As Frank Smith said " One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way."
There are many different theories that influence our way of learning but the three main ones influence us the most. The first one is Behaviourism, it was founded in 1950s and based on Pavlov’s research that he did with hid dog. He came up with the result that people are learning through trial and error and building connections between stimuli and responses. The second one is Cognitivism, was founded in the 1960s it focus on learning through activities that stimulates memory, knowing and problem solving. Finally the third one is Contructivism was founded by Piaget and Vygotsky in the 1980s, it places emphasis on building on previous knowledge, skills, believes and concepts.
In terms of methods there are different ones that can be used such as Direct, Audio-Lingual, Callan, Silent, Suggestopedia and Total Physical Response. I personally, depending on the age group, would use these methods: For Kids I would go for TPR, Suggestopedia, Visual and Body Intelligent; Total physical response (TPR) is a language –teaching method developed by James Asher, it is based on the coordination of language and physical movement and it doesn’t involve any stress, just repetition. This method also works very well with complete beginners. Suggestopedia is another great tool in teaching, because it involves relaxing atmosphere, classical music and is compared with bedtime story telling time. For teenagers I would use very similar to previous methods, but also I would add more vocabulary, more dialogs and role plays, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences. Interpersonal is the ability to understand another person’s moods, feelings, motivations, and intentions and intrapersonal is the ability to understand oneself and to practice self-discipline.
For adults I would add English for specific purposes and Linguistic intelligences. English for specific purposes is very common request, because a lot of companies are exporting products and facilities abroad and working business people need to travel and communicated and in today’s world English is the main business language.
Also there are affective factors that we need to consider when teaching, like motivation, personality, opportunity and environment. The most important factor for me would be motivation, this is a key for learning and to help students to get motivated there are few simple things teacher can do: Being positive- teacher needs to bring a good energy to the class, by being positive and enthusiastic you help your students to feel the same way and you have more fun when concentrating on a positive . Praising students- there are many different the teacher can praise students, for example creating star board, and with every good participation or behaviour in class students can earn the star.
building a strong rapport, having realistic expectations and making fun and engaging classes. Personality would be the second most important factor because the teacher can adapt activities, teaching styles and techniques to students and help them to bring the best potential. The third one would be opportunity where the teacher needs to make sure that all students get the same attention and are able to participate in the class. And the last one is environment, very important also, that we need to feel comfortable in the class room, then it will encourage the learner to produce language.
Looking at the teachers roles I would go for three very important types: need analyst – the teacher who determines the needs and goals of students and helps to accommodate by developing the syllabus and class/course structure; the second one is facilitator – the teacher that organises the classes to be student centred, helps with the guidance through classes and teach students to be independent and in control of their learning; and the third one would be a playmaker- the teacher who would organise and prepare classes with a lots of fun activities. In my opinion these roles can facilitate teacher to reach the best results. And with a help of Mnemomics, correct syllabus, right language grading and teachers prospective I can see that it would be very possible to achieve. In the age group of 4-6 years teachers has to be more animated, use short and sharp activities, use gimmicks and have more TPR. Then in the age group of 7-12 years the teacher needs to give clear structure for the lessons, expose different cultures and set rules for class management. The next age group are the seniors/teenagers, the teacher needs to act like a role model, use humour and moving activities. Finally the last age group is the adults and with them the teacher needs to be more specific in terms of what they want to learn and achieve in class. Considering the roles of students I would like to help them to become great communicators and self managers. These two qualities are great for self development and self motivation.
As a future English teacher I am concentrating on “Learning to communicate in L2” approach. Why? Because I think that the most important part of learning a new language is to first be able to communicate in all life situations and being able to enjoy that language. To prepare a good syllabus for communication approach I would be using function based syllabus ( socializing, question asking/answering, directions) and situation based syllabus (real/imaginary situations in post office, shop, cinema). To do that we need to focus on macro skills of speaking and listening and micro skills of vocabulary and pronunciation. To communicate in a different language you not necessary need to master the grammar, it is important to know some of it but not for beginners. By teaching English to others I would like them to like new language, to use it as early as possible and not to get frustrated, because that’s when people lose their motivation. And by concentrating a lot on speaking and vocabulary students will have that freedom and opportunity to do so.
Class and lesson structure. There is an array of material that can be use to make the class more engaging and I would pick few such as videos, written notes or stories. Other material such as newspapers, advertisement or maps could be used in different situations .All the classes must be structured as engaging as possible, activities needs to be interesting and up to date materiel should be used. Regarding the class structure again to increase engagement I place the chairs and tables in a semi circle shape also known as moon shape. This helps to get full attention to the teachers and creates dialogue between students. Throughout the course I would use two types of assessment: Formative – which will help teacher to gather all the information about the student strengths and weaknesses and help to adapt lesson planning better and fixed point assessment which would tests students at the beginning and the end of the course. Homework needs to be more innovative and interesting. I think that traditional homework is not the right way to go with languages, I would suggest to record some fun real life situations or to research some interesting information about upcoming topics. When learning a new language the best is not to use your native language an translate it all the time, it’s better to try to explain by using other words and synonyms.
To conclude I’m looking forward to my new career and in being an ELS teacher.I want to help other people to learn another language to improve their lifestyle. As per Frank smith’s quote I do believe that learning new language ill open up world and understanding of new cultures. I also gave a greater opportunity for people to improve their career.