My language background
Teaching languages has become my lifelong professional carrier. Being born in Ukraine and having Spanish roots influenced a lot my choice of working as a language teacher. I found learning languages so interesting and exciting, that I truly dedicated myself to show the art and mystery of each one to my students.
I started speaking Ukrainian as my first language when just observing and listening to my environment. I learnt Russian too without any difficulties while watching TV, reading books and, later travelling. I spoke Spanish with my father, who is from Sevilla, and later, when a teenager, decided to study and improve it by myself. I would classify my process of the first language acquisition as a natural human process, often sharing its features with Total Physical Response (TPR) teaching method, especially when in comes to Russian and Spanish (my second, and third native languages).
Therefore, I can say that I was a trilingual kid, who was doing really good at languages at school but was quiet bored in science classes. I believe, the way people behave, the environment, and interests at early stage of life determine the abilities and inclines to one or other disciplines, like foreign language, history, or science.
I started studying English when I was 7, but I learnt it when I entered the university in Poland. I chose a double degree, International Relations and Linguistics, both in English, and by that moment I had been sure I knew English very well, since I´d done well at school and learnt all the grammar. I´d obtained IELTS certificate too. But once in the university, I understood I had not.
The English taught at my first school was a reflection of a behaviourism theory of the second language acquisition, where we were told the structure and vocabulary and we were about to repeat it after the teacher. The classical grammar-translation method and audio lingual method were applied by our teachers in English classes. My second school was quiet different, but still traditional, we were having many subjects taught in English, but primary English classes were taught applying the direct method. We were using textbooks and fill-in-the-gaps exercises for years. So, I finally became fluent when I was already in the environment of English language spoken everywhere.
My communicative approach
Consequently, when I became an English teacher and started my own business – a language school, - I made a decision to use the Communicative Language Teaching, or Communicative approach as a way of building my professional teaching carrier.
The communicative approach is a broad definition of various techniques and activities we can apply to a learner and to our role as an instructor. Nevertheless, we will always try to encourage a free practise and conversation, relevant to the target language and using the grammar rules implicitly.
Communicative competence includes the following aspects of language knowledge:
Knowing how to use language for a range of different purposes and functions
Knowing how to vary our use of language according to the setting and the participants (e.g., knowing when to use formal and informal speech or when to use language appropriately for written as opposed to spoken communication)
Knowing how to produce and understand different types of texts (e.g., narratives, reports, interviews, conversations)
Knowing how to maintain communication despite having limitations in one’s language knowledge (e.g., through using different kinds of communication strategies)
To conclude, the communicative approach which I will apply to teach my students will be based on all the techniques of verbal and non-verbal communication, using the simple examples within the framework of language usage in different situations. Nevertheless the teacher´s purpose is not only the language patterns teaching, but also the developing the students´ motivation, willing to discover, to produce and to express themselves. Every student is different, with his or her own background, manner of learning, own strengths and weaknesses. My purpose as a teacher is not only explaining things, but also teaching how to break the language barrier and to raise the one´s confidence in oneself.
Example of Communicative approach lessons planning
I truly believe in the importance of language as a tool of communication and expression, so I truly dedicate myself to every class preparation. Furthermore, I try to make the Language be the Art, because this is my life-long philosophy I carry through. Everybody can speak English fluently if there is a bond between the language and the inner self.
Don´t study English, learn it, feel it and use it.