My teaching approach
Approach to teaching a language
Teaching could be separated into 3 main
parts of teaching which includes approach, method and technique. Teaching
approach could be often looked at as a personal philosophy of teaching.
Teaching method is considered to be a practical realization of approach. For
example, in Oxbridge, main teaching methods include structure, vocabulary and
topic activities. Technique that will be used when teaching also has to be
considered, which is the way it is taught, which includes little sneaky tricks
we know and use in the classroom, e.g. role plays, games, etc.
Since the beginning of the teaching times,
a lot of methods and approaches have been created in order to acquire the best
outcome. I would like to discuss and analyse the main 6 methods and then
combine them in order to create my own approach of teaching a language.
method, which is a fast and effective way of
teaching, focuses on specific structure and content. This method ensures that
students are listening to English all the time and speaking as much as
possible. Questions asked include target language and also material already
seen in class. Callan method lessons are fast as teacher delivers questions at
slightly above natural conversation speed. This ensures that students quickly
learn to understand English without translating it, thinking in English from
the start. Lexical/grammatical syllabus ensures that students improve
vocabulary and grammar step by step, always expanding their knowledge of the language.
Maximized student involvement are the main reasons for its success. This
approach is very fun, engaging and effective.
translation method is derived from the classical
method of teaching Greek and Latin. Students learn grammatical rules and then
apply them by translating sentences between the native and target language. The
required translation is word for word, which is not very practical. The goals
of this method include enabling students to read and translate literature and
to further their general intellectual development. This method has no
theoretical basis and was rejected by scholars.
method, contrasts with previously discussed
grammar-translation method. It encourages learners to use as much target
language as possible rather than using the native language. This approach
focuses on improving oral skills, through many methods and techniques. Teaching
structure and vocabulary, using visual materials, question-answer patterns are
all the reasons why this approach has been very commonly used. It engages
students through repetitive patterns and direct questions.
is when the teacher introduces grammar and lexis of the content of the text,
which is often provided in both languages, native and target, which means that
meaning is conveyed through the mother tongue. Sometimes, the text is read and
acted out by the teacher, with classical music in the background, while
students relax and listen. This method aims at teaching material in a playful
way rather than analysing lexis and grammar in a direct manner. Many believe
this approach lacks scientific evidence and is criticized by many.
Total physical response is another approach, based on coordination of
language and physical movement. It is based on vocabulary rather than grammar
and structure. Commands are given to learners in target language, while
students are expected to respond with whole-body actions. This method is
popular within beginners and young students, as it involves a lot of movement
and acting out.
The silent way, is the last approach I would like to discuss.
This method focuses on learners autonomy and active student participation,
using silence as a tool to achieve this. A mixture of silence and gestures are
used to focus students attention, to obtain response and to encourage them to
correct their own errors. It uses structural syllabus and teaches a small
number of functional and versatile words. This method continues to be
influential, and focuses on the area of pronunciation.
and methods that already exist, I will create my own approach with an aim of
making it as effective as possible when learning a language.
target language through many different techniques and methods is the main goal
of my approach. As a teacher, I believe teaching should be fun, engaging and
effective. In my opinion, what matters the most, is how the target material is
presented to the students, and how it is explained. Practicing is also very
important, and has to be effective and engaging, otherwise it is easy for
students to get bored.
important to figure out why a student is learning the language. Motivation and
affective factors are key factors that affect the attitude of learner toward
the target language. For example, if a person is learning a language because
their boss is making them do so for work related reasons, it might not be as
effective as someone wanting to learn a language for personal reasons such as
for example meeting someone they like, and not being able to communicate
properly. Therefore I believe that motivation and attitude towards target
language is really important.
skills which are speaking, listening, reading and writing are all very
important when learning a language. Although I believe every student should be
evaluated individually so that the teacher knows what skills to focus on the
most. However, this can only be applied in
private/small classes, as it would be hard to focus on everyone’s needs in a
class with a big number of students. Therefore in my opinion the main language
skills that should help everyone is speaking and listening, as being able to
communicate in real life is more important than writing or reading in my
vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling are all very important language areas.
It is hard to single out the most important as grammar and vocabulary are
necessary to at least have a basic understanding of the language. I think it
depends on how the student wants to use the target language. For example, a
person is required to answer the phone and communicate with clients in target
language, of course grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation are very important,
but if the person is required to write emails in a target language, I would
focus more on spelling rather than pronunciation. Therefore I think the reason
for learning should be evaluated before deciding what areas to focus on.
are very important, and if not completed right, it can affect the process of
learning (the way students understand, learn and take in (new) material
presented in class). For me, the most important role is that by the time the
class is over, students understand the function, structure and form of the new
material. It is vital to make sure students have no doubts on how and when to
use a new word/phrase. It is also important that the teacher gives equal
attention to all students. Teaching involves a lot of roles which include
planning, giving instructions, interacting with students, preparing material
and so on.
important that students carry out their roles in the classroom and outside,
when going over the material covered. They should be active participants in
their education to ensure best outcome. Contributing to class discussions,
helping their peers, asking questions, expressing ideas, etc. are all very
important factors in the learning process. It is also very important that
students feel motivated to learn and are mentally prepared to take in new
information and work on their own (assignments, revision, etc.)
should always be the one that you are teaching, in this case English.
Sometimes, of course there are exceptions and you have to explain certain
things in learners native language (if possible), for example the level of
students English is too low to understand the concept teacher is trying to
explain. It is very important that the teachers grade their own language, and
make sure that the words/verbs/instructions they are using are not too hard to
understand for the students they are teaching. Also, it is necessary to
understand the difference of comprehension between different level students
(e.g. P1-P5). For us, native English speakers, the language seems simple and we
are not aware of hard words/phrases/etc., whereas for English learners, we have
to remember that they are only learning the language and it is vital to grade
our language according to the different levels (P1-P5). Not grading your
language could cause confusion and upset amongst the students. It is important
to try and think of an easiest way to explain various concepts. Visual aids and
hand gestures are also very important.
We are all
used to assessment in schools, colleges, universities, etc., and I think that’s
why most people have such negative outlook on education, even when it comes to
studying for a subject we actually like. Therefore, in my opinion it depends on
the student and the motivation behind the reason of learning English, whether
they should be assessed or not. If the student is learning English for personal
reasons, I believe they should not be assessed as they shouldn’t feel pressured
to learn and study. If the student is facing a deadline, (for example they are
moving to a different country and want to be at a certain level by the certain
time), I believe that assesment might help to achieve their goals, because
sometimes we all need to be pushed out of our comfort zone in order to achieve
and improve even more.
If I had to
create a 10 week syllabus for a beginner, with my current understanding of
teaching, this is what it would look like:
Week 1: Common useful vocab (name, surname, date of birth,
colours, countries, nationalities, what, where.., etc.
Week 2: Introduction of simple important verbs (to do, to
go, to be, to do, etc.)
Making simple sentences with
vocab seen in week 1. (what is your name ? where are you from? I go to the
cinema. I am a girl, etc.)
Introducing present simple.
Week 3: Introducing more useful verbs (eg. To eat, to like,
to want, to play). Introducing present continuous.
Week 4: Introducing past simple + future simple(covering
regular and irregular verbs).
Week 5: Conditional tense
Week 6: Introducing
past continuous + future continuous.
Week 7: Introducing modal verbs + adverbs + adverbs of frequency
Week 8: Idioms
Week 9: Perfect continuous
Week 10: Perfect simple
I would use a
combination of all methods discussed above, but I mostly prefer Callan and
direct methods of teaching. My classes would be fun and conversation based,
while covering important grammar and vocabulary as we go on. Visual aids,
role-plays, texts, videos, etc. are absolutely essential in order to make
learning fun and effective. Pronunciation is also another very important aspect
of learning a language, which can be practiced by for example grouping similar
words that sound the same.