Deanna Smith
Certified English teacher profile

Deanna Smith TEFL certificate Deanna TEFL certificate


I'm currently at a point in my life to have the opportunity to choose more meaningful work than just earning money. I worked for 17 years in dentistry and public health. Then I transitioned into the computer industry. I had my own business for 19 years primarily supporting computer networks for surgeons. I am also an accomplished fused glass artist. I have had my art work in major galleries in Scottsdale and have been commissioned for custom pieces many times. My children are now grown, busy on career paths of their own. I am very committed to helping our youth develop their futures in a positive direction. I have strived to be a mentor and role model, particularly for girls seeking to work in technology. I have spent many years as a volunteer in youth risk prevention programs. I hope to continue to help and inspire our youth, regardless of where my path takes me.


Spanish - at a P2-P3 level Computer - expert, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer Juried Fused Glass Artist

My teaching approach


English may not be the most spoken language in the world, but it is dominant language for business, technology and science. This is especially true for high technology, like computer science and medicine. Books, conferences, proceedings, journals, and almost all scientific literature are in English.  All of the core information worldwide about science and technology is in English.  I have many years’ experience in medicine and information technology.  My goal is to be instrumental in providing opportunities in the sciences to more people by teaching English to these learners.  My deep understanding of these industries includes not only terminology, but also their culture, requirements and idiosyncrasies.  My goal is to become an ESP, English for Special Purposes, teacher.  As an ESP teacher I would aspire to helping my learners acquire the language skills necessary for spoken interaction, reading, and writing of appropriate English.  This implies language that is professional, accurate and effective.

English for Special Purposes - ESP

ESP is a discipline within Applied Linguistics that must be a learner-centered approach to English language teaching.  The methodology for teaching ESP is based on the specific needs of the learner. ESP learners have an immediate requirement for a specific use of English for real communicative purposes.  ESP course design is determined by investigating the purposes of the learners and the communicative needs arising from these purposes.  As such, to design an ESP course, a needs analysis of the learners must be performed. This assessment should include an analysis that determines which language skills are most needed by the learners, and my syllabus would be designed accordingly.  Therefore, syllabus and concentration should consider language in context rather than teaching solely grammar and language structures. In other words, English is taught integrated into a subject matter area that is important to the learners.  Time they spend will be focused and goal orientated toward this agenda.  

Needs Analysis

Successful ESP courses provide learners with the ability to apply language skills to their novel situations.  The use of acquired skills in real life communications are vital parts of ESP syllabus.  In order to create an appropriate syllabus, a pre-course needs analysis should be done to assess the specific requirements and goals of the learners.  This analysis should determine:

  1. Target situation for language use
  2. Learners’ current language level and experiences in its use
  3. Learners’ necessary skills to acquire
  4. The gap between #2 and #3

The data collection methods for needs analysis can include questionnaires, discussions, observations, and assessments.  

ESP Syllabus

In designing an ESP syllabus, the following should be included:

  1. A framework of required skills and knowledge
  2. The sequence of planned learning
  3. Defined expectations for specific assignments and activities
  4. Methods used to measure what has been achieved

In more general terms, an ESP syllabus should include language skill needs, learning methods and analysis.  I was interested in creating a Task-based syllabus, in an attempt to focus on communication and on activities medical professionals engage in.  My goal is to help learners improve both their medical knowledge and language skills in practical situation of communications.


Level:  Intermediate
Skills:  Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing

Goal:  Learners will be able to apply appropriate language and expression used in medical settings such as: patient consultations, meetings, phone conversations and professional letters.

Medical Vocabulary Exercise
To understand general rules of medical vocabulary such as Latin prefixes and suffixes
Learn commonly used prefixes and suffixes toward developing knowledge of patterns to assist understanding of medical terminology

Various Puzzles                      

•  Labeling pictures
• Matching  terms and definitions                                      •  Categorizing (e.g... diseases, symptoms, body parts)       

•  Word searches

Complete and discuss various puzzles to review patterns with prefixes and suffixes
50 minutes
Evaluate puzzles for correct combinations and answers
Patient consultation conversations
To understand and correctly use expressions used in patient consultation conversations, including tone.
To use informative and clarification expressions.
• To present a treatment plan
• To ask for understanding  and provide clarification                                 • To offer alternative treatment options
Vocabulary for discussion (procedures, treatment phases, medical terminology, etc)
• Phrases for conversations
• Conditionals
• Modals
Role playing presentation of a treatment plan to a patient
•  Agreeing / Disagreeing
•  Giving opinions
•  Interrupting / Dealing with interruptions
•  Asking for clarification
60 minutes
Spoken test                    • Assess correct use of tone, context, vocabulary and grammar. 
Letters to referring doctors
To be able to write letters using professional language and appropriate information with correct grammar and vocabulary.
To be able to write letters using professional language and appropriate information with correct grammar and vocabulary.
• To utilize correct format and content creating the letter
• To use correct grammar                                    • To express information in the letter in a professional manner and tone.
Vocabulary for written correspondence (procedures, treatment plan, diagnosis, medical terminology, etc)
• Phrases for explanation or treatment plan or referral thank you
• Conditionals
• Present simple tense

Writing letters to referring doctors               •  "Thank you for your referral" letter
•  Treatment Plan Letter 

•  Follow-up treatment with referring doctor letters

50 minutes
Assessment of letters composed                    • Assess correct use of tone, context, vocabulary and grammar. 



To determine the how best to teach ESP, I have reviewed several methods.  Grammar-Translation Method focuses on vocabulary and grammatical rules.  ESP learners’ goals are to communicate effectively in the context of their specific environment.  In general, grammar and vocabulary will be honed, not newly introduced for this level of learner. The Audio-Lingual method is learning through focus on hearing the sounds.  Dialogues to master grammatical patterns are incorporated.  ESP learners, particularly at a level for professionals, would benefit from learning tone and intonation addressed in this method.  The teacher has a role of minimal involvement using the Silent Way, providing direction primarily through nonverbal gestures. This method is inappropriate for professionals learning ESP because specific language skills need to be enhanced for ESP learners.  This is accomplished to provide them a higher degree of success in their environment.  The Direct Method involves language communication, including listening, speaking, reading and writing.  This method is extremely appropriate for ESP learners, as well as Content-based Instruction which reflects the needs of their field.  Incorporating the Communicative Approach will address their need to learn appropriate tone and context.  In summary, the best method for ESP learners would involve a combination of approaches that focus on practice of the language in the context of their needs.


Learning is certainly different for adults compared younger learners.  A major difference is the wealth of experience of adults, which can be a rich learning resource. In general, adults are more independent and self-directed.  They also expect learning to be meaningful.  Children tend to be motivated by rewards and recognition.  I feel there are specific factors that need to be employed for the success of adult language learners.  These include determination and consistency, as well as exposure to the proper language form.


Teachers can facilitate motivation by helping learners identify short-term goals and reflect on their progress and achievements.  This can be accomplished by providing them with self-assessment checklists to identify skill strengths and weaknesses.  Other tools might include weekly checklists to track their progress toward learning goals and learning diaries.  This type of self-monitoring can help learners build autonomy and take responsibility for their own learning.  Furthermore, it circumvents the negative dynamics that could occur when using competitive scenarios between learners.  Using varied and challenging instructional activities helps learners stay focused and engaged in instructional content.  I believe that teachers should create an environment that is conducive to learning by encouraging group cohesion in the classroom.  Pair and group work activities can provide learners with opportunities to share information and build rapport.  

I contend that one of the greatest responsibilities a teacher has is to create the proper atmosphere for learning.  The tone and energy of the classroom must be appropriate for the specific learners.  The teacher’s attitude has a significant impact on the learning capability of the learners.  Being mindful of this, the teacher must always provide support and encouragement.  The classroom should be a place of low stress, including ensuring that learners feel safe to engage.  Learners should be acknowledged for their efforts and contributions.  This positive reinforcement will provide additional motivation for the learners. 


The chart below illustrates how the components previously discussed are used to develop an effective ESP course.

My goal and vision are to provide opportunities to more people in sciences and technology by assisting them in learning the language skills they need to be confident, effective and successful.  I am committed to being instrumental in providing these skills to students to achieve their goals.  I feel a teacher’s greatest reward is being witness to a learner succeeding at achieving their own goals!