My teaching approach
An introduction to the fundamental approach
The fundamental approach is an incredibly inductive approach, it is a combination of 3 approaches and they are as follows the communicative approach, total physical response approach and the grammar translation approach. The aspects I would be taking from these methods are of the total immersion into target language. From the communicative approach I would use the whole model. From the total physical response method I would take the fun aspects of acting out the words and actions for students to see and hear how the target language is used, finally from the grammar translation method I would apply the practice of the written and reading words, structures and functions. Although it can be boring it is necessary for the students to not only understand the spoken target language, but to also be able to understand the functions fully and express them selves with the written words and have the ability to read. The fundamental method would grow and change with the students. Starting very much inductive it would evolve to include both inductive and deductive teaching. I believe by taking the best of these three methods it will help students learn English in the most natural and fun way possible. This in itself would help motivate and encourage students and make them want to learn even if their motivation is extrinsic, it would end being intrinsic giving students the best start in the next step in education. However fun, I am aware there would be disadvantages to the fundamental approach that being initially the students may take a little longer to get to grips with the schooling system and the target language, nevertheless children from 4 years are generally very good at adapting to new situations. The reason I have created this method is mainly because I believe young students would benefit from it. These students tend to be kinaesthetic, musical and spatial learners. I believe it would be best suited for them and their needs.
The goal of the school itself is to have all students understand all aspects of English language and grammar on reaching twelve years old. It would be for students aged four to twelve years. The combination would initially start comprising of communicative and total physical response. When students reach eight years this is when we would begin to introduce grammar translation into the daily classes, although it would be more to monitor learning and an aid to grade the levels of English students have and to improve on prior knowledge. I strongly believe that if the students have been fully immersed into the target language up until this point the grammar translation method would be more affective as students would completely understand spoken English, therefore giving them more confidence, enthusiasm and understanding of how English is structured giving them motivation from within.
The role of the teacher is to be an authority to facilitate the learning of students, to guide and correct on the spot using positive reinforcement and encouragement. To help students understand the target language and to ensure students build confidence, making them feel that they are free to make mistakes, as it is important for them to be aware it is part of the learning process. The role of the student is clear, their role is to learn, understand and use the target language. The main objective is for all students to be able to speak, listen, read, write and to understand all aspects of English language and grammar before they leave the school, most importantly to do it with fun enthusiasm and confidence.
Syllabus for students four to twelve years of age would include all of the normal lessons that any other school would have such as math, science, history, geography, physical education, Spanish language, Spanish literature and of course English language and English literature. The thing that sets it apart from the rest is that all of the classes would be taught in English preferably by a native speaker, however this may not always be the case. All Spanish lessons would be taught in the student’s mother tongue. However for the purpose of this essay we will focus only on the English lessons.
Syllabus for students four to eight years of age would be situation and function based. Students would be learning more towards the student’s freedom with listening and speaking, and it will include:
- Ability to identify 123’s ABC’s
- Ability to express needs and wants
- Ability to express feelings and ideas
- Structure of words (spoken only through speaking, playing, instuction and reading story’s)
- Understanding requests and questions
- Work on pronunciation (through general speaking and correction)
- To start the process of learning to write
- To understand verbs, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives (however the student may not be able to identify these they will however know them)
An example class between ages four to eight years:
Activity name: What is it called and where is it?
Teacher would use various objects or toys and speak with the students about what it is and what it is used for, teacher would then hide the object and students talk about where it could be. Students could then hide the object themselves and discuss where it could be. This activity could also be used to emphasis prepositions it would also help students expand vocabulary.
Materials for this class/activity could include: toys such as animal’s figurines, usual house hold objects. Also visual aid’s with these objects so students can see where they would be used in the home.
Syllabus for students aged eight to twelve years would again be sitiuation and function and skill based. We would start to introduce grammar translation and less of the total physical response approach. Again students will know the following as they can, and have used them through speaking and listening. Grammar translation is used to apply the rules so that the students fully understand the following:
- Ability to analys and break down sentences
- Ability to understand tenses aspects
- Ability to understand phrasal verbs
- More detailed look at vocabulary
- Ability to identify nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives
- Ability to identify conjunctions, prepositions
- Work on punctuation and spelling
An example class/activity for ages eight to twelve years:
Activities relating to vocabulary:
Using globes or maps students can identify where cities, countries, capitals are and their locations, after they can discuss with themselves and or with the teacher about how they could get from one place to another. Talk about places they have or have not visited. Students would write a hypothetical scenario about a previous travel. This activity would improve existing vocabulary and give students an opportunity to practice tenses while improving their writing skills.
Materials for example class/activity would include: Globes, map and pens paper.
I believe that the fundamental method would strongly benefit these students. The age group that will attend this school is most suited to the fun yet controlled structure. The atmosphere would be relaxed, students will in theory be enthusiastic with a strong will to learn. They are immersed into the target language from day one, they would pick up things such as phrasal verbs, conditionals and tenses much more naturally without realising. This would make the grammatical aspect of learning English later much easier. The students will feel confident, they will enjoy learning, which in my opinion will create the best learning experience. The fundamental approach evolves with the students, it begins very inductive and becomes more deductive later, as a tool to confirm or gauge student’s levels and understanding of the target language. As mentioned before the benefit of this approach is that it encourages a natural desire to learn in students, they are able to acquire the target language through speaking and listening, to later put it into reading, writing and completely understand the rules of grammar with only speaking and listening in the early stages, then at later stages we would start to include grammar translation once the students have mastered the spoken word. Initially the main objective is to have all students speaking English comfortably and with confidence. As a result make the grammar translation aspect much easier and students will have much more understanding which gives them the desire and enjoyment in learning and have the ability to express rules of grammar with ease. This approach is fun, it is fundamental it lets students be free with the language yet be corrected where necessary, however I do know that there may be a delay with students initially picking up the target language, they may also be delayed in the reading and writing aspects. Nevertheless the fundamental approach is in my opinion an incredibly fun way of learning. The fundamental approach has more advantages than disadvantages.