unit songs. This song is related to cleaning the house. The students listen to the
-Warm: Review the kitchen vocabulary from the previous lesson. Choose students to come up to the class to show the kitchen vocabulary to the students. The head student will show the flash cards and will call on students to name the flashcards and do the gestures previously learned.
-Situation: At home
-Subtopic: In the bathroom
Activity 1: While students are standing, the teacher makes gestures related to activities done in the bath (i.e. coming my hair, brushing my teeth, bathing in the tube.) After the students learn the gestures then they see the vocabulary flash cards, I show them the vocabulary flash cards (http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/files/bathroom_flash.pdf) one by one. Then I do the gestures original gestures while highlighting the vocabulary flash card. The students mimic at second time.
-Structure: Describing activities people do in the bathroom
-Substructure: 1st and 2nd person present continuous and utilizing action verbs (i.e. I’m brushing my teeth, you’re brushing your teeth; I’m washing my face, you’re washing your face)
-Acitvity 2: Students will look at a comic storyboard of a scene of a young boy using different things in the bathroom. This will be accompanied with dialogue and audio instructions so that students can listen and identify the different actions that the boy is doing in the bathroom. After listening to the story, the teacher will select students to be actors. The students will have to repeat after the CD and act their part using the target vocabulary and grammar structure
-Activity 3: Students will draw, cut, and color big posters of different items in the bathroom (i.e. a tub, shower, toilet, etc), to be hung on the classroom walls This will provide students with constant visual reinforcement of the material they learn in class .
-Wrap-up: The teacher and the students gather in a circle. While the student clap their hands, the teeth will show a flash card for washing face. The first student will say: “I’m washing my face” (pointing to him or herself) and then point to another student saying, “_name of student” you’re washing your face.” Then the teacher pulls out a different flash card related to another action and we repeat the same grammar with all the students until we finish the flash cards.