Angie Price





My teaching approach

Oxbridge TEFL Assignment

Angie Price

 

Introduction

This report will analyse the existing teaching methods employed in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and present a new Model that in this case is used in conjunction with other existing methodologies. The new methodology being presented is the Student Profile Method.

Objectives

There are 3 key objectives in this report which are to:

1.            Present the new teaching method

2.            Contrast existing teaching methods with the new teaching method

3.            Define why the new teaching method will work

The Student Profile Method

The premise of the Student Profile Method (SPM) is to profile the students on 3 levels in order to target and focus the classes accordingly. There is initial effort required in set up but hopefully the benefits of doing this out-way the time required to set up the process. The three ways of profiling the students are:

1.            Business/Company profiles and learning goals for students

2.            Individual profile demonstrating personal learning aims

3.            Overall group profile and shared areas of focus as well as interest.

Three templates have been created to assess the three elements of the learning group (see Appendices). Inevitably priority is given to the group who pays the bill however it is hoped that there will be common ground sufficient to allow the individual interest and the group shared goals to be enjoyed. Every effort is taken to focus the learning to align the three groups. The first two templates are completed prior to the start of the course with the third being completed jointly in a half hour session before the first class. The templates are available in both English and can be completed in either language.

The benefit of this Model to Students is that it has student originated assessment which together with the group focus will make the lessons more interesting to the students. In addition, the Model will offer the tools for a Group Support Programme within the Company whereby Students are encouraged to meet for coffee once a week and revise the week's vocabulary. In this instance at lower levels they are encouraged to use their native language to help with shared understanding. At higher levels it is hoped that they will gain confidence in moving away from this and to practice vocabulary and the structures being used in class. Translation in these out of class sessions is not forbidden as it would be in the Direct Method where no translation is allowed but is part of the Student Profile Method whereby the importance is to create a support network within the company to encourage English use in general.

The students will be taught as with other methodologies in a level dependent way. They are categorised as follows

Level SPM 1 - Complete beginners

Level SPM 2 - Some existing English (perhaps rusty)

Level SPM 3 - A sound grasp of spoken English with an element of spelling knowledge

Level SPM 4 - Good all round English spoken and read

Level SPM 5 - Virtually fluent but requiring practice in the language or desire to be bilingual

The Students will be offered certificates when progressing from one level to another.

Derive Benefit from Existing Methodologies

The Student Profile Model draws on elements of recognised and respected teaching methodologies to deliver against its students stated learning goals. It does not seek to break from reorganised methodologies as it believes that ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. There are strong benefits in most existing methodologies but the Student Profile Model will draw primarily from the Communicative, Direct and Oxbridge models. The uniqueness of the approach is in matching the teaching delivery vehicle onto the Student Profile. The Student Profile Model does not believe that the Silent Method of involving no teacher talk time is appropriate in helping students to learn English. There may be elements of theatrical expression and mime when emphasising a point but this method will not be used as a main focus. An important factor for students is to be able to learn and copy the teacher’s pronunciation which is a key in learning a new language. 

Delivery of Student Learning

The teaching process would be approached utilising the Communicative Approach in encouraging students to try the new language. Students would be corrected regularly on mistakes but not for EVERY mistake as designated in the Vaughan Method. It is thought that this method stifles student’s attempts, is demotivating and lacks a vital element of language learning which is - fun.

 

 

To a certain extent the balance between the receptive skills of the student and the productive skills will be dependent on the profiles received in the initial investigation phase. As in the Oxbridge Method the classroom focus will be on understanding and speaking but these will differ from Oxbridge in this Method as they will be supported by writing where the client requirement requests it. As a natural progression through the Levels, reading and writing will be introduced in the natural course of the lessons.

An initial assessment of the students would be carried out on the first day. In the case of the student speaking no English at all an assessment would not be expected. The information provided by the Company and the Individuals would act as the initial guide to level. Thereafter an assessment in the first class by the TEFL qualified teacher would peg the student’s level. This would be done by the initial class being available to the teacher in the different levels by way of a ‘getting to know you’ discussion. An official Cambridge exam would not be envisaged.

The Student Profile Method would, to a decent extent, understand up front the reasons defined for learning English. There is a need to be aware that in some cases the reasons given may not always be true (for political company specific reasons an individual may have presented a slightly different version of their reality!) The teacher would need to bear this in mind. Student difficulties in learning may be evident from their profile and from the first class. The Student Profile Model would analyse this through a First Class Observation Sheet which would be designed to collect information based on factors including an indicator of the use of the native language within the class, time taken to respond to the teacher, body language and eye contact.

The syllabus would be derived from the profiles collected. Each class would be topic based drawing in vocabulary and structures. The focus in the class is on a topic of shared interest. This would be more prescriptive in the lower levels where the language knowledge is obviously lower however every effort would be made to ensure student interest and therefore engagement with the class. The key to the Student Profile Method is in through initial profiling engagement can start immediately.

The Audio Lingual approach and Grammar Translation Methods would not be adopted as the priority is in encouraging engagement with the language in its entirety not only in the grammar aspects initially. The teachers would, as has been said previously, be required to correct students however not for every mistake. In addition there would be repetition of language particularly in the lower levels and in pronunciation exercises however there would not be drilling of language extensively. The style employed by Oxbridge of a round table discussion rather than a whiteboard classroom environment is what is envisaged with the Student Profile Method. Props, photos and visual tools are an important part of this method to engage students. One important element is praise for trying as well as praise for accuracy. This is true at all levels. 

Utilising the topic based approach combined with the student profile will allow the teacher the tools to teach complete beginners and more advanced students within the same framework. Thereafter more complex structures and vocabulary are applied to stretch the more able.

Summary

In analysing the existing teaching methods it has been seen that there are viable elements in most methodologies that can be incorporated into the classroom. The Student Profile Method has been presented as being topic focused, drawing elements from other existing tried and tested methodologies but uniquely profiling the company, group and individuals in order to better target the syllabus. It is therefore believed that it is a viable Method in its own right.  

 

 

APPENDIX 1: DRAFT COMPANY PROFILE

(This gives an indication of the types of questions that will be presented in analysing the Company)

Company Profile

Company Name

 

Total Number of Staff

 

Site Locations

 

Business area

 

International locations

 

Target level for staff at the end of course

 

Priority order (please order using numbers 1 to 4, if not required leave blank)

        Speech

        Writing

        Reading

        Understanding

Existing English Profile in Company

Number of existing English speakers

 

Language exchange programme

 

English connection to company

 

Number of bilingual staff in company

 

English Class Requirements

Length of lessons

 

Number of lessons per week

 

Number of students to undertake course

 

Estimated number of lessons required

 

Number of students per class

 

Business objective in learning English

Requirements in learning English

         

 

 

APPENDIX 2: DRAFT INDIVIDUAL PROFILE

(This gives an indication of the types of questions that will be presented in analysing the Individual)

Individual Profile

Name

 

Job Title

 

Age group

 

Children

        Yes

        No

Personal Interests

Hobbies and Interests

        TV

        Art

        Football

        Dancing

        Spanish culture

        Politics

        Travel

        Family

        Modern Music

        Classical Music

 

        Antiques

        History

        Cooking

        Swimming

        Reading books

         

 

List 10 preferred topics for discussion

1.             

2.             

3.             

4.             

5.             

6.             

7.              

8.              

9.              

10.         

 

English Focus

Opportunities to practice English

        Daily

        Weekly

        Monthly

        Limited

        None

Personal Level Assessment

        Basic

        Rusty

        Intermediate

        Superior

Request for homework

        Yes

        No

Personal learning goal

 

 

 

APPENDIX 3: DRAFT GROUP PROFILE

(This gives an indication of the types of questions that will be presented in analysing the Company)

Group Profile

Number in group

 

Areas of shared interest

1.             

2.              

3.              

4.              

5.              

6.              

Areas of the group does NOT wish to discuss

1.             

2.              

3.              

4.              

5.              

6.              

Group support programme

        Yes

        No

Group Level

 

 

 



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