Students have different reasons why they want to learn English. Some want to learn it so that new doors open up in their careers and others want to learn it for academic reasons. Whatever the student’s reason is for learning English, it’s the teacher’s job to help their students reach their objective goal. As a future teacher, I have my own preferences of approaches that I will use with my students that I believe will benefit them the most.
My teaching style will vary according to student’s goals. For example, if I have a student whose goal is to learn English to advance in their business career, I would teach using activities having to do with business or other related material. I would provide vocabulary and grammar structures they will be using in the future in their career and that they would greatly benefit from. When teaching a student that is learning English for an academic reason I would first find out what his academic goal is. For instance, if the student intends to take the Cambridge Exam I would focus on the material that he will be tested on by providing tasks and activities guiding him towards passing his exam.
There are many approaches and methods that different teachers prefer over others or feel that one way is the best way of teaching. I strongly believe that from all the approaches and methods out there you can take a small part of each one and sculpt it to your student’s learning needs, but there’s one that I would practice with my students more than others. I feel that the communicative approach is one of the best teaching practices out there because it focuses on all four Macro skills, which are listening, speaking, reading and writing. In my way of thinking this teaching approach is extremely affective because it focuses on communicating through target language, which is really important if you want your student to become fluent. The usage of authentic material is a must. Another abundant advantage from this approach is letting the learners use personal experiences and outside school practices in the classroom towards their learning of the target language. For example I would let my students role play or have a debate about an interesting topic that happens in real-life situations. A good role-play would be “explaining to your father / mother why you arrived home past your curfew” or “why you received poor grades”. This role-play would be suitable for children and teens. I would play the father role and the student would play the son role. We would exchange sentences relating to the topic. Depending on the level of the student the sentences would be simple or complex. Once the students get an idea of the exercise they would practice with their peers. A good debate topic for adults would be “ pros and cons of smoking cigarettes “ I would try to select a topic that relates to reality so students would be motivated to learn. I would divide the class into two groups, the pro group and the con group. I would have each student participate by giving a sentence relating to his point of view he was assigned. I feel these activities would keep the students focused and wanting to learn, because they wouldn’t be learning boring material out of a text book where students could easily lose interest or motivation towards learning English. A method that I believe is one of the most effective is the Direct method. It focuses on developing oral communication skills while covering the four macro skills students need to learn. The usage of the student’s native language is abstained, which means you encourage the students to not use their native language and have them practice thinking in English. This means instructions, grammar, vocabulary is all taught orally in the target language. The students should be using oral communication for 80% of the lesson. One of the activities in this method I feel passionate towards and feel that works great with students is the usage of Realia. Realia are objects and visual aids that help teach the students effectively. In my perspective Realia creates a strong link between objects and learning new vocabulary words. It promotes the learning of new vocabulary words to be stored in the long-term memory in a students mind. For example, for kids I would bring to class four different types of balls: a basketball, tennis ball, soccer ball and baseball. The children would pass the balls around the class and practice saying a simple sentence with each one. Adults can do something similar but with objects related to their learning goal. Activities that use Realia are great for visual and kinesthetic learners because they learn best through visual aids and via experience. This activity keeps learners active and motivated to learn English. There are different types of learners such as visual, auditory and kinesthetic. I will attempt to cater to all types of students in order to help them retain information.
Throughout my life I’ve had a few unforgettable teachers because they played a big role in my learning and retention. There are many roles a teacher can take which effects how a student learns. There are two roles that I believe will benefit students the most. The playmaker role is a teaching style that my personality fits best. As playmaker I would organize fun productive activities that all my students are able to participate in. For example, playing a game of charades with new vocabulary words would be a great game because each student would act out a vocabulary word and another student would have to guess what the word is. I would guide them to make realizations by guessing the right vocabulary word. This activity would make students think critically, which aids them in language retention. Another role that fits me is the psychologist role because I like to help others when they are in need of help. If I see a student is struggling in class because they are having trouble with something in life I would try to make a connection with them and figure out a solution to their problem. In my opinion a teacher sets their students up for success by giving them their full attention and giving them a chance to discover solutions on their own. Being a good teacher is a big part of learning, however, students need to play their role as good scholars to be successful as well. I would appreciate students that were communicators and self-managers. I feel that these two roles are tremendously effective as a student because in the communicator role students are active with their learning at all times by communicating with peers and the teacher in the target language. A self-manager student applies himself to learning by being as intrinsic motivator. Their desire to learn comes within them. Teacher and student roles play is a big part in the success of a course.
To organize a course I would use a function-based syllabus. In my point of view this style of syllabus is the best because it makes the class time productive by using the three stages of elements: engaging, studying, and activating the target language. I would divide the class in three sections by using communicative activities. I’d start with a warm up, cover the target language, and review. In the warm up I would ask quick questions to get the students attention and switch their native language mode to English mode. Once the students are warmed up I would do a communicative activity that would cover the target language that relates to the function of that day. For example, if the function is “asking for directions” I would provide vocabulary words that are related to it. For adults I would use role-play to practice asking for directions. I would be a worker at a tourist booth and the student would be a lost tourist needing help. For children the activity would be more of a game or a fun song. For higher-level students the vocabulary would be more difficult. The difficulty of all activities would be altered by beginner, intermediate, and higher level. Once the student reaches a higher level I would stress accuracy the most. The third part of the class would be reviewing the learning objectives that were covered during class to see if the students understand the material. Providing the correct appropriate activities to different age groups is just as important as providing the correct activities to different levels.
I would grade the student’s progress by using the continuous assessment because this gives the student time to grow and improve their skills with the language. I wouldn’t want my students to worry about preparing for one type of test that would take place at the end of the course. If I did this practice I would worry that my students would be discouraged to learn English because their success would depend on one test. I want my students to be challenged but have a low stress level knowing they have room to improve if necessary.
In conclusion, teaching is a great responsibility because it’s my job to make students succeed in the world by learning. I will try to make the experience of learning a new language as fun, interesting and positive as possible while catering to the student’s main goal to learning English. Teaching while using the communicative approach will help the students be able to communicate with peers inside and outside of class because of the usage of real-life experiences that students might face in the future. By students doing active communication activities the new language will grasp in their minds and store in their long-term memories. This is my philosophy to being a good teacher.