Thomas Howard
Certified English teacher profile

Thomas Howard TEFL certificate Thomas TEFL certificate


Born to English parents but grew up in France. I am fully bilingual in English and French and is a skill I am keen to transfer to my future students. I got my French Baccalaureat in France, then went to the University of Surrey in the UK to study Business Management and Spanish. Currently on placement year in Madrid until June 2014, I am working for Macmillan Publishers in the morning and hoping to become a TEFL teacher for the afternoons.


Languages Sports (football, running) Organisational skils (I was president of the French Society at university)

My teaching approach

Teaching methods

The profession of being a teacher has existed for years and over time, teachers have developed different methods of teaching. There isn’t one correct way of teaching, choosing your teaching style depends more on who you are teaching, what their goals are, rather than on your personal preference. Therefore, in this essay, I am going to talk about different teaching styles such as the grammar-translation method, the direct method, the silent way etc. I will discuss the positive and negative points of each method then will come up with my own method by choosing, in my opinion, what the best points are from the other ones.

First, I am going to talk about the grammar-translation method. This method mainly focuses on studying texts, meaning that the main focus is on reading and writing skills. The students are not allowed to make many, if not any errors, communication is non-existent. This method would particularly be suited for students, for example, whose mother tongue uses a different alphabet, for instance, Arab. If you have to learn the English alphabet, then this method would be the correct one to use. However, for someone who is interested in communicating with people, then this method wouldn’t be appropriate. I personally think that when learning a language, teachers shouldn’t encourage students to use their mother tongue; they need to try and only think in the target language.

The direct method is slightly different to the grammar-translation method. This time, the main emphasis is on learning vocabulary through speech. The students are not allowed to translate through their mother tongue, therefore trying to avoid language transfer. Correct grammar and pronunciation is very important and words are taught through pictures. With this method, teachers use an inductive approach, which means that they have the students find out rules through the presentation of adequate linguistic rules. I think that this is more interesting way of learning grammar than the grammar-translation method because it is a more communicative approach and the most important thing is that students can’t use their mother tongue.

The Audio-lingual method the same kind of method as the direct method but this time, grammar patterns are more important than vocabulary. The purpose of this habit is to learn how to use the language to communicate; the teachers correct the students a lot as this method is based on accuracy. With this approach, students learn the correct structure of sentences before learning vocabulary. In my opinion, I don’t agree with this method because I think that before knowing how to structure sentences, you need to know some vocabulary otherwise you can’t say anything!

The silent way is a very interesting method as the teacher doesn’t speak. The teacher expects the student to try and self-correct, develop their own “inner-criteria for correctness”. This encourages autonomy in the classroom and group corporation. In my point of view, I think this method would be appropriate with more advanced and more mature students. It couldn’t work with beginners, and you couldn’t expect young children to be autonomous. This method is a very good way for practising speaking skills but as the teacher expects the students to correct themselves, I think that some students wouldn’t necessarily pick up on them.

The Suggestopedia’s main goal is to eliminate barriers, such as students thinking that they can’t learn a language, or negative association they have towards studying etc. Therefore, the environment of the class is very cheerful and relaxed and the teachers also use fine arts to facilitate the student’s learning. I think that this is a great way to teach students who aren’t very confident; being taught with this method will enable them to learn the language with trying very hard. However, this method always encourages native language translation which I think should always be avoided when learning a language.

The Total Physical Response approach is a fun way to learn a language. The students follow directions uttered by the teacher and learn by observing the teacher’s actions. This method is fast paste and isn’t meant to be stressful. I think that this method would work well with children, as they will appreciate the games and the general atmosphere of the class. Furthermore, the fast pace should keep them captivated throughout the lesson.

The content-based learning consists in learning the target language in a particular context, students learn specific vocabulary. This method is useful for professionals, for example for doctors who need to learn medical terms. This method would not be good for someone wanting to learn the language in general as the vocabulary would be too restricted.

The communicative method is aimed at encouraging communicative competence. The main focus here is being able to use the language in context and speak fluently. Errors are tolerated, as the main goal is to communicate. I think that this is a great method as it develops the student’s receptive skills (listening and reading), and productive skills (speaking and writing). This is method also enable teachers to use all kinds of activities, such as questionnaires, listening activities etc. In my opinion, this method is suitable for most kinds of learners, as it develops all skills.

The final method is the Callan method. Conversation is the main focus, and this method aims to give confidence to the student right from day one. Learning is based on the student’s memory, as they listen and repeat, read and write and repeat and retain. I think that this is one of the best methods because there is a high speed interaction which allows no time for the student to translate through their mother tongue, grammar is learned implicitly, through repetition, and because of the fast pace of the lesson, there are no silences.

My teaching method would be based on communication; I think that that is the most important thing when coming to learn a language. I would use part of the direct method which doesn’t allow students to use their mother tongue, it is essential not to always try and translate. I also think that encouraging the student and praising them is key, as a teacher, I feel you have to be a mentor and build your student’s confidence up. Therefore, I would also use the Suggestopedia method. In my opinion, being in class should be a fun and enjoyable experience, the total physical response method would enable me to keep the students entertained and captivated. I wouldn’t want my students to consider the English lesson as a chore. My classes would be very enjoyable, I would give the students as much talking time as possible, all new rules would be taught implicitly, meaning that I would teach through examples. Concerning corrections, I would correct the students more if they were doing vocabulary or structure activities as they are based on accuracy and would correct less when they are speaking, as they are practising they’re fluency and I wouldn’t want to interrupt them.

All in all, I am confident that by using my teaching style, which is a mix of several different methods, students would learn fast, speak well, and be confident when using the English language. However, this method would be suitable for someone wanting to communicate but it wouldn’t be adequate for someone for someone who, for example, is very interested in grammar.