My teaching approach
Language is what keeps people together and enables them to live and work together. The English language will differ to students on the reality of what they would like to experience from learning the English language – according to personal needs. It is the speakers themselves who will inherit the language and constantly modify it according to circumstances that change. The code of the English language arranges elements into a number of interrelated systems, including the system of sounds, grammar and vocabulary. This makes a system forming a code suitable for communication.
For a long time a lot of teaching systems have been using the grammar-translation method; requiring students to memorise rules, conjugations and vocabulary lists. In recent years traditional methods have been altered and have become more energetic and enthusiastic to engage students in a more effective way. My method will focus on students whom would like to use the English language as a tool for communication – to communicate with others, express ideas and to understand the ideas of others well.
This method will focus on the link of listening and speaking to learn the English language. When a teacher focuses more on the explanation of grammar; students will inevitably focus more on memorising the grammar. Although this teaching method has the advantage of passing on a lot of knowledge I believe it hinders the students’ ability regarding listening and speaking skills. By focusing more on memorising it restricts development of the ability to speak.
My method encourages the ability to gain the ability to understand English and speak in English and put English into practice. The approach will focus to develop the listening and speaking skills and use English as a purpose for communication as students often pay too much attention to written examination and forget about the importance of listening and speaking skills when trying to put the English they know into practice. In my method – students will use practical situations in order to practice the English language.
All lessons will be taught using native English only and under no circumstances should Spanish be used. However students will be able to communicate in Spanish after the lesson (in extreme circumstances when they cannot communicate what they would like to say).
In terms of developing their listening skills, it is important the teacher creates a culture of good listening habits. Firstly, the students will listen carefully to the teacher’s pronunciation and the use of body language will be used to express definitions. As well as the teachers voice, students will have the opportunity to listen to other classmates, watch videos, use their English in real life situations.
The speaking practice will be the most important aspect of the class and it is the teachers’ role to create a culture for freedom of expression and in class. Students will act out role-play situations with their peers. For example one person will act as a shop assistant and the other a customer in the store – to have a real understanding of language they can use if they face these situations and need to speak English.
The system of the syllabus will be focused around topics. The topics chosen will be focused around common every day situations in which the student would be required to put their English into practice. Students will learn vocabulary and have conversations about topics such as: introducing themselves, emotions, shopping, going to the doctors, travelling, cinema experience, ordering food in a restaurant, booking travel tickets, general knowledge questions, booking an appointment, job interview questions, talking about the weather. Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills of the English language into real life practice. The course will have an activities day in which we will chose one of the locations and students will have the opportunity to practice their skills and order food and buy a cinema ticket.
The system will follow a target language similarly to the Oxbridge technique. Each lesson students will be required to understand 10 words of target language. The following lesson, students will be required to remember the target language from the previous lesson and 10 minutes will be focused around testing the students’ memory of the language learnt in the previous lesson. This is to evaluate if the teaching methods are effective to students and they are memorising vocabulary from lessons. This will be done in a question-answer based method to ensure speaking practice from students. At a higher level – students will be encouraged to have in class discussions
Materials used in class will be games, stories, debates and role-play. It is vital to the motivation of students that the classes are interesting, interactive and effective. Stories are especially effective, because this enables students to speak about their own personal experiences. In a debate, students can freely express their opinions of different topics; keeping them engaged. I think that it is important to give students time in class to speak about their own personal interests. From my own personal experience, students feel more engaged when speaking about something that they are interested in, that is personal to them or that they have experienced themselves. This way students will be actively participating in listening and speaking as when a student is speaking the others will be listening, and vice versa.
Teaching is not a fixed method and this method can be tailored to suit individual needs and personal preferences to ensure that all students receive engaging lessons and productive lessons – learning English that they can put into practice in the real world and feel confident in real life situations to use the English they have learnt.
Students needs and motivation
Understandably, every student will have a different reason for choosing to learn and study the English language. Each student needs will depend on a number of factors including; age, location, time and ability. The reasons to learn English could be that they want to learn English due to education, to travel, for business purposes, their parent’s influences or for personal reasons. However the end result will be that students are able to communicate as much as possible using the English language.
The teacher’s role will be to create situations in an effective way in order to stimulate students’ interest in learning. I think it is important that students receive in class feedback for both when they make a mistake and when they have spoken using the correct vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. To develop the skills, teachers should use praise words, satisfied smiles, express in the eyes and nod their head so that students have recognition when they speak correctly. This will encourage enthusiasm of students and inspire them to have confidence when speaking. When students speak incorrectly, the teacher can show a confused look on their face so that the student can see they have made a mistake and this can be corrected firstly by the student (if they know) and if not, by the teacher.
Homework activities will be set – in order for students to totally immerse themselves into the English language. Students will focus to activate their listening and speaking skills in class and apply this to homework-based tasks regarding written skills. Students will be recommended to start applying the English language into daily tasks they complete. For beginners it will be suggested to focus on vocabulary and write shopping and to-do lists in English. This way, students can focus on their vocabulary as sentence structures do not have to be perfect and the student will be able to remember words. As the levels increase to intermediate level – it will be recommended to read children’s books with simple themes and simple sentence structures. For the more advanced students it will be recommended to read newspapers and magazines in English.
This method follows the idea that the function of language is used for communication and that the purpose of teaching students English language – is that they can go away from the classes and use the English language correctly and this will be achieved by speaking and listening techniques. Over time, students will achieve a high quality level of listening and speaking English in an enjoyable environment learning vocabulary that they will put to use in the real world.