While there are a number of teaching methods, my own personal experience has brought me some first hand knowledge insights. As a 6 year old, my family and I relocated to the United States from Peru. I had already acquired my 1st Language, Spanish, and I was about to learn a new language in a new environment. My first few months learning English were challenging, my peers were mostly English-only speakers and, in order for me to get along, I had to learn English in a hurry.
Going through the TEFL course, exposed me to a number of teaching methods, and it made me recall my own learning experience. In particular the Audio-Lingual Method, my peers without realizing were teaching me English, in this manner. I was presented with a number of situations, such as, playing, eating, hanging out, and school, were I would watch intensively to their behavior and mimic to get the desired responses. They also would be quick to correct my pronunciation as to sound like them. This method was useful and gave me the tools and the confidence, right before, entering school.
At school, I was formally introduced to English grammar and spelling, and also to the Communicative Method. My school mates and I had to consistently communicate to be able to do our school work. My teachers spent time assisting me learning the language, but mostly expected me to do my own learning, while working with my school mates. I really appreciated their efforts and I was quickly thrusted into 100% English courses with no Spanish spoken.
My own learning experiences have prepared me to teach English to others, my approach will be as follows and it would depend on the student’s English knowledge.
For new students, my approach would rely heavily on the Audio-Lingual Method, focusing on, speaking, listening, pronunciation to get my students to a basic level understanding so that they can communicate with others in a meaningful way. At this stage as a teacher, I would be very hands on, the student would be expected to follow my lead and class materials. The use of Spanish would be allowed to confer meaning when other strategies have been spent.
As the students make progress, in their language acquisition, I would integrate the Communicative method and start to focus on reading, writing, spelling, grammar, to begin having meaningful conversations. As a teacher my role would be to encourage and facilitate communication, I would set up a topic and let them students come up with their original positions all in English, very rarely, if ever, Spanish would be allowed. Interlanguage will be monitored as I introduce new vocabulary and the meaning for the specific topic being discussed, the student is to learn the new vocabulary and use it in other situations.
Going back to my experience, I was motivated to learn English as I had no choice, either I learned English or I had no friends. I understand my students are choosing to learn English. It is important for me, as teacher, to understand why they want to learn English, what motivates them. is it an upcoming trip, certification exam, job search, living abroad? My teachings will take these motivations into account, as I want my students to feel that they are learning for their desired purpose. This is to keep them motivated and consistency moving forward in their new language acquisition.
As I get know my students, I want to use their preferences, likes, and dislikes to create course materials that are relevant to them. This will keep me, as a teacher, and them interested in their ongoing learning process. Since there are a number of different type of students, children, teenagers, and adults; I will use props, games, age-appropriate themes, whatever it takes, to keep our classes interesting, engaging, and adaptable. Always with the goal of learning something new in every class. There will be an overall syllabus, to set up objectives, that will be adaptable based on my students immediate goals.
I will use technology, as a resource, to assist my students. From day one, I want to have a record of their English proficiency, be it an individualized check list or, better yet, a recording of our English conversations, so we can together monitor their learning as we move forward. It is important to me, that we together evaluate their progress. I want my students to be fully participants to make me and themselves accountable of their English learning. This is based on the formative assessment method, in which we are measuring their learning on an ongoing basis.
My experience, as a young man, of learning English in a new environment has given me a personal insight into how to teach English. Again, based on the student’s level of English, I would focus on the Audio Lingual Method for beginners, and move on to the Communicative Method for intermediate and advanced students. My role is to be their partner in their new language acquisition, to use all the tools I acquired through the TEFL course, and to use my own individual bilingual perspective. My classes will be dynamic and based on the students motivations with the clear goal of learning English.