Certified English teacher profile

LAURA MORALES TEFL certificate LAURA TEFL certificate


I am an enthusiastic and friendly teacher whose main goal is for my students to learn and even get to love this passion of mine: English language and culture. I believe that with my educational background and teaching experience, I can help you improve your English in fun yet professional way.


Traveling (Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia, Pacific Islands, South America)

My teaching approach

First-Language Acquisition, PPP Methodology and Communicative Method

  • How do we acquire a language?

Since the moment we are born, we are exposed to our mother tongue. Day after day, we listen to our parents, our siblings, our mum's favourite songs on the sound system, the 5 o'clock news on TV and that soothing lullaby CD they play for us at night. We are constantly exposed to a language. No one really sits us on their laps and explain how the verb to be is used in the simple present tense; neither does anyone explain the meaning of "mum" to us. Yet, one day we are saying it. One day, apparently out of the blue, we are saying who we are, we are calling our mums, we are expressing feelings about food (like "I don't like this") and we are telling our aunt what our favourite toy is.

One might be tempted to think that we have not actually learnt a language, but that we are simply repeating what we have been hearing around us for several months. However, when children start speaking, they never use the words/ phrases randomly. Not just because they learnt how to say their names, will they be answering every question with their names. When a child learns a new word or even a whole structure, they will only reproduce it when they NEED to. They would say "mum" when they see their mums or when they need them. They would say their name as a response to the question "who's nana's little boy?" but not to "are you ready to take your bath?"  

At least two conclusions derive from this: First, that in order to acquire a language, we need the right INPUT. And second, that some complex cognitive processes must take place in order for us to understand such input and then USE it in an intelligible way within an appropriate context.

In the final phase, it's in no time that children are not only reproducing the linguistic input they have unconsciously processed, but now they are actually CREATING their own original, never-heard-before utterances.

  • Then, how would my students acquire the English language?

I like to think that my students can acquire a second language following the natural way we have acquired our mother tongue. To make that possible, I would choose a communicative method, combined with the PPP methodology.

The communicative method is based on the idea that learning language successfully comes through having to communicate real meaning. When learners are involved in real communication, their natural strategies for language acquisition will be used, and this will allow them to learn to use the language.

PPP is a paradigm or model used to describe typical stages of a presentation of new language. It means presentation, production and practice. The presentation stage aims to let the learners receive the input of the new aspect of language I want them to learnt. The production stage will activate the learners' cognitive strategies to absorb and produce what they received in the presentation stage. Finally, the practice stage aims to provide opportunities for learners to use the target structure. Let's see PPP coming to life in a class:

1) I PRESENT a new aspect of language (vocabulary and/or structure): I would provide the learners with input that is adequate in level and meaningful within a given context, appealing to their cognitive strategies to help them achieve full understanding of such input, with visual aids, gestures, explanations, synonyms and antonyms, analogies and examples.

2) Give activities for the learners to PRODUCE the new aspect of language with a wide range of activities to become familiar with it: Q-A drill, information gap-filling, visual/movement-guided activities, etc.   

3)Appeal the learners to PRACTISE the new aspect of language with utterances coming from their own minds with an activity, which I would choose specifically according to the real use of the presented aspect of language and  I would tailor to meet the learners' interests, motivations and needs, so that they can actually use the target language in the context native speakers would use it.

So, if I were to introduce "like/don't like" and food vocabulary in a class for children aged 7-8, I would

1) PRESENT the target language using pictures of food and emojis like/don't like faces + gestures.

2) Make learners PRODUCE the target language by asking them questions to find out what they like/don't like and share my own likes and dislikes with them to encourage a two-way communicative interaction, mimicking real-life interactions.

3) Create a communicative situation that is both plausible and engaging for the learners for them to PRACTISE the target language: "Your school paper's editor has asked you to carry out a survey among your peers and find out what food they like and don't like in order to update the cafeteria menu". I would give them some minutes and let them move around asking each other "do you like...?" and writing down their answers.

Once they have enough data, I would play the role of the editor and ask them what information they could gather for the paper and work as a team towards a conclusion to update the cafeteria menu with the top four choices, for instance.

As you can see, the development of my lesson seems to follow that natural acquisition of language: Learners receive certain input (target language), they become familiar and confident with it and finally use it in a relevant communicative situation. So, if parents ask their kids "how was your English class?", they would not tell them "we learnt/studied how to express likes and dislikes and we leant 8 new food words/". Rather, they will tell them "we updated our school's cafeteria menu (we did something!)". By the end of my class, the learners would have acquired a new aspect of the English language by DOING rather than by STUDYING, just like how we did with our first language.

  • The future of English teaching: How will I keep my communicative method alive through the years to come?

The passing of time is inevitable, and so are the evolution of living languages, the rapid growth of international economy and the overwhelming pace of technology. The way I see it, if I intend to continue applying the communicative method —whose essence relies on real life communicative contexts (with all that implies: the means, the participants, the way, the contemporary language used, the intentions of the learners, etc) —, then I need to keep it real. And if reality changes, so the communicative activities for learners should change along with it.

Thus, I believe the best way to keep English teaching-learning process real, we teachers must be observant to changes both in the communicative situations of our target language and in our learners' needs, motivations and goals. So, just like when I was a child, activities like writing a letter to a pen pal was way more exciting and down-to-earth than just using some general prompts provided by a book to write a letter to no one with the only purpose of giving it to the teacher for correction, for today's kids it would be more engaging and communicative-driven to create activities they would deem more authentic than a letter, such as writing e-mails, text messages or facebook comments to an English-speaking friend.

Regarding adults and in-company teaching, we teachers should embrace technology to maximise the busy students' time —with on-line classes, for instance— and tailor each class with a communicative purpose in mind, such as presentations, conferences, colleague interaction and e-mail and memo writing, among others.

To sum up, stating that we use language to communicate implies that we use language to fulfill a purpose, to achieve a goal, to DO something or to get something done, whether functionally or socially. And since such purposes, goals and needs do not remain unaffected by the passing of time and the advance of technology, we teachers must keep up with these changes and be flexible, resourceful and passionate enough to adapt our teaching methods to always drive our learners' towards confident language use that is both intelligible in terms of structure and vocabulary, and appropriate within each real situation.