In order to design a teaching method several factors must be taken into account to successfully create a method that is both personalized to the student as well as broad enough to apply to a wide spectrum of students. Several aspects to be considered are what the institution believes to be of value for the students to learn, what the students themselves deem valuable, how interactions in the classroom would happen, and how learning outcomes would be assessed. An approach to teaching English is one that thoroughly weighs all of these aspects and successfully integrates them to create a method that is both adaptable as well as successful.
The first aspect that is helpful to consider is the motivations that the students have for learning the language. This is helpful because it provides the institution with valuable information as to the subjects and vocabulary that should be of particular importance while designing a lesson plan. This is not to say that these will be the only subjects that the lesson plan will cover because the ultimate goal is that the student has a basic understanding of all areas of the language, and not just of words and constructs used solely in the office. Therefore the language institution should aim to provide students with lexicon that will allow them to discuss topics in many different situations. This being said, particular importance will be given to the area that the student deems as important as given by their motivations for learning the language.
If a students motivation for learning a language is for business purposes a different subject matter will have to be introduced than for a student whose primary motivation for learning a language is for dating. Students who wish to learn English or any other language for business purposes will need to be taught different vocabulary as well as more formal expressions than a student whose motivation is for dating. Although this does not mean that they will be taught entirely different things. There is obviously some amount of crossover in vocabulary and well as the general structure of the language between the two seemingly separate topics. There will be a lot of similar grammar taught in these different situations because it is important to have a a good grasp on the rules that govern a language regardless of the motivation for learning the language. This being said, students must be taught to adopt a much more formal manner of conversing in the target language in the office than they would while on a date.In order to teach the students in a manner that will best prepare them to communicate in their new language it is paramount to know their motivations for learning the language.
The next important aspect to consider is the structure of the course and the manner in which classroom interactions will take place. A structure that focuses on conversation is best when the ultimate goal of learning the language is being able to converse in the target language. Therefore the role of the teacher is to facilitate the conversation and to ensure that the language is spoken correctly. It is quite important for a teacher to grade their language depending on the level that they are teaching. More simple words and sentence structure must be used to teach a lower level than someone at a higher level. It is important that both the teacher and the students speak in the language they are trying to learn. Although it may be quicker to explain to a student in their own language the meaning of a particular concept; they certainly will not retain the memory as strongly as if they came to understand it in the target language. In the early phases of learning the language the teacher may have to talk more than in the later stages because the students do not yet have a large pool of vocabulary from which to draw, but as the students develop a greater ability to express ideas the role of the teacher may change and they may speak slightly less because the ultimate goal is that the students spend the maximum amount of time conversing in the target language while doing so correctly. A teacher must be careful not to overwhelm students while correcting their errors, but also must not allow repeated errors to become a pattern. This is a delicate balance that must be considered and requires considerable practice in order to master.
The structure of the class would be based mainly around completing a variety of different activities that reinforce the concepts being presented. At the lower levels a larger quantity of activities such as fill in the blank and answering simple questions would be used. As the students progress to a slightly higher level a larger quantity of activities such as role playing can be used. Role playing at a higher level is particularly important because it allows students to interact in a much more dynamic way. In doing so students are able to develop a fluidity and a more natural manner of speech that will prepare them to use their new language in many different circumstances.
The structure of the course must also contain a balanced quantity of the different language areas: grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling. If any one of these aspects is missing it will be impossible for the student to obtain a good grasp on the language as a whole. In order to practice and utilize these language areas students will need to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing as well.
It is also important to consider the age of the students when designing your approach to teaching the class; obviously children will not be taught exactly the same as adults. It is proven that children and adults learn and develop in slightly different ways and therefore a teaching method must be tailored to the age of the students. Many activities that children enjoy might seem childish to adults. Also activities that are meant for adults may be boring for children. Considering this information a language academy must take special care to tailor to the needs of different age groups and to separate students by age group.
Another important theme that must be integrated into any successful language program is assessment of the students progress. This assessment does not need to provide the students with an actual grade but it should be done in order to ensure that students are progressing at an acceptable rate and that they are being taught at the correct level. It it also important to access progress in order to ensure that students in the class are at a similar level of proficiency. If they are not at similar levels of proficiency than students must be moved to different level classes so that all students have the ability to progress at the maximum rate possible. This assessment would also have to take into account the specific goals of the student. If the studentÂ´s goal is to pass a test that requires writing proficiency than assessing a studentÂ´s writing ability is of the utmost importance; although it should be clarified that this does not mean that only writing proficiency would be tested, but rather that writing proficiency would receive more importance when accessing the students proficiency. Assessment of progress should be done frequently to ensure that students are not falling behind and that a change in teaching method is not needed.
Not only should the age group of the students be considered when deciding on the teaching method that should be used, but also how each student, regardless of their age, best learns. Many people learn in very diverse but equally effective manners. For example one student may be a very visual learner and thus the teacher should incorporate many pictures and videos into the lesson plan. Other students may learn better while reading texts. Therefore the teacher should utilize whichever form best suites the students and their needs. This is not to say that students will simply read texts or watch videos, but rather texts and videos can be used to spark conversation and present basic material. This shows the importance of having dynamic teachers that are capable of teaching in many different ways and changing style as the conditions warrant. The ultimate goal of a language course is to provide students with the ability to utilize their new language. Therefore whichever teaching method best aids the student in obtaining this goal should be utilized.
It has been shown that there a plethora of factors that must be considered when designing a teaching approach.If all of theses factors are not concurrently taken into consideration than successful development of a teaching method is completely impossible. When designing a method the students goals as a whole should be heavily weighed and every aspect of the teaching method that is implemented should be done in the interest of the student having the best understanding and progressing in their ability as quickly and thoroughly as possible.