Giordano Franchetti





My teaching approach

 

 My teaching philosophy is based on the idea of integrating different theories and methodologies of learning L2.
My mission as a teacher is to ?rst understand the student needs and psychological learning aptitudes to then craft an ef?cient manner of stimulating his/her learning acquisition and strategy.
To optimise the productivity of lessons I assess the different learning aptitudes, motivations and needs of students using Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory and crafting an ideal VAK model; this would then reflect upon the way I construct the course.
As teacher I formatively and continuously assess the student obtaining with time a greater understanding of their individual developmental pace and achievement.


Since I was a toddler I went to a British school in Rome that placed teaching at a very high standard using innovative techniques of pedagogy.
I consider of great importance, in terms of teaching experience, my violin studies. Indeed, the violin study is a discipline of unique properties, in which the students’ formation is highly dependent on the teachers pedagogic ability; lessons are always one-to-one classes, which makes it highly interactive and intense for both the student and the teacher, where a mistake made is apparent as well as the initial action that caused the mistake in the ?rst place.
I have been teaching for the past ?ve years as a violin teacher applying what I had learnt from some of the greatest teachers in the violinist profession. It is generally recognised and accepted that great teachers are never the greatest violinists, because most of the latter have an innate ability with the instrument and therefore never had to struggle to obtain results, this would most certainly become detrimental in the longterm because of not having developed an articulated and comprehensive understanding of the tools needed to complete a task. I had to struggle immensely to reach the highest level of mastery of my instrument, this is because I didn't have innate imitative abilities with my instrument but overcoming such difficulties gave me the opportunity to understand in a profound manner how I could execute any task ahead and to analyse and make a prognosis problems occurring in the learning process.
Given this learning experience, I matured my own concept; I have found the cognitive approach a pioneering theory where the most ef?cient manner of learning is directly correlated to systematic patterns of acquisition and the strategy applied.  Practice is certainly an important aspect. By practice, as a teacher, I can only simulate and direct the proper patterns of acquisition and encourage for a greater input from the student in its own time, the manner is often directed depending on their real life needs and motivations for learning an L2 (wether it may be extrinsic or intrinsic it will depend on the students aptitudes and character).
Being of Italian mother language is of great advantage, as it shares strong etymological origins with Castilian; this enables me to understand in a profound manner how to expand a learners’ vocabulary through cognates, ?nding patterns for a faster language acquisition.

Students with a basic prior knowledge of the language manage often to grasp rules better after I have presented them with an example or a text, and from which they can deduce the theory and therefore ?nd both a positive affective factor for having arrived to the conclusion by themselves, I would therefore prefer using an inductive approach to most lessons.

For lower level learners who need a clear base to begin with, I would rather use a deductive approach, where rules and structure are presented ?rst, as I ?nd that learning a second language by imitating in the target language is important in order to create a solid structure. The structure of the course in this case would start prevalently with focusing translative from the known language to the target language. I ?nd that behaviourism and its branches (Audio-lingual, Direct & Series methods) would be bene?cial in this case, being a comprehensive structure composed of solid parameters.
The idea that we absorb an information thanks to repetition and automation is that one learns language by emitting an utterance, which is then reinforced by a response by another consequence.
If the consequence of the imitated behaviour is negative, one does not repeat it, as the repetition leads to habit formation.
It is evident the importance of targeting a correct response through repetition, and it must be also applied to other levels of L2 learning; by playing or teaching the violin I have experienced that anything which was studied in an incorrect way would result in making the improper manner of action much harder to correct. Nonetheless I believe the present needs for L2 are more inclined towards the communicative ?uency and the ability to employ such skills in real life context;
Aside from beginners (during which the syllabus would slowly opt towards a natural approach)  I would ideally apply the communicative method and other approaches (task and content based, TPR) thanks to its ability to create real-life social and functional situations in the classroom by guiding students toward communicative competence using only target language and where prevalence is given to speaking and listening than to writing and reading.  
 
Positive classroom language is important by communicating what I would like the student to perform rather than what I don’t want them to do.
Students will often look at the teacher as a role model and therefore I ?nd it imperative to be enthusiastic, cheerful and encouraging rather than criticising their experience as I ?nd that criticism should aim at explaining to students how they could do better. Nonetheless, I try as best as I can to avoid communicating low expectancies for success, as in my experience many teachers faulted in calling on weak students less often to answer questions, providing fewer clues to low achievers when they have dif?culties in answering. I recognise that past failures as for example low exam grades are often the main reason for students' lack of motivation and low self-esteem; I therefore emphasise to all students that I expect all students to be successful, regardless of previous performance and by showing them that I believe in their abilities and that my objective is to be there to help them.
Having said that, I always consider that if excessive praise is given to students for minor task achievements like answering a simple question it can be interpreted by students as an indication that the teacher has little con?dence in their abilities or of low expectancy of performance; Therefore, the language performance should be proportionate to the praise.
Students will feel demotivated and discouraged with excessive correction, especially from students that are experimenting with a new language.  Even though I wish to take an understanding and tolerant approach to teaching i feel it is important to establish a set of classroom rules and enforce them fairly and consistently with all students.
I partly rely on a buddy system approach, encouraging learners to help each other and share skills as this creates a sense of participation and fellowship with colleagues, contributing for positive affective factors. In my experience students who consider the learning of second language as a rewarding experience are less likely to suffer from anxiety and will have deeper motivations and willingness to actively participate.

 I am currently using ESA methodology to craft a lesson (similar to PPP but more elastic), which will vary (as well as the course syllabus) depending on the pro?ciency, needs, age, interests and motivation of the student.
I would generally structure a lesson in the following manner:

Time (mins)

Funtion

Student

Teacher

5 minutes - Warm up and revision of past lesson

Teacher asks SS about recent personal life events

Student will have the possibility to warm up using the language acquirements of previous lessons by using recent past experiences

Teacher can assess the progress made by a student and learn more about his personal life and frame of mind for the lesson.

2) 15 minutes -

Introduction to TL

Inviting functions with questions that present the theme of the lesson. Here the TL is presented and directed by a form of dialog

Student will get acquainted to the theme of the lesson by speaking of personal real life circumstances (using a deductive approach) or by understanding the set of rules for the TL (inductive approach)

Teacher presents target language by eliciting students through real life context examples in a deductive approach or through explaining rules of TL if the student is in early stages of language acquisition. This is the part where teacher talk is more relevant than in other stages.

3) 30 minutes (10

minutes per activity)

“Practice and

production” of TL

Target language is put to practice using real life context  examples,  which according to the level of students can either be very structured (activities that provide little possibility for error) to less-structured (as they master the material)

Student will put in practice the observations or rules acquired during the “presentation” phase through as much “student talk” as possible, with little focus on written activities.

Teacher will direct the activity depending on the  students’  L2 pro?ciency and the classroom size in order to maximise the time for each student to work on the activity.

4) 10 minutes

Wrap-up/lesson review

Discuss, review and concretise what has been learnt in the class, this can be done also by playing a game that concerns the TL (e.g.stop the bus)

Students will concretise and solidify what has been put to practice during the lesson preferably through entertaining stimuli.

Teacher will assess the outcome of the lesson and note down which information will have been better assimilated by each student and which weren't in order to cover it during the beginning of the next lesson

 



Barcelona

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