Knowing that my reflections upon teaching and learning are somewhat recent and unexprienced, and also welcoming constructive criticisms and better approaches in the name of bringing humans closer, I take upon the challenge of making my own those virtues left by others in education while aiming to transcend positively onto others.
This being said I attempt to explain what I would want students to learn. In the broadest of the ways it would be my prerogative to accelerate and exteriorize the innate capabilities of communication that any given student has.
To contribute to the infinite task of better communication between people would be the ultimate goal.
Considering the fact that language is the main vehicle for communication and that English today is one of the strongest links between cultures, it is evident that learning English is a growing interest and teaching a challenging activity.
In order to achieve better results I consider necessary for a teacher to know and study its students needs and expectations in order to tailor a strategy that efficiently helps them to achieve communicative success. This includes in first place correctly assessing about the age of the learners, their number, their personalities, wishes and expectations. Only after a teacher finds this out he or she is able to prioritize between the productive (speaking and writing) and receptive (listening and reading) skills he wants to transmit. It would be an Ideal scenario for me as a teacher to transmit equally productive and receptive skills but reality reveals that this is mere wishful thinking.
From my humble point of view I would say that my method would give generally a more relevant position to the areas of language that refer to vocabulary and pronunciation since they seem not only to be the most basic and instinctual areas of language but also thouse invery high demand.
Again, It is of my consideration that the type of syllabus must depend on the goals that students and teachers set for themselves. In any case, when it comes down to what would be the base of my syllabus I would again aim for a balance between structure, dialogue, or lexical based lesson plans.
In order to achieve this, I agree with the Oxbridge method that includes in every session structure, vocabulary and topic activities in order to address the three main categories that englobe language learning. The goal is to reach a higher hit rate amongst my students. A session in this sense includes the assumption of the students level and therefore a correct timing and pace for each class.
An example for a single session would include Hammers insight on engaging, study and activation of knowledge in students. It would also entail a correct control of pace and time distribution.
In this sense it is necessary to talk about the minimum unit of a class which is the activity. It is my opinion that for a session to be proper and complete it must address at least the three different types of activities which are those that address structure, vocabulary and a topic. (structure: provide learners with grammar patterns for learning and using correctly English.- vocabulary: is meant to improve students lexicon and pronunciation abilities. âtopic: are aimed to improve fluency and activate knowledge.) Also we must not forget the importance of a brief introductory warm up for each class and at the end a conclusion stage that would give students a clear vision of what thieve learned and me another tool to grade my students..
Example: L2 class
Quick questions 5 min.
Structure activity 1. 15 min.
Show students the adjective TL and make the associate with pictures.
Vocabulary activity 1. 10 min.
Cut out months of the year and make students associate with pictures of the different seasons.
Topic activity 1. 20 min
Read a simple text to students about an engaging subject and incentive them to give opinions about it.
Structure activity 2. 10 min
Cut images and articles and make students say simple sentences about them using the correct articles
Vocabulary activity 2. 15 min
Cut out means examples of means of transport and make students mach them with their type (water, ground, air)
Topic activity 2. 10 min
Read students a simple article about another engaging subject that stirs a debate and make them take sides and convince each other about their benefits.
Conclusion and analysis. 5 min
Make premeditated questions about the whole lesson in order to see how much they absorbed.
When it comes to the different roles that a teacher or learner might adopt it is of my opinion that the teacher should be a director of a class but he or she should also work as partners with students in the teaching and learning process. I believe that both teachers and students should initiate interaction and that students should play a an active role in the management of their new knowledge by self correcting and constantly attempting to successfully communicate. Once again finding the the balance between the students profile, his role and that of the teacher should be the key to a successful student teacher relationship.
It is also very relevant to mention the attitude which a teacher should adopt when approaching teaching. In this sense this factor englobes a very broad range of subjects such as: playfulness of the activities, weather you call each student by name, the teachers confidence and therefore lack of hesitation, his or hers level of improvisation, the clearness of his or hers instructions, his or her tone of voice, his or her politeness, his or her involvement of all students regardless of their level of dominance and personality traits, the atmosphere of their classroom, Their body language, The correct monitoring of the students progression and their feedback as well as a proper dress code. In this sense I would argue that the teachers attitude would greatly condition that of the students. On top of the mentioned above I think that the most important aspect of a teachers attitude is that regarding the motivation that he or she inspire upon their students
Another important aspect to consider when approaching a teaching scenario would be the correct assessment of your students age and level because that should modify some aspects of your teaching approach and activities. The age factor for example doesn't determine a higher or lower success probability but does determine a different learning process. Weather a student knows a second language or not might also affect the teaching and learning process in terms of language interference. Other things that definitely vary according to students profiles are the pace of their learning, their practice outside of the class possibilities and their patience.
As for the materials used in class it is of my interpretation that a the most efficient way to introduce target language is by demonstrating meaning by realia, pictures or pantomime in order for the students to associate meaning directly without translating. It is also of great importance for students to practice their new vocabulary through complete sentences and evaluations imply the correct usage of language and not the knowledge known about it.
Another aspect to take into consideration is that of the affective factors that might interfere with a good class. In this sense we must say that an affective factor refers to the emotional states that will definitely play a part in the teaching learning process. When it comes to language acquisition a good teacher should reduce negative affective factors by doing activities that build a better group dynamic and in general push students to forget the affective factors that would become obstacles in the learning process.
When it ones to the assessment of learning outcomes it is also of essential importance for a teacher to have good error analysis skills in terms of modality, (speaking, writing, reading and listening.) linguistic levels, (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and style) form, (omissions, insertions, or substitutions) type, ( systematic errors or occasional) cause ( weather if its due to interference or inter-language) or norm vs system. All of the mentioned above play a fundamental roll when it comes to anticipating students problems.
There is no doubt in my mind that there is a lot to gain from error analysis since it would help teachers know what they have successfully taught and what they haven't in order to remedy mistakes and also to provide a better path for the dessing of future plans.
Interlanguage is that system built buy learners which is different both from their mother tongue and the second language. If a teacher correctly deciphers this particular system for each student he will have higher possibilities of understanding students problems and addressing them weather it is related to borrowing patterns or extending them.