My teaching goals are that I want the students to communicate and think in English. If the students are communicating in English among themselves they are in learning faster and gaining acquisition to use the language more than rigid grammar based methods. The areas I will focus on are fluency. This will be achieved by focusing on conversation, so the student can arrive at learning the systems of grammar in a freer approach through natural use of the language. My syllabus would be situation based as the learners will need to be able to use the language in various situations in real life so it is essential that they practise this in class.
I believe that a teacher has many roles he has to fulfil, as every student has different personality and needs. For example a student may lack confidence and need a motivator to give the student self-belief. It is important however that the teacher knows what role he or she is best at fulfilling and considers the best way to help the students learn. The teaching role that best fits my teaching style is a playmaker, in that this job requires the teacher to be step in and assist the students when help is needed. This role is also similar to the guide, since I am there merely to organise the class and games, with the students playing the prominent role in learning for themselves. The STT will be more than the TTT so the students will be speaking more than the teacher, which is always good for student acquisition. I like this due to the face that the students are ones scoring the ‘goals’ themselves, of reaching their target of learning English.
It is also crucial that all the students’ state of mind is understood, so you need to be a psychologist who interprets how they responds to the teacher, the information and other students. An example of using psychology would be being able to identify the students’ body language, from this you can know if the student is bored or engaged with the topic. I think conversationalist approach is effective when the class is responding well to the activities of the class, in understanding the vocabulary, grammar and TL. This is because they will feel confident to use their knowledge to speak with each other about their opinions or ideas on the topic. I think that adapting your style to the people you are teaching is crucial, since everyone has different personalities. If these styles are properly used it allows all the student to work at their best, therefore they and the teacher are reaching and achieving their goals.
There are certain ideas I like from the different methods of teaching students. I like the idea of the learners never being able to use their native language in the classroom in the Direct (Berlitz) method, this will limit the students using language transfer as they will need to quickly answer questions in English, which will help them think in English rather than their native language. I also like that vocabulary is emphasized over grammar. I identify with its purpose of language learning being communication, which I feel is the most important aspect of learning a new language. However certain things with this method are not something I would use, such as pronunciation receiving attention right from the beginning of the course. I do not think this is fair, since students beginning to learn the language should be feel at ease using it, rather than putting pressure on them to pronounce everything correctly. It is more important that they can communicate and use the language than pronounce certain words right.
Suggestopedia is the method I find most effective in employing to teach people. I believe it is essential to form a relationship with the students as the class will respond better to the teacher. This can be done through creating an environment of happiness by doing everything with positive energy. This creates a better learning environment and the students will learn more if they are relaxed and confident. This will lessen the amount of difficulty they have in learning the language. I believe teachers have to be great motivators because a student can feel frustrated if he or she is struggling. Therefore he or she needs indirect positive suggestions integrated into the learning to enhance his or her self-confidence and to convince them that success is achievable. In regard to Suggestopedia I like that mistakes are not instantly corrected. To maximize student learning the person has to learn for themselves when they say something wrong. This is done through the teacher giving hints of the right word, rather than the teacher correcting them every time. Communication is 38% body language and 7% what is said so giving the student positive body language is useful.
I particularly liked the way Suggestopedia uses games where emotional meaning is juxtaposed with logical structure so both sides of the brain are being used. An example of this would be the students learning to use grammar in asking questions by putting together mixed up words in the correct order. Different pictures are put on the words, for example a picture of a match with the word ‘why’, a cake with the words ‘are you’ and dynamite with the word ‘tired’ so if the match went first (Why) and then the dynamite (tired) it would look wrong in both the words and pictures unless you were a terrorist.
Furthermore this method offers the possibility of me starting the syllabus as an initiator being heavily involved in speaking to the students. However as the students’ level improves I take less prominent role in their learning, with them doing most of the talking and me acting as a guide. Suggestopedia believes the student’s learning is improved by having the teacher act as their real partner, as opposed to a teacher who is not one of them. This is why I think this is the method I most identify with. This method is similar to the ESA method where teachers try to arouse the students’ interest and involve their emotions. Students should feel amused, moved, stimulated, and challenged in order to not feel bored. I can implement this by using jokes, visual or verbal, because humour is very important in making the students form positive connections to the language.
I will primarily be using printed texts and activities to teach. However when it is relevant to the topic I will use video. My lesson plan would begin with a structure based activity for 20 minutes, where the students will learn to use grammar through examples. After this they will have vocabulary text, where they will learn new words and converse using these words for 15 minutes. The final activity will be a topic where the students learn phrases and vocabulary based around a certain topic. Using the texts they will be able to give opinions, debate in a role playing games and at the end of all the activities the TL of all the tasks will be refreshed in the student’s mind through questions.
At the end of every activity the students should discuss which words, especially TL, that they found difficult so they understand and use them in conversations next time. My ultimate objective at the end of lessons would be for them to learn TL and understand the ideas of the text well enough to communicate them. I would try to have cultural activities for the students to improve team bonding between themselves and me. I am keen on the idea on trips aiding learning through Total Physical Response. This could be used in a trip to a park, where they learn the TL about activities such as running, bicycling and yoga through observing actions as well as by performing the actions themselves.
The students’ primary role should be communicators because the best way to learn a language is through total immersion and this can be achieved through the students constantly using the language, even if mistakes are made mistakes can be corrected. Their other role should be an imitator when they need to mimic the pronunciation of me when I am reading an activity or helping correct their pronunciation. In regards to correction I feel that non-verbal cues should be used to help the learner realise when she or he is making a mistake. This comes from the fact that I do not want the students to feel negative emotions from the teacher correcting them all the time but rather they is correcting themselves with subtle cues from the teacher.
I will be able to find the students’ needs by identifying their interests, which they express through enjoying to speak about a topic that is close to their hearts. An example of this being a student who worked in the economic sector who was keen to talk about his company, therefore he was keen to be using language in a business context. At the end of every class I would assess student difficulties by writing down all the problems they had with communicating certain words or using grammar. I would also assess the outcomes they did reach by evaluating what they improved in since the last class, an example of this being pronunciation for a word they had previous difficulty with improving.
In regards to the different age groups and levels, I would adapt my ideology to meet the needs to the learner. In the case of children everything will be simpler and less emphasis will be put on pronunciation, as opposed to more important aspect of the kids speaking to me or each other in a foreign language. It is the same with beginner learners, as everything taught will be simple but taught slowly and clearly! The course will be more scripted, as the learners will not be as comfortable using the language in free way. Higher level students will have much less difficulty learning with no restrictions in saying whatever they want. It is important for all levels to model answers, for example telling the students “My name is Joe. What is YOUR (emphasized) name?”
Overall I feel my methodology of teaching will be effective in helping students learn English, creating a good learning environment and will meet the students’ individual needs and goals.