My teaching approach
There are many approaches to teaching and these depend on many factors. Suffice it to say that as each student differs in his or her temperament, his (or her) motivation, needs and expectations differ from another or others. As a teacher, I should set my goals or objectives, bearing in mind my choice of teaching approach adopted, which necessarily have to be tailored to the needs, motivation and aspiration of my students individually and collectively. Consequently, my approach in meeting my set objectives is a function of satisfying the needs, aspirations, motives, goals and even the age of students involved.
As a good teacher I always aspire to be, the onus of responsibility rests upon me to appreciate the fact that each student has needs, aspirations and goals which are fundamental and ever-changing, which is peculiar to him. For instance, let us consider three students and their peculiar situations: Student A`s desire to learn English is primarily motivated by his desire to get a god job which will also help him in his job experience. Student B`s purpose of learning English could be for academic pursuit while Student C`s could be for the fun of it. For these reasons, need to set my topic, vocabulary and structures specifically tailored to the needs of each student aimed at satisfying their individual expectations.
It is important to note that the utility or preference of one learning technique or style to another or others is a function of its satisfaction of the needs, motivation and expectations of each student in question.
Suffice to say that there are many factors that influence learning styles which invariably affect learners` needs and goals. One of the most well-known models which categorizes different leaning styles is known as, and called, the VAK model. This model was developed by Neil Fleming who clamed that there are three different learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
Visual learners prefer learning by sight (pictures, visual aids, overhead slides, diagrams, handouts, etc.). Auditory learners best learn through listening (lectures, discussions, tapes, etc.). Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn via experience (moving, touching and doing, etc.). As a teacher, these models help me to prepare my class, addressing my students needs and also help my students, any students, to identify their preferred learning n order to focus on what benefits them most.
In is also essential to note that Howard Gardner propounded another model he called Multiple Intelligences Theory. He identified 9 different types of intelligences: 1. Logical/mathematical Intelligence - the possessors of this type of intelligence have the ability to use numbers effectively, to see abstract patterns, and to reason well; 2. Visual/Spatial Intelligence -- those who have this intelligence have the ability to orient oneself in the environment, create mental images, and a sensitivity to shape, size and color; 3. Body/ Kinesthetic intelligence - the possessors have the ability to use one`s body to express oneself and solve problems; 4. Musical/ Rhythmic Intelligence - possessors of this kind of intelligence have ability to recognize tonal patterns and a sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, melody; 5. Interpersonal Intelligence - those imbued with this intelligence have the ability to understand another`s feelings, moods, motivations and intentions; 6. Intrapersonal Intelligence - the carriers of this intelligence have the ability to understand oneself and to practice self-discipline; 7. Verbal/ linguistic intelligence - the possessors have the ability to use language effectively and creatively.
Having vividly explained Gardner`s theory, it is important to stress that learners should not be consigned to one type of intelligence or another but rather be "empowered" by the theory as a whole.
Also to be considered are other factors- both positive and negative - which influence learning experience like affective factors and personality . As a teacher, I need to learn how to make shy students feel comfortable and come out of their shelves or the stressed students relax and forget about their worries when they arrive to class. I need to know how t build rapport and cater for the needs of students under my care.
PREFERRED LESSON METHODOLOGIES:
As a good teacher I always aspire to be, I need to organize my lessons, ensuring that my students individually and collectively work through a structured set of activities, specifically designed to have them make steady progress and achieve all vital aspects of the syllabus (basic, functional, dialogue-based skills) and these form their early academic objectives. There is need to build a strong feeling of excitement and interest in my students to get them involved, motivating them through fun activities, generously offering genuine praises freely for successes achieved while creating "magic moments" that will induce further successes and motivations.
As the need arises, I would employ the use of cognate method which means word having the same origin as another word or language for instance: the English word "PRESIDENT" has its Spanish version as "PRESIDENTE", etc. This would enable student to have rich vocabulary and gain some level of fluency and mastery since the words in secondary language are similar to those in their native language.
I consider the use of modeling approach useful. The usefulness of this method enables me to demonstrate a structure before my student and prompt them to emulate in reproducing similar or identical structure. For instance, whiling pointing to myself, I might say: I am 35 years old. Then pointing to one student, I might enquire: How old are you? The student is expected to answer and then engaging another student or others with similar questions, etc.
Generic words are also considered important for my use. Generic words like; "this", "that", "those", "here", etc. For instance, have a bag, live in Spain, I go to school everyday, etc. With the combination of simple sentences, my usage of generic words would enable my students to get familiarized with certain words and phrases. Also important is the use of repetition to re-emphasize certain words and hence easier to get them internalized.
For P2 and P3, similar approaches would be used with necessary modification, for instance the use of short phrases, etc.
P4 and P5 are considered intermediary and relatively more advanced classes and for this reason, these classes are more or less interactive. They may be divided in groups or pairs with each engaging another or others in interactive discussions, conversations, debate, role-play, and generally practicing language proficiency.
I prefer teaching grammar if need be as it is one of the areas of language that supports language skills and this helps to improve accuracy.
Vocabulary Building is also considered very important but I need to start from simple ones to classroom stuffs and then to others like electronic gadgets etc. allowing students use them in making sentences. Of course the use of the Board is important.
It should be noted that phonetics is highly necessary as most students are of foreign origin and hence may likely have problems in pronunciations. Necessary corrections would be made as the need arises. Also spelling errors would be checked .
Good and quality research is very necessary for me as a good teacher to avail myself with since this enable me to appear before students well and better prepared hence giving me the much needed confidence.
The need for my periodic and continuous self-assessment cannot really be over-emphasized. This enables me to know and assess my successes and failures on my achievement of my lesson plan objectives. While upholding and improving on my successes, the areas I need to make amendments and improvements would be vigorously pursued. This includes the need, if be to change my style or teaching approach. While emulating the methods of some of my past teachers whose teaching style positively influence me because of their use of interactive and highly communicative approach while rejecting other teacher`s style of adopting highly traditional method of teaching. My goal is to create active and conducive atmosphere of learning.
The use of relevant materials - flash cards, visuals, projectors, etc. as the need arises, depending on the class involved are also considered important.
Allotment of Time:
The apportionment or allotment of time to specific aspect of phase of my lesson activities is of utmost importance as it would enable me to cover all the activities intended for the class at any particular time. For instance, a 45 minutes lesson might have the following allotment of time to each phase of activity thus: Revision of the last lesson might take abut 5 minutes, introduction of a new topic, and eliciting questions from students might take about10 minutes, different activities for the class, both in pairs/groups might take 25 minutes and wrap up 5 minutes.
The success of any teaching exercise depends on whether or not the teacher realizes his set objective and the students needs, and aspirations are simultaneously realized. It is then and only then that a good teacher will hit her heart on the chest in acknowledgement of a job well done.