My teaching approach
Language is a living organism constructed by several different parts with all the functions that create a sensible entirety with a purpose of communication. In order to provide a proper ''food'' to keep the language alive, it's essential using it daily by refreshing the vocabulary and engaging in a conversation with other English speakers.
Just as a human body consists of many dfferent organs and systems, which are interconnected, and the whole is disturbed even when just one of them doesn't work properly, the same goes with the language. All parts of the language are of the same importance. Listening, reading, speaking and writing are all important in order to understand a language and use it properly.
From an early history on, languages were used as a tool constructing the bridges between different cultures and countries. Every language has its own peculiarities and difficulties. Every time one speaks a different language, one has to think differently than he/she is accustomed to considering a native language. English language is known as a world wide spoken language with more or less easily apprehendable grammar but a difficult pronounciation for many non native speakers. Furthermore, it consists of a wide range of vocabulary and phrasal verbs that enrich general expression within the English language.
Therefore, it's very important to realize the construction of a language, entering the world with a new different way of thinking, so it's important to understand the very core and ''spirit'' of a particular language. Within the process of teaching English, first and foremost one has to be aware of this phenomena in order to understand the difficulties a learner might have and to find the best method to explain a structure English is made of.
My methods of teaching rely on different parts and skills. Although, speaking practice may be the most important part of learning a new language, my methods stand for usage of the same amount of all the skills including reading, writing, listening and speaking. Of course, it is important to know the background of each student, meaning the motivation and age.Some students may want to learn English for a pure pleasure of learning and talking while others may need it exclusively for a job that requires a lot of writing skills. All these factors have to be considered while teaching. My method should be available to a wide range of people, meaning, it should be available equally to children and adults, beginners or professionals However, methods may be modified a little to adjust accordingly to different students' interests and needs which will be described later on.
Methodology I would use in my classes will be based on motivation and should encourage students to participate actively in classes. Just sitting there passively,listening and taking notes is not useful in comprehending new language. Teacher should use proper tempo and vocabulary according to students' level of knowledge, as musch as speaking clearly and avoiding slang talk. Furthermore, usage of native learners' language should be avoided as much as possible, although this shouldn't be a strict rule because sometimes it is almost impossible to explain certain structures speaking only English, so I think it should be allowed sometimes to use certain words just as a ''joker card'' in order to improve students' comprehension. After all, teachers are here for students and not vice versa but, it should be avoided as much as possible, especially on higher levels when it should be avoided completely.
The first language we all learned from the moment we were born was visual and body language – the universal language of humanity. Therefore, my classes will contain a large amount of visual aids that can help in better understanding of English. It's also important to give a feedback to learner, to acknowledge him/her what, when and why they make errors and mistakes, but in a way that motivates them to correct themselves by becoming aware of their mistakes and at the same time it's important to remind them about the positive sides of their skills and progress they make.
Grammar is definitely important part of a language and it should be taught as a foundation of a language. After all, you cannot decorate home if you didn't build a house. Nevertheless, I wouldn't use grammar vocabulary and wouldn't teach strict harsh rules of grammar but instead grammar should be explained through examples provided by visual aids and practice through story telling. Reading skill should also be included in order to understand connection and difference between written and spoken word. Listening should be provided through music and videos. It is important for learners' to hear different accents and there is no better tool than music and/or movies to memorize vocabulary and get accustomed to different accents.
Speaking part is definitely the biggest challenge for students. Many of them are ashamed to speak in a different language even if they have a certain amount of knowledge. It is important to engage them in speaking activities such as role play, to give them activites similar to real life situations such as ordering food in restaurants, doing shopping, going to a bank, seeing a doctor etc. Also, they should be enocurage to listen and speak to each other rather than just speaking to a teacher.
In ideal conditions, lessons should be held in fixed hours and classrooms where they would attend their classes. From my own experience, I realized that those kind of conditions provide students to feel more comfortable and relaxed and also they gain confidence faster this way.
Regarding the teacher's role, the teacher is a guide through process of learning. Teacher should provide interesting materials and keep the dynamics in classes but when I say dynamics, it doesn't mean that a teacher should be a clown or a performer but instead dynamics is a term that contains contrast between the fun part and the ''serious'' part of a lesson. Nothing that's too extreme has long term results. A ''guide'' teacher should keep the balance between what's considered fun and boring. Also, he/she should include different types of exercises, materials and media to keep a high level of interest, so to say, a student should be motivated and looking forward to his/her classes.
Learners' needs and interests
As it has already been said, different students have different needs and interests, especially if they are of different age. Approach has to be modified according to all these factors. It's impossible to have the same approach with a twelve year olds and a fourty five years old students. Teacher has to have in mind different motivation of each student. If a student has to learn English within the field of medicine, it' s important to provide him/her the proper material.
Providing them materials such as music, videos and movies, their interest should be considered as important and they should be asked what kind of material they want to listen and/or watch. Higher the interest, faster the comprehension. As much as the teacher should give a feedback to his students, so he should ask for a feedback, meaning, students have to be asked about their opinion of their progress, also they should be allowed to tell if something is too difficult or too easy for them, do they want to change something about their classes and if do, what exactly. According to my opinion, this is important in order to raise consciousness about the learning process and to improve teaching as much as possible, to raise a teaching quality to a high level..
Syllabus will have a structure that covers all the important parts of a language.Through different topics, students will have the opportunity to learn vocabulary, to perfect the pronounciation to gain a skill of expressing themselves in different situations they might encounter in a daily life. Their ability to speak should be developing from basic to more complicated exspression, from the known to the unknown. Within every class, I would definitely include CCQ (Concept checking questions) which I find extremly helpful in the process of understanding how the English language works. Furthermore, a lesson should have target language similar to the Oxbridge technique but it shouldn't be restricted. In my classes, I'd like to have more space for the new vocabulary outside the target language if students show affection towards it. Meanwhile, target language would be emphasized and practiced within the conversation and different tasks.
Materials used in the classroom will include visual aids, such as image, photos, paintings, illustrations, videos and also audio-visual aids.Tasks that students will be given to, would be games, role - plays, discussions and story telling(on higher levels). Role-plays are effective they include interaction between students, while discussion provide them opportunity to express their opinions about different topics. I'd also like to include within the syllabus ''real life practice'', meaning that at least once a moonth students should be taken to a shop, cinema or a restaurant to practice their conversational skills and to gain more confidence. Also, I would like to provide once a week movie night. Several suggestions would be handled to students to choose what they would like to watch and then a chosen movie would be projected within the classroom. The particular movie should contain subtitles in English so they can simultaneously listen and see the written words. They would be asked to write a short review about the movie they watched, which brings us to the question of homework.Homework will be given, but not in the traditional way. Homework should serve as an extra motivation for a student so he/she continues to practice and learn English outside of the classroom. Exams will not be included in the syllabus with the exception of the situation when student needs to be prepared for the official exams, such as Cmbridge ESOL exams. Then, a student should be provided proper exercises and materials that he/she would encounter at the official exams. Ither than that, students should be provided only descriptive grades, such as giving them a feedback about their progress, skills and difficulties they might have.
In conclusion, as the language is being changed constantly so should the teaching methodology change its approaches. Syllabus and teaching methods I described, is only one point of view and it should be adaptable to changes in order to keep improving the quality. Teaching is a two way street. Despite the fact that we as teachers have a role to transfer our knowledge to people who want to learn, at the same time we are students as our students teach us how to become better teachers, mentors and after all better humans.