MY TEACHING APPROACH
Introducing my teaching approach brings me back to my own experience and to the feelings I had when I was 9 years old, born and living in the US, when my Mom decided to move back to France, her childhood country with me and my sister.
I remember one of my first thoughts was : « How am I going to communicate with people, I don’t speak french!!! ».
Those thoughts were quickly put in situation because a couple of months later we arrived in Paris, France!
I had of course heard my Mom speaking french but for me it was just a language I didn’t speak and that I was never really going to have to speak. English was enough to be understood.
But now, things were going to have to change, I was in Paris!!!
And to be able to be understood and understand others, I was going to have to learn French!!!
And I have to say that I was pretty scared.
My Mom being a teacher helped us alot I think. She taught french and spanish to teens in the US and had the ability and patience to approach our fear and had the knowledge of the kind of method that was the best for us.
I remember like if it were yesterday, after several days not going out after our arrival in Paris, and my Mom trying to find the best way to explain what we had to do to gain confidence and to be able to learn apart from going to school in September.
She sat us down one day and simply with a big and natural smile told us: « Girls! The only way you will learn is
TO GO OUT THERE! »
From that day, every morning she started to send us out to buy the french baguette! And then little by little she sent us to other shops and other places where we had to ask questions to get what we needed.
Communication was the key.
For this reason and according to my own experience, I would choose the communicative approach and a direct method to teach a language because it has personally helped me in learning french and approaching this language my own natural way.
My role as a teacher is to guide the students as a playmaker by giving them motivation and pleasure to come to my classes and to learn english or french.
In order to also teach vocabulary, I would use a communicative methodology by only speaking the language taught during the whole class and by using the students personal experiences such as their every day schedule at work or by talking about their week ends, their hobbies and what they enjoy doing.
I think to be able to learn, you have to be interested and stimulated by the subject and therefore by the person who is talking to you.
I will be careful on grading my speech and drilling as much as possible during the whole class.
Being neutral to students who make mistakes and not to make fun of them, smile or spontaneously laughs which could make some students loose their confidence at the beginning.
To teach grammar, I would introduce it in a very pleasant mode;
The inductive way. Starting by using specific and creative examples with activities and showing them how the concept is used. Having them notice with my examples rather than just having them write down the rules. Putting things into a context makes it easier for them to understand.
I would afterwards make sure that they have a good conception of what was just taught and ask them to give me some examples.
To be able to prepare my classes suitably, I think it is important to prepare in advance the structure of the class. The syllabus depends also on the levels of each class and what kind of needs the students have. The most important is to distinguish that with them and to plan according to their needs.
I think that using the material that is given to me by Oxbridge is a perfect way to organize my future syllabus. It uses the ESA method : Engage, Study and Activate which helps motivate by detailed images and examples.
First you can start with a topic activity to have a communicative and nice way to start the class, than a structure activity to learn how to organize words and build sentences and to finish, a vocabulary activity to be able to learn new words and to improve.
It also gives the context for each and every class and for me it unrolls the 4 Macro language skills : reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking and writing.
I think the main importance should be put on speaking and listening. Giving them as much as confidence they need so that the students are able to express their opinions and ideas in any kind of situation.
According to their level, I will go gradually and make sure not to use the same examples and subjects.
The most important for me is that each student is interested in my class and so in that case he learns something.
My students should be active and motivated. I really am convinced that if a student is motivated in learning, he will achieve his goal which is true for anything.
I have learned with Oxbridge that there are two kinds of motivation that perfectly explain the difference and the results on learning.
The Extrinsic and Intrinsic.
Here are the definitions that I have found and that I have codified in my own way:
The Extrinsic motivation happens when you are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment.
Intrinsic motivation involves engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.
I directly think that a student that comes to class because it is an internal desire to learn and that it is for his own sake is going to be more motivated and capable of learning the language.
In the case of children, I think that they do not have that knowledge and that their only desire would be to have fun, therefore, I will use games and fun activities for them to learn.
Talking about motivations and the reason why people want to learn a language, brings me to the word : Evaluation.
Are assessments a good idea ?
I recently personally experienced with the TEFL grammar test and hated it!
So I think that of course, students hate it because no one likes to be put tested but it is very useful for them to understand their errors and where they must improve.
As a teacher I would do formative assessments and therefore help my students know exactly which areas to concentrate on and work together on their weaknesses.
I overall want my students to feel comfortable and to have a natural exchange with me.
I think that there is no « best approach » in teaching a language.
Personally I feel that people learn differently and have different needs and therefore the best approach is to adapt.
I have personally decided to teach the one that helped me the most in learning fluently french, which is the communicative approach.
Teaching is a pleasure and is rewarding when I see a student learn and understand.
For me it is natural and I think that my students sense my desire to share my knowledge with others. That is also a part of motivation.