My teaching approach
As a Spanish language teacher (U.S.) and a former ESL teacher (Madrid), I have seen many different teaching styles and over the years, I've adopted my own. My niche is conversational Spanish. It is very important to get the students to be comfortable with the instructor from the beginning of the course. This will enable a flow between student(s) and teacher, which makes for a successful experience for the students. My teaching style is structured, yet relaxed to allow the students (especially adults) to feel comfortable enough that they forget about the outside world just for the time they're in class. I have found that my attitutde and my energy level transmits to my students, so my energy is always upbeat, no matter what kind of day I've had prior to class. I see in their faces when they come to class after a long day at work, they're tired and sometimes find it difficult to switch from English to Spanish. That's where my interpersonal skills come into play. No matter the level, I always stick to the target language, just at different paces (i.e., Beginner levels my pace is much slower).
Attitude is key in everything I do. Therefore, if my students see that at the end of the day, they've got an energetic teacher in front of them, it changes their moods almost instantaneously! So, I'm always watching my attitude to ensure that it complies with my actions in the classroom. My syllabi are structured around the student's linguistic competencies. So, if I am teaching an Intermediate or Advanced level group, I bring in more challenging materials, videos, conversational topics for them. I have found that my students want to be pushed to a higher level and they enjoy when I challenge them mentally. They then prove to themselves that they are capable of speaking Spanish within a two to three week period (the lower levels Beginner to Basic tend to find this hard to believe, but once the first class is over, I've got them say goodbye, see you next week in Spanish). That is such an accomplishment for them because the adult learner is filled with self-doubt, sometimes thinking they'll only learn how to say their names, etc).
In all of my classes, I mix in videos which exposes them to different accents in Spanish.
Languages are acquired from learning from our parents and then in school, so our first experience with our native language comes from our home environment.