I first gained teaching experience last year, working as a teaching assistant, to a schools outreach programme in Sevilla. In February of this year, I completed the OxbridgeTEFL qualification.
Intern at Ecologistas En Acción Sevilla September to December 2016 Social Enterprise Centro de Ecología Social Germinal Parque, Sevilla
Ecologistas en Acción is an ecologically focused co-operative federation. I have interned with the Ecologistas en Acción branch in Seville. The remit of this internship was quite broad. My day to day responsibilities included tending to the organisation's allotments in municipal parks. On a weekly basis, I was also tasked with running a schools outreach programme, where, I would visit local schools and teach children (7-13) how to tend to a plots and talk about sustainability and growing food. I also carried out office work such as writing sustainability reports.
Supervisor At Children’s Play Centre June to August 2016
Child Care Manor West, Tralee, Co. Kerry
Duties involved in this position included supervising and caring for children at play, cleaning play frames and dealing with customer enquiries. During this time I have gained valuable insights as to issues of health and safety and transferrable customer service skills.
Worker at Roma Street Parkland Feb. to June 2015
Gardening and Landscaping Parkland Blvd, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Duties included: maintaining flower beds and landscaping. Roma street parkland is the biggest tropical parkland in the world. During this time I gained practical experience in relation to outdoor work for example, sun protection, appropriate hydration and wearing appropriate protective gear. This past experience may be particularly useful in supervising children in outdoor play.
Worker at Nomads Hostel Noosa January to February 2015
Hospitality Noosa Drive, Noosa Heads, Australia
Duties included: doing laundry, making beds, mopping, sweeping and cleaning. Between semesters, whilst abroad, I took up a position living and working at a hostel. This, albeit brief, role was invaluable to me. During this time I shared a room with my colleagues, greatly building my interpersonal skills both personally and professionally.
Intern at Trinity College Science Gallery July 2011
Academia Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Was awarded this internship after exhibiting a social science project at a “Young Scientist” competition. Duties included: conducting experiments with the public and explaining exhibitions to the public. The internship exposed me to public speaking at a young age and helped me to feel comfortable in a position, where, I must publicly present.
My teaching approach
Eoin Scollard My Teaching Methodology
Learning a non-native language can open up whole new world of possibilities in terms of your career, travel opportunities and personal development. A language teacher acts as a bridge between your native language and your language goals. What, however, will make a teacher successful? The two most important factors in this pursuit are the role and methodologies which the teacher adopts, in class.
The Role of the Teacher
The character of the teacher and his or her interaction with students is, in my opinion, are as important as the content covered. In my eyes, I think a teacher ought to take a genuine interest in the development of their students. Every student is unique and every student will develop their language skills differently and will want to learn different facets of a non-native language. A teacher ought to apply all of his or her efforts into finding ways to motivate and support their student’s unique linguistic journey. Teachers, in my opinion also have a duty of “linguistic care” in terms of their students. Often being native speakers themselves, teachers ought to assure their students that fluency comes with time. Teachers also ought to both use language which is of an appropriate level for their students and ask questions which encourage students to communicate in the non-native language. Finally, I believe that language learning shouldn’t be about “survival of the fittest”. A teacher ought to be perceptive about the difficulties faced by non-native language learners. For example, if a student is shy to speak in a non-native language, a teacher should encourage the students to speak up and be more lenient on correcting mistakes at first. If a student, for example, has difficulty gelling with his or her class, a teacher should make a particular effort to pull him or her into class activities. If students have learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, a teacher should be flexible and attend to the specific needs of the student. I believe that almost everybody has the capacity to learn a second or multiple languages. Almost all of us, after all, naturally know how to negotiate the complex grammar and syntax of our mother tongue. A great teacher in my opinion does not try to control the process of second language acquisition, but steadfastly endeavours to facilitate it as best he or she can.
Aside from having a character which is suitable to the role of a language teacher, it is important that teachers employ effective teaching methodologies in class. Today, many language theories boast that their methodology is optimal for second language acquisition. I believe however, that many language theories focus too exclusively on only one aspect of the big, bold process that is language learning.
Ideally, in class, I adopt a teaching method which I like to call the “The Linguistic Sandwich Approach” or LSA. Rather than focussing on one specific component of language learning, the LSA draws on several fruitful methods from several different teaching approaches.
The Bottom Bun
The “bottom bun” of my Linguistic Sandwich, teaches the basic rules of syntax and grammar in the non-native language. While many modern approaches avoid explicitly teaching grammar, I think that outlining the overarching principles at the beginning of class is very useful for students. It provides a sort of blue-print -or shortcut, which students themselves can apply to novel situations.
For example, I believe that explicitly teaching that the suffix ing applies to the present continuous tense and that the suffix ed applies to the past simple tense is a useful “rule of thumb” for the student’s independent experimentation with language. For the English language of course, I would be recommending a wall chart of irregular verbs!
The Filling in the Sandwich
While recognizing that grammatical and syntactical rules are useful, they are not a natural part of language acquisition. The “filing” of language learning is the basics of communication - speaking and listening. In my classes I endeavour to model as much of the non-native language as I can and more importantly, I encourage my student’s participation via the non-native language. I would not ban the use of the native language outright as I believe that translating the meaning of vocabulary and phrases from the native language allows students to build a semantic correlation between these words in both languages and it is more time efficient. In my classes I focus on maintaining an authentic conversational feel, building my student’s confidence and competency using the non-native language, while gently correcting errors.
Adopting a “directed conversational method” allows teachers to deal with the richness of vocabulary and in the non-native language while maintaining a more relaxed tone in the class than by traditional means. Exploring a topic with students can be an excellent method, with which to target vocabulary, phrases and idioms, relevant to specific areas. For example, for EAP or EBP.
If one of my students was studying a BSc in Natural Sciences, for example, it may be useful to explore relevant terminology, surrounding this field with him or her.
e.g. “Do you get out in Nature?”
“Do know what an ecosystem is?”
“Do you know the difference between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems?”
“Are you concerned about environmental instability
Directing conversation in this manner, focuses on language which is highly relevant to the student’s unique purposes. It allows them to discuss this material in an authentic manner, aiding fluency and certainly engaging the students in the non-native language to a greater extent than just providing them with a list of translated words!
Directed conversation, which is more semantically meaningless, such as roleplays or games can be particularly useful in teaching correct linguistic form in terms of grammar, syntax and pronunciation. These exercises, allow the teacher to get into the nitty-gritty of the non-native language, while maintaining a conversational feel in the class.
To practice the pronunciation of words which begin with CH, for example, I might provide the students with this vocal exercise.
Although this list of words are semantically unrelated they provide good examples of the targeted pronunciation of CH. Adding to the richness of the lesson, as a teacher I would model the pronunciation of the word, for example asking do you know what the word chime means? This encourages the students to further practice the correct pronunciation by having to respond with with the word chime means… and allows me to consolidate or further improve the range of vocabulary the student has. Such multi-functional exercises, I believe optimizes the fluency of the student as he or she, is engaging with the target language in a dynamic fashion.
The Top Bun
In language learning, I believe, that it is best for students to regularly revise and review their language input. Indulging my sandwich metaphor-, if you continuously pile filings onto your bottom bun, some fillings may be lost and the whole sandwich may become cumbersome and difficult to eat. The “top bun” of my LSA does just that and ties it all together by means of optional review exercises and exams. It may not be the most popular approach but I think that is the most effective!
Current research is demonstrating that information is best retained when reviewed at intervals, rather that all at once as is often the case for a weekly, language lesson. Independent review exercises allow students to further consolidate learning outside of the classroom and develop their own personal grasp of the material.
The following review questions, for example, would test how the student is doing in different aspects of the non-native language
e.g. If you were Prime Minister of Spain, what changes would you implement? (conditional)
Do you think that our activity is damaging the environment? (topic)
What hobbies did you have when you were a child? (past tense)
For the same reason, casual but scheduled exams are useful for students as they prompt students to review the class materials of the non-native language, intermittently. My exam questions attempt to assess to amount of non-native language which has been retained by my students and their strength and weaknesses;
e.g. Can you define the term ecosystem?
What would you do if you won the lottery? (begin sentences with “If I”)
Importantly review and exam activities are also be particularly useful, where students learn best, by visual rather than aural or oral means, and give my approach an overall balance. However, while I do believe that review exercises are best to improve students learning and language acquisition, I do stress that the top bun is optional rather than obligatory. I would recommend post-class study to any students learning a non-native language for external examinations or for pressurized work or academic situations. However, teachers should also consider the affective factors influencing their student's performance. If time is limited, or if students are learning English, merely out of interest or as a hobby a simple open sandwich would suffice!
Committing oneself to learning a non-native language, is an exciting challenge for anyone, which teachers are privileged to be part of. A great teacher takes an interest in the linguistic journey of their students and steadfastly tries to facilitate them as much as possible in the process. Combining teaching methods such as my “Linguistic Sandwich Approach” provide students with a dynamic, engaging and effective, linguistic platform, with which they can achieve their goals.