My teaching approach
Essay on how I would approach teaching English
In the following, I will give a brief outline on how I would approach teaching English if a division of the students in age groups were as follows:
2) teenagers, and
As computers, the internet and technology in relation thereto has become an important part of many peoples life, and as I believe teaching using ordinary textbooks in the future will go out of use, I would use the internet as my “teaching platform”. This would entail that all teaching materiel would be placed on the internet so it would be easy assessable to me and, in accordance with my choice, to the students. Furthermore, all communication with students, which does not take place in the classroom, would take place through the designated web site. This would be in line with that teaching English classes online rapidly becomes more and more common. The webpage should therefore facilitate the possibility of using the teaching material onsite via a computer and a possibility to use it for online teaching.
The aim of the teaching material and the teaching should be teaching all the four different language skills:
c) reading and
The teaching material should take into account that at least some students seem to acquire a new language with more ease using visual aids while other students seem to benefit from writing down notes, listening to English speech and/or being physical active. The reason why I would teach all different language skills is that communication nowadays seems to involve both written correspondence, e.g. in the form of e-mails and via short message system (“sms”), as well as oral correspondence, e.g. telephone calls and physical meetings. I especially believe that to be true in respect of the age group: teenagers and adults. If an adult is working in a multinational company the language used within the group might very well be English, or one or more of the company’s business partners might correspond using English. As for teenagers, they might have friends or family that speak English.
Seen in a bigger picture the main objective of the various age groups learning English would be to use it, now or at a later stage, in a professional working career. It might be that the immediate goal is to pass an exam or do well at a job interview. However, the long-term goal would most often be to use English in relation to an occupation.
To the greatest extent possible, the execution of the teaching and the preparation of the teaching material and the syllabus should accommodate the needs of the students. This should be the case whether that need would be to pass an exam, where the student e.g. should be able to use a verb in its different tenses, or to succeed getting a job in a multinational company. In addition, the teaching material and the teaching should be prepared and carried out in a fashion that motivates the students to learn English. The achievement of the latter would entail enthusiastic teaching using teaching material, which deals with topics etc., which have the student’s interest, e.g. material tailored to a particular age group or to a particular business area. In respect of teenagers and adult learners at an intermediate or advanced level, part of the teaching material might e.g. consist of recent news articles, which are likely to catch the student’s interest. Topics from news articles would then be the framework to build a class, e.g.:
a) an exercise where vocabulary related to the news topic is taught,
b) a grammar exercise looking at structures and the like where the student will be able to associate this exercise with the news topic,
c) a reading exercise (the news article),
d) a conversational exercise,
In line with the aforementioned an example of the content of a class could be:
a) make the students try to come up with vocabulary related to the weather and provide the students with vocabulary related to the weather,
b) practice one or more of the tenses in sentences using a verb which is commonly used when one talks about the weather,
c) ask the students to read a news article that deals with record high temperatures in Madrid,
d) let the students, either orally or in writing and orally summarize the content of the article, and
e) on the basis of the article have the students discuss the impact of these high temperatures, hereunder e.g. whether their study and/or work capacity are affected by extreme weather conditions, and whether they think we as humans have an effect on extreme weather conditions.
The structure of the courses, the teaching and teaching material would take into consideration that there are different age groups and different levels of students, hereunder:
- beginner level,
- intermediary level, and
- advanced level.
As for teaching methodology, I would be teaching in a manner, which would use principles and/or techniques from various teaching approaches and methods. To my mind, the best way to learn a language is to practice the language in a country from where it is has its origin. Therefore, my overall emphasis would be on communication having in mind the communication approach, i.e. an approach that talks in favour of learning through interacting in English in settings, which try to remind the students of real life situations. This would be independent on what particular skills was being taught in class and independent on which language area was being taught, i.e. independent on whether part or a full class has focus on:
c) pronunciation or
As mentioned earlier I believe that the students will have an interest in learning all the various language skills why I also think it will be appropriate to teach all the above-mentioned language areas as these are important to master the different language skills. There would be a strong emphasis on making sure that the students participate actively in class and on that the teaching reminds the student about real life situations, e.g. if a student is an employee of a company a class might focus on having a conference call in English. My role as a teacher would therefore be to cover the different language skills and language areas in a manner where the students actively participate. The students role on the other hand would be to participate in the various activities and if needed to do some homework. To ask the students to do homework could be relevant if they are going to pass an exam. If the students should pass an exam, I might very well do a trial-exam with the students to make them feel comfortable with the type of exam and in order for them to gain practice within the area the exam will cover.
When teaching students at a beginner level I would make more use of repetitive exercises than when teaching intermediary and advances level students. This in order for them to get a basic familiarity with the English language. In addition, I would generally make use of graded language so that the students understand what goes on in class. In general I would try to make the students smile, i.e. have a good time during class. When teaching I would give attention to that there should be an element of playfulness in class. This to assure that the students are not bored and thereby do not loss their motivation and their focus on learning. In relation to beginners and children, I would especially be attentive as to their use of interlanguage.
The focus in class would more be on correcting errors when carrying out vocabulary and grammar exercises than when performing conversational exercises. The reason for this being that the aim of conversational exercises is to make the student use the English language as freely as possible.
Having the suggestopedia approach in mind, which addresses the class environment influence on the ability to learn, I would try to make the students feel as comfortable as possible. I would neither use music or use particular relaxing furniture or the like, however, make sure that students feel relaxed and at ease with themselves. Complementing the students when they perform well and treating the students with respect will usually create a good and relaxed atmosphere. To summarize my approach in this respect I would keep an eye on all possible affective factors, which could influence the class in a positive or negative way. I would try to reinforce the positive factors and reduce or eliminate the negative ones.
In accordance with the direct method, which do not use the student’s native language, I would only use the target language while teaching as opposed to letting the students communicate in their mother tongue. In my opinion, this usually strengthens the learning as the students start to think and speak using the English language.
I would asses learning outcomes on a continues basis observing how the students perform in class, and would in relation to students who need to pass an exam give special attention to possible homework and trial-exam(s). Furthermore, I would ask the students to make a self-assessment whereby they should give feedback to me on how they find the teaching and what they find to be possible language weaknesses they might have. The reason for performing assessment on continues basis would be to see if adjustment to the performance of the class would improve the students learning. Special attention on homework and a possible trial-exam would shed light on language areas and skills that might require more attention in class. The self-assessment would assist me in making improvement to the performance of the class and would contribute to my evaluation on whether my ongoing observations of the class are correct or not.