Julio Iribarren
Certified English teacher profile

Julio Iribarren TEFL certificate Julio TEFL certificate


I am Julio Iribarren, a skilled and motivated professional with an interesting and versatile background in Business, Stock Trading, Geoscience and the Oil Industry.


Music, Concerts, Football, Languages, Travelling, Comedy. Also love Motorcycles, Enduro and trials, classic car Fan.

My teaching approach

Approaches and Methods for teaching English as a foreign Language

For decades, the way we teach a new language has long been a subject of debate. Although we humans are in many aspects similar to one another, in others aspects we can be quite different especially when it comes to adding new information to our intellectual repertoire . When it comes to teaching second language approaches such as Cognitivism, Behaviourism and Constructivism are believed to be the main ones. Cognitivism as argued by Chomsky describes the innate ability to acquire a language he´s idea also refers to a Language Acquisition Device (LAD) which is a natural skill that activates general cognitive functions to learn a second language, where learners analyse and identify language patterns deducing its structure and rules. Behaviorism on the other hand rewards the desired behaviour to encourage learning and punishes undesired behaviour to discourage undesired actions, it is nowadays thought as an outdated approach. Lastly Constructivism approaches learning as an active constructive process.

There is much discussion as in which teaching methodologies have the best impact and results in general for students. Methodologies may differ one to another quite abruptly in the way they are implemented. The Silent Way for example is a method that requires learning a complex methodology before learning the language as such. This methodology comes from Constructivism and its said to be quite entertaining and engaging for the student but tends to wear off with time. TPR Stands for total physical response its a method that is becoming quite popular among online teachers when teaching kids. It involves more than 60% body language or physical movements and 40% sounds and words to convey the desired information to the student. Other interesting method is the Callan Method which seeks to trigger an automatic brain response to the language by repeatedly asking the student questions and requiring fast responses from them. This method does not provide the student with diverse ways to express the same idea and each class seems to be exhausting.  Suggestopedia is a method quite different from the rest. it consists of creating a secure environment or to recreate the conditions of feeling safe in the wound by using music to create active or passive states of mind to absorb information. Lastly the Direct Method tries to recreate the conditions that we learn our native language in also called the natural method.

Why are all methodologies important? Let's consider for a moment a classroom with 15 different students with different learning needs, it will need more than just one approach to make sure every student understands and retains what they are taught. One of the most important outcomes of these debates and discussions is that today we can point out what are the weaknesses of each of the main approaches and methods used today, and complement with what we know it works for an specific area in order to create a well rounded approach/method which I like to call the Frankenstein method.

When I was learning English as a second language, in my home country teachers only used traditional methods, very focused in grammar and at a later stage aided by exercise books that corresponded to your high school year, and not to your actual language level. By the time I finished school no more than 5% of my classmates could speak some English.

Soon after I moved to the UK and started a foundation course for foreign students with business and management at a College in South London. It was there where I met Steve Jones my English teacher for the next 9 months. Steve was in his 50´s and has travelled the world. He also lived in south america for many years before moving back to England. He was so good at building rapport with students that he is being mentioned today in this essay. He developed a very well balanced character that was able to keep up with 25 students from different parts of the world and different cultural backgrounds. He could make the shy Asian students feel safe and engaged, which I can relate to Suggestopedia but without the music, and at the same time be strict enough to keep the Latinos and Arabs in check as they tended to be bit cheeky and louder. And lastly he would never miss an opportunity to tell a fun story and teach us something at the same time, everyone respected Steve.

As for the approaches used during my learning process some of it was around the idea of Cognitivism and little of Behaviourism, only for motivational purposes, but in any case I remember experiencing punishment from any of the teachers.

At the beginning of every class we would have 5 minutes where the teacher interacted with the students by asking questions related to recent events, important news, the world cup, etc.

Looking back I can now Identify that the natural or direct Method was the methodology they used with us in class even though much of the grammar class was supported by exercises with teaching books and classic grammar exercises, he clearly went beyond that by including other activities such as dictation,  paragraph writing, reading aloud and role play, which are all part of the direct method. Other activities required in cases teamwork or working in pairs, listening to a tape to later answer questions related to a topic and then discuss it.

When correcting mistakes I would say we were corrected immediately but not excessively and in occasions students were asked to give the correct form when someone made a mistake or error engaging students in the teaching process which I find quite interesting.

The first weeks of the course the teacher spoke very clearly and articulated as much as possible, I also noticed the use of simple structures so he could be easily understood. With time the use of structures and vocabulary became more complex and rich.

We were given homework almost daily,  but at the early stages of the course we had to generally write a small essay between 100-200 words. But by the end of the course we had to produce essays with 800 to 1200 words. Because the main goal of this course was to prepare us to pass the IELTS test which was a requisite to apply to any university in the UK a lot of training was spent in writing a good academic essay. So it can be said grading was noticeable and by the end of the course our vocabulary and structures were greatly improved.

My teaching methodologies at this early stage are certainly influenced by the direct method, however I like the Frankenstein method best, where I have the freedom to choose the best parts of different methods and apply them where I see fit. All students are different and what is important here is the ability to offer more than one way to teach.

Building a good rapport can probably take some time. My aim as a teacher is to be as balanced as possible. The main elements to keep in mind will be to have a  neutral/approachable appearance, to be empathetic, make first impressions count, share experiences, give respect and lead a class with a positive emotion.

If I was to teach myself I would probably try to find out what my own interests are in order to create a common ground. I would also try and find out what the purpose of learning a second language is. Is it for academic purposes? Is it just survival English? Career/work related? Then I would structure a plan to complete a Syllabus that will meet the needs of the student and what she/he wants to archive long term.

I'm the kind of person that needs to put things in context and practice a lot in order to understand and to retain what I'm learning. Unnecessary complex explanations tend to confuse me and put me off. So being concise and find ways to simplify concepts so they can make sense in an easy way, will be a good approach to not lose my own interest. The clear use of the language while speaking is key, I will be copying my teacher (myself) so a neutral English is what I would go for. I will also create activities related to my own interests, Music, famous guitar players and their different playing techniques, gear they use, Game of Thrones, Movies and Classic Cars. The idea is not only to keep me engaged with the previous topics but to overcome other factors such as shyness or fear of making mistakes. Because the will to talk about something that is of much interest to me will be greater. By using full language immersion and modern methodologies, such as the direct method I will be promoting direct thinking in the target language. Adding vocabulary constantly and in context its a great way to start experimenting with more and more complex situations and hopefully very soon I will be speaking fluently and writing awesome essays.