MY JOURNEY TO LEARNING SPANISH.
Growing up speaking two languages gave me the notion that I could learn any language within a few weeks or months by just learning the grammar translations of that language. I enrolled for spanish lessons because I wanted to better understand the culture and communicate better with my spanish friends. Having been going through these lessons for a couple of months, i now have a basic understanding of Spanish and can explain, read and write simple texts. I must admit however that my big challenge remains oral communication even at the level of a beginner. I tend to mix up words and tenses and this gets me really frustrated sometimes.
My kids of course are already fluent in Spanish conversations and thinking about it, i figured….hey, they are kids and have no worries. It took awhile for me to come to the realization that my perhaps my learning methodology was not the best for me especially in spoken and conversational Spanish. With a six-week holiday between the end of my exams in December and the commencement of another term, I decided to enroll for a TEFL certification course that a friend had mentioned to me when she realized I am passionate about teaching and passing on knowledge. During this course I was exposed to different methods of teaching especially for people acquiring a second language..wow, there’s the eye opener.
I was taught spanish by my teachers only using the Grammar Translation Method (GTM), whereas during the TEFL certification program i came across the Present, Practice and Produce (PPP) method. Judging from both experiences, it is my opinion that PPP method is more effective in achieving the desired result. The new knowledge gathered from both methods of teaching has broadened my experience and will influence the way i am going to learn, teach and pass on knowledge. Perhaps without conscious knowledge, I have used the PPP method as a baker and cake decorator over the past 10 years, judging from what i have learnt of this method, and reflecting on how successful those classes were.
The summary of the PPP methodology is PRESENT the students with the materials needed, PRACTICE by physically carrying out necessary actions or procedures, to PRODUCE the desired result. A good reason this method was / is always successful is that, if ever there was a problem we could see from practice stage and change or add whatever material that was needed to achieve the desired result.
There is a general agreement among decoding and encoding messages in the second for condition to be right for the learners must be engaged in decoding and encoding messages in the second language for condition to be right for the learners.
The learners also need to be engaged in creating pragmatic meaning which depends on the context in order to develop fluency.The way learners process sentence in their second language is important for language acquisition.
Macwhinney”s competition model states that learners can only concentrate on so many things at a time and so they must filter out some aspect of language when they listen to a second language.
Research has shown that there is individual variation in second language acquisition for various reasons. Some learners are quick to reach a near native level of competence while some,may get stuck at early stage of acquisition.The factors that have been found to influence or affect individual language learning in different stages can be social and societal influences, motivation,anxiety and personality and also age in some individual.
Geleb Grattegno and Geogi Lozanou also suggested that the reason for our inefficiency in language learning is that we set up psychological barriers to learning by thought, that we are limited in our ability to learn and that we fail. The different teaching method exist to find the best way of acquiring a language,having a knowledge of this as a teacher, my teaching methodology is liken to a doctor, who would carry out a set of test on his patient to give him an idea or a lead to the best possible solution to arrive at a cure. By carrying out a formative test to help apply the best approach or set of approaches and planning a lesson formula is for me is the PPP formula which stands for :
P-Presentation , it is the introduction of the target language in a natural context in a topic or task.
P- Practice; In this stage the student is given the opportunity to use the target language in a limited frame work This helps to focus the target language and enables student analyse and work out the rules and practice the target language.
P-This is the production stage which provide student the use of the language in a freer way and this directly improves communication and gradually builds confident in the student.
A combination of both the Total Physical Response and the Communicative approach are mine preferred options and modelling it through the PPP formula,for the following reasons.
In the Total Response, all senses are involved which means full attention and therefore create a fast way to achieve understanding of any target language by following directions uttered by the teacher. Which means that the target language is conveyed through an action ,which is a fun way learning,and makes communication for the learners more natural.This helps with the reading and writing skills of the student.
The communicative approach will help integrate 4 skill for communicative competence.
Here the authentic language which is introduced is used in real context.It encourages the use of games which have certain features in common with communication events.
The approach helps to develop the productive skill( speaking and writing) and also the receptive skill(listening and understanding) This helps to build grammar and vocabulary that the student learn ,following from the function, situational context and the roles of the interlocutors. This helps to achieve the goal of the student being able to use the simple present.
These approaches can work with with children, Teenages and adult , from the beginners to advance stage ,and can be taught through dynamic ways like the ONE on ONE (individual) online classes and also in groups.