Every student has a specific type of learning style that works best for him or her. Due to this teachers are faced with the challenge of accommodating different types of student learning styles and academic levels, and are forced to implement various teaching methods in order to captivate each student's attention.
For me as a teacher I do not think there is one single teaching method that can or should be used to keep students motivated, engaged and captivated. In lieu of this, my methodology will be the “Direcallan” method, which is simply a synthesis of the direct and callan methods of teaching, but with a few exemptions and the use of constructivism when teaching. I prefer the direct method and callan method together because I think learners need a form of structure to enable them succeed in learning. My goal is to get the students to think in the second language being taught, hence the use of the direct method. The “Direcallan” method will provide the learner with a practically useful knowledge of the language since knowing a language is being able to speak it. Again, because my goal is for the student to communicate in the target language, learn the language and not learn about the language, the callan method will be used practically to help the student gain confidence so they speak the language from the onset.
In addition, I would also incorporate constructivism by using cooperative learning which I think would be beneficial to the students enabling them appreciate individual differences, since questions raised will generate a variety of responses from students. However this would be done preferably with small groups of students and not a large group. The larger the class size, the less individual attention each student receives. In some cases, the students may not even get attention at all from their teachers with large classes. When students are in classes that are considerably larger than they should be, they feel a sense of unrecognizability and they may eventually be deprived of valuable learning experiences and interactions. A small group of student will entreat each student to actively be involved in the learning since each member will have the opportunity to contribute. Small group work allows for students to interact with other students while forcing them to pay attention. Discussions occur, work is talked through, and learning is enhanced.
In my opinion, students will grasp the course material –visual aids - when they are focused, engaged, and interested in the material. It is at this time when students are at their peak point of absorption that they will actually be eager to learn. Students will be allowed to work together and collaborate their ideas, hence enhancing the learning process. It is vital that students are able to formulate their own ideas and opinions, and being able to work with peers certainly facilitates that. Furthermore, students will practice active learning. Students do not learn just by sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments, and spitting out answers. I think to truly learn the material they must to be able to relate it to past experiences and be able to apple it to their daily lives.
Another teaching goal is to ensure my students have the - speaking, listening and reading - skills they will need to make informed and reasonable pronouncements while interacting with native speakers. The only productive skill that will be taught is speaking, with greater focus on receptive skills like listening and reading. There would be very little to almost no focus on grammar since I believe grammar is embedded in a language and more importantly there are just too many grammar rules, which lead to over generalization.
Language areas will primarily be vocabulary and pronunciation. Vocabulary will mainly be taught using demonstration, pictures and objects. Topical teaching will be illustrated with situations where the student speaks naturally and are able to correct their own mistakes. In this regard, the teacher would have to pay attention to students’ progress and actively involve them in learning activities, while offering guidance and praise for effort and accomplishments.
Pronunciation will be given full attention and students will not be given any rules, but will be made to figure out the rules themselves.
The teacher's role as facilitator will be to constantly ask students questions so that they are encouraged to participate in class and correct their mistakes immediately. Nonetheless, the teacher should try to speak as little as possible since the student’s roles as communicators will be required.
With the high speaking content of this approach, the question-answer format and the genuine interactions: the students say what they mean using the language they have learnt or are in the process of learning. The syllabus for this method will be dialogue-based and situation-based. Role-play will usually include tasks like introducing oneself, shopping for everyday items and understanding public announcements in an airport for instance, especially for the beginners level; and for the advanced learners tasks could involve negotiating a pay rise or mediating in a dispute. This will help to emphasize the partner relationship between the teacher and the students. A teacher’s attitude to each student contributes to a good and healthy atmosphere. A good teacher should be sympathetic and treat every individual equally, for the teacher’s expectation and confidence in his/her students may encourage them to work harder and achieve greater success; while the ignorance the teacher shows consciously or unconsciously may do harm to students’ self-image.
The “ Direcallan” method will not include the use of textbooks but rather will foster teacher-student and student-student activities such as reading aloud, question-answer exercises, and conversations.
With this approach, endless repetition will not be practiced since that will easily tire both the teacher and the student. The callan methods alone will essentially bore the students in the long run.
The Direcallan method, on the other hand will be incredibly effective with all ages, beginners, intermediates and advanced learners because students will hear the natural rhythm of English and are also drilled in the correct pronunciation and word order. Beginners are able to gain an immediate grasp of the language with the use of pictures and objects and advanced learners are able to develop the language skills through interaction. Unlike the callan method, this method is designed to give students a good grounding in English.
An example of a lesson plan for this method would be:
1. Each student would have a short reading passage with visual aids or pictures in front of him/her.
2. The students are called on one by one and they read the text loudly and say what they see in the pictures.
3. After the students finish reading the passage and identifying the pictures, they are asked in the target language if they have questions.
4. The teacher answers the students' questions in the target language.
5. The teacher works with the students on the pronunciation.
6. The teacher will request the students to respond to questions asked as quickly as possible in order to avoid language transfer.
7. The students make up their own questions and statements and direct them to other students in the classroom to foster interaction.
8. To promote active participation, students would be required to repeat exactly one or two sentences made by another student.
As it is with most methods of teaching, one common problem students face is not being able to relate course material to the real world. In most of these cases, students feel as if the knowledge they learn is useless and that it is a waste of time to learn the information if it won't benefit them later on in life.
In order to be able to analyze the students’ reasons for learning and affective factors, surveys would be administered to students and to caregivers in the case of children. An interest or motivation survey will be administered to check the reasons the students want to learn the language and which skills they would like to work or improve on. Additionally, a reading and vocabulary survey will also be administered.
A course-level assessment will be used to test student’s level of difficulty. Because this method emphasizes on communicating as a learning outcome, students will be assessed using oral examinations, discussions, debates and group work. Demonstrating knowledge of the language and understanding is an optimal learning outcome, therefore students will be required to be able to identify, describe, relate and recognize visuals and objects through an assessment of role-playing and short answer questions as well.
The Direcallan approach is consistent with the second language acquisition theories and interlanguage because it is directly connected with the target language without translating into the native language. This method maintains that English could be taught without translation, unlike the Grammar-Translation Method. Rather than translating the teaching material, the teacher is expected to directly use the target language in class because a language can best be taught by using it actively in the classroom.