My teaching approach
are many different methods and approaches related to teaching English as second
language that haven’t answered the ultimate question among teachers:
What is the best teaching method?
This essay will examine the Oxbridge System
and its approach in relation to my own method. I will give a summary of some
points of view about its usefulness and finally describe my method with
examples and an activity slide.
I always wondered how a method would affect
the main issues that a teacher must take into account while conducting a class.
I believe those involve the students’ needs, the teacher’s approach and the
choice of some or all of the communicative skills (listening, speaking, reading
and writing) within one session and the syllabus.
The existence of different methods is
subjected to the fact that not all teachers and students think they should
cover these four skills with the same priority. As the needs can be different
in many cases there will always be a different choice of communicative skills.
For example, a student who wants to pass a grammar exam at a public school in
Spain would only use a grammar translation method; that might mean a lot of
reading, accurate writing and gap filling exercises. Or someone who only wants
to learn how to communicate when going on holiday (i.e. ordering a drink and
understanding how much it is), wouldn’t need to go farther from the Vaughan Method,
consisting of drilling and learning fixed phrases as quickly as possible.
In my view, Oxbridge System is useful to
learn English in a natural way, acquiring functions rather than memorizing
them, urging students to perform well at speaking and listening without studying
at home or making too much effort in mastering the language. It is fairly
communicative and transmits enough self-confidence to students to avoid shyness
when it comes to speaking (one of the main affective factors that stops
students from progressing). Each session is broken down into
Topic-Vocab-Structure activities, providing a good tool for the teacher to
deliver a decent rhythm and pace, and also to engage students. Also the range
of themes tackled at each session makes smoother and entertaining classes.
Teachers don’t speak Spanish in class, I
believe it encourages students to make an effort in not using their mother
tongue, pushes them to correct their own errors from different functions and
not from structure, makes them use less language transfer and be more accurate
when it comes to communicating those functions.
Different teachers give classes to the same
group of people so the system takes responsibility of its reputation, keeping
students from creating a personal bond with the teacher, focusing more
attention on the classes and the learning process. Depending on the type of
business a certain English school conducts, rotating teachers could be an advantage (i.e.:
students taking advantage of different accents or teachers going back to their
countries in the middle of the course creating no bonding from the start). For
a freelance teacher a close relationship with the student is much more needed.
The way the activities are conceived boosts
the students’ talking time: input on questions, eliciting, games, discussions,
debates, comments on pictures using target language, etc.
All these are Oxbridge System’s pros.
Listening and speaking are the objective here.
What about the needs of the students? Are
they all covered? What about the syllabus? Are the contents the right ones? Are
the teachers aware of these contents throughout the course year? Are the
topic-theme-vocab activities related to each other in any way? Is the so-called
“essential Target Language” well graded for each session?
Students’ needs have to adapt to the system
instead otherwise. Many of them don’t know how much importance writing has in
order to acquire a broader vocabulary and structure knowledge.
It is very important (always from my point of
view, of course) that the teacher know his/her students so they can be properly
assessed, and changing the teachers at all times doesn’t seem to be a good idea
to follow a whole course assessment. For a decent assessment it is necessary to
mentor their trajectory as closely as possible throughout the whole year along
with a well structured annual syllabus. That syllabus must be lied out by the
All that will enhance a much complete
progress assessment, crucial to fulfil all areas within students’ needs.
Alternatively, a way to stimulate students’ ears towards different accents
could be, changing the teacher only in one session per month or making use of
technology: audio and video.
As I only taught a few lessons at Oxbridge I
cannot assure whether is true or not but, it seems to me that all the course
content doesn’t have much relation when it comes to dividing the activities
into Topic-Vocab-Structure. One day I saw someone teaching the future simple to
a P2 and two days later the same group was learning the present simple.
Syllabus and contents should be well embedded
and structured throughout the year with a progressive intensity, and the
teacher must know it previous to the start of the course. That can facilitate
anticipation towards the students’ progress and could be great source of
alternatives. Therefore, when having a session in which the teacher has to
explain a structure such as the present perfect, it could be easier for him/her
to anticipate or pre-teach the present perfect continuous for the following
week so the students are ready to tackle a new challenge by the following class.
This also works well for the target language, sometimes it is not well graded (I
have seen P4 students that supposedly had to learn the word “catch”).
At Oxbridge the themes or topics of the
activities held in one session are not related to each other. In that way students
can pay more attention and don’t get bored or distracted. That would help
retain and acquire the target language much effectively for each segment of the
activities and definitely strengthen students’ learning strategies.
What is my method about?
I strongly believe that students’ needs must
be embraced by all communicative skills. In my view all communicative
competences must be acquired at the same time and at each session. A good
proportionality in the activities can meet all students’ needs and learning
goals at the same time.
In order to achieve that, all classes must follow
the same topic throughout the entire session.
Each skill will be approached within a time
no longer than a quarter of the whole class.
All communicative strategies will be met with
audiovisual resources such as video, audio, text reading and text reproduction.
Video and audio pieces cannot last more than a minute and a half each. That
would work for one hour class. For an hour and a half the teacher will add one
more competences of his/her choice.
Wrap ups won’t last more than five minutes because
all segments will be discussed at the end by answering questions asked by the
One activity equals to one communicative
skill; therefore there will be a listening activity, a writing activity, a
speaking activity and a reading activity.
There won’t be homework because in a whole class
each competence will covered by an activity: writing, listening, reading and
speaking. Each session will hold the target language related to the annual syllabus.
Each session will work around a “Task”; i.e.:
“Weather and Climate Change”. All skills will be approached around that topic. (See
All tasks can be used at different levels as
long as they are accordingly graded.
The syllabus will follow the guidance of the
European Common Frame and should be laid out yearly.
The teacher talking time will be enough to
direct the class in the right direction with questions, explanations and the
use of the audiovisual resources.
Concluding, my method is not better than any
other method. It can only help improve Oxbridge System.
Sometimes students tend to limit their needs
to a smaller number of skills. This method encourages them to achieve much more
and it tackles all receptive and productive skills at the same time with the
same intensity and rigour.
I believe that the more skills you can
acquire simultaneously, the better you can master a language towards
At the end of the day, people expects more
than learning how to order a pint at a pub…
DIDACTIC UNIT 1
Time: 1hr 30min
-Talk about extreme
- Talk about the
weather in extreme conditions and have conversations about the future of our planet
-Listening: An Australian weather forecast
(video) + Testimony of an English environmental activist (audio).
-Reading: extracts of blogs about extreme weather
conditions and the places where those happen.
-Speaking: What can you do to ease the climate
change impact within 20 years?
discourse, vocabulary, phonetics and spelling:
-Future perfect and future continuous
Adapted Magazine Articles
Listening : TV forecast + Testimonies
Spoken> Set questions
-Learn how to describe extreme weather conditions
and differentiate them from catastrophes .
-Learn about the climate change and its
-Use of correct weather descriptions .
-Enumerate hypothesis about the future.
-Listening for better understanding.
-Reading skills, use of future perfect through
speaking, writing skills.