Own Approach to Teaching
Every student has unique motivations for learning English and different needs in a classroom. My goal is to create a stress-free and enjoyable environment for each student, no matter their personality, age, or aptitude for learning languages and help each of them meet their linguistic goals. I have tutored students in math and science for a few years and found that no matter the subject, there is always a way to get students excited and interested and easily solve any problems they might have.
For introductory students, I use a mixture of the Total Physical Response Method, the Audio-Lingual Method and the Callan Method. The Total Physical Response Method uses movements and gestures to provide a fun and exciting way to learn the language. This method is particularly useful for teaching children because they can be up and moving around. Both the Audio-Lingual Method and Callan Method emphasize listening and speaking, putting less of an emphasis on grammar and accuracy. Students are able to become fluent through conversation, making the lessons more enjoyable and relaxing.
For more advanced students, I use the Communicative approach and Grammar Translation Method. The Communicative approach focuses mainly on fluency and less on grammatical perfection or phonetics. The Grammar Translation Method focuses more on writing and is helpful for students that need to use English in the written form, perhaps for a job or academia.
Of course, there are always exceptions for learners and it is very important to take the student’s learning style into account. Some students are visual learners and learn more quickly with videos, realia or writing. Auditory learners benefit from more conversation and kinesthetic learners benefit from hand gestures and facial expressions. I work with the students to find the class setup that works best for them and that they can enjoy the most.
I also change classes according to the student’s age, I create classes for children that are more fun and exciting, using more movement, videos, realia, games and positive reinforcement. Because children and teenagers are more likely to be extrinsically motivated to learn another language, the classes need to be enjoyable enough to make them want to return and learn more. For adult classes, I create lessons that are based more on the interests and how they ultimately want to use the language (for their career, casual conversation, etc).
I teach all classes in English (the target language) and try to avoid using the mother tongue. This increases the time students are immersed fully in the language, helping them reach fluency more quickly, preventing students from relying on direct translation in their minds or comfortable for the students. Graded language is also utilized in the classroom to make learning more comfortable for students. I use simpler grammar and vocabulary for classes with low level students and increase the complexity with students that are nearly fluent.
Courses and Lessons
A syllabus is important in order to set the objectives for the course and to provide context for all lessons within that course. I try to build a syllabus around a student’s needs, letting them have input if they would like. Some students may need a structure-based syllabus in order to increase their understanding of proper grammar when reading and writing because they use English for their jobs. Others may gain more from a task-based curriculum because they are moving to another country and need to be able to apply for a job, order food and write and email. Syllabi can be personalized to meet the student’s goals.
Assessments are also important to evaluate the student’s comprehension of the material. I don’t think exam grades are of the utmost importance, but I do use them to help to determine whether the course material is correct for the student. For example, if a student scores lown on an exam, moving forward, we might include more review at the end of the lessons or change an auditory-based curriculum to include more visual or kinesthetic activities. I also include self-assessment activities so the student is more involved in the learning process and can help dictate what the course should include. Making mistakes is an important part of learning process and each student reacts to making errors in a different way. I create a comfortable environment where a student feels free to make, correct and then learn from their mistakes.
Overall, lessons are structured using the PPP (present, practice, produce) method where the students are presented with the material and vocabulary they will learn for that particular lesson, practice it through various activities, then reproduce it through a set of revising questions. I also make sure to continually review vocabulary and concepts covered in previous lessons to ensure the students are retaining the content. An introductory level lesson for children might include the following:
? Present: the students are shown the new vocabulary for the day with accompanying hand motions and/or realia.
? Practice: the students listen to a story, identify the vocabulary within the story and match the vocabulary with the hand movements or realia.
? Produce: the teacher performs the action or points to the object and the students recall the vocabulary word associated to it.
I also use mnemonics (rhymes or songs) to help students memorize vocabulary and grammar, transformation and substitution drills to help practice verb conjugation, and conversation between students to help increase fluency.
Lessons will focus on improving both the students macro skills (listening, reading, speaking, writing) and micro skills (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling). Because lessons have a heavy emphasis on conversation, speaking and listening are focused on to a greater extent. However, depending on a student’s preferred learning style and motivation for learning, this can be altered. For example, if a student is more visual learner or has a more reserved personality, they may prefer learning through writing and reading. This also applies to students that are learning the target language for work and need to communicate through emails frequently.
I believe the teacher’s role is to help guide the students by creating an appropriate curriculum and lessons while providing the scaffolding they need to achieve their language goals. I strive to be a patient and kind teacher that is well-prepared and knowledgeable while still being relatable and providing a
relaxing learning environment. I motivate my students by setting realistic expectations and encouraging their achievements while creating classes they want to attend.
I enjoy getting to know my students well and believe that if the students are able to directly apply the language skills they learn in class, they will be much more motivated to attend class and study. They will also be more eager to step into the role of a great student by taking risks, asking questions, accepting corrections and thinking about the learning process. I incorporate opportunities for self-assessment and peer-assessment to encourage students to think about learning itself and feel more involved in the learning process.
I am very excited to be a part of each student’s language journey and will provide them with the best tools I can to help them learn.