My teaching approach
What do we use English for..? We all learn languages for one reason, to use it, day-to-day, therefore my method of teaching will focus on a more practical aspect of learning the language through a more physical approach. Cooking, every single one of us prepares meals for the family or for ourselves, so why not learn another language whilst doing exactly that? My method aims at bringing the classroom to the kitchen, not only for kids and teens but for the rest of us as well.
Kids & Teens
Any child, be it young or adolescent adapt to their environment, they adapt faster when theyâre enjoying themselves and letâs be honest who doesnât enjoy themselves when cooking or eating a meal? When we bring this to the classroom we develop all four of our macro learning skills and hardly know weâre doing so! The younger kids have the opportunity to cook a simple and fun recipe involving many visual aids, games and basic English conversations. For teenagers cooking can also be seen as a fun way to develop their English not only getting the opportunity to learn an important skill for personal use but an added chance of developing these skills for a more professional one too. I would give a practical cooking lesson explaining different parts of the culinary world from farm to table. This would allow the students to understand the origins of their meals whilst giving them the chance to create a nice dish or course with a step-by-step English guide. All foods and equipment will be labelled so the students can easily identify what they will need for cooking. Depending on age the kids will be given the opportunity to cook their own meal which provides plenty of motivation for any teen.
For the older onesâ¦
With adults, cooking is often a pleasing past-time, you take time to think about what you want to eat, you try and see if you have all the ingredients, you go about making the meal, maybe with a sneaky glass of red wine and it ends up being a relaxing activity. My method aims at taking this enjoyable hobby and adding English by introducing further vocabulary, cooking methodologies and professional development. Students will be given free-will to choose and create their own meals with a submission of a final product and explanation. Depending on the level of English proficiency, each adult will be certain objectives to achieve. First they must verbally explain what theyâre planning on making before they start cooking which can be adapted suiting fluency levels. Some recipes will be fully guided, others unguided to allow the students to evaluate and correct themselves before seeking help. Self-correction will be emphasised throughout this method due to the trial and error nature of cooking. You can see the immediate outcome of what you have cooked alongside the obstacles you were presented with. My teaching style would allow the classroom to extend outside when using repeated phrases in a practical setting. The grading therefore will be a verbal assessment of the submitted dish, as well as a discussion about their choice. The students will need to discuss their meal, including the ingredients used, the method they followed alongside their inspiration for the dish.
How do you know youâre learning?
My method will still incorporate an English syllabus and grading system however it will be adapted to suit a more hands-on approach. For children and adolescents grading will be done verbally to assess language acquisition although will again differ depending on age and proficiency. Younger children will be presented with a more Suggestopedia style approach where the classroom will be a welcoming environment. With this style children soak in more especially when coupled with an activity they like doing. Further on the children will be verbally assessed by use of English vocabulary throughout the cooking experience. With more proficient children the verbal assessments and kinetic movements will become a focus in order to learn through minimal guidance and self-correction or evaluation. Adolescents require more motivation and challenging tasks to keep them enthused and interested in learning English with cooking. Week-by-week achievable culinary tasks will be assigned and graded to mark their progression as well as a showcase of their dish to build self-confidence. Therefore this will allow the first two macro skills of listening and speaking to become the main emphasis in this approach.
Adults adapt faster when they couple a hobby with learning as it serves a subconscious language acquisition tool, thus the grading method should be adapted accordingly. As soon as the students enter the kitchen my focus will be directed on using target language and switching to English. This method can work silently as the students can watch and repeat the steps needed to carry out the recipe however with an incorporated and open dialogue, the students will be able to link the actions with the commentary of their task. An assessment will be given to examine whether or not the students fully grasp the objective before heading to the next stage of replicating their own dishes. This allows for needed corrections to take place as well as building confidence in the studentsâ actions. Every stage will consist of a new level of difficulty, not only new and more difficult cooking methods but how to express those ideas in class. This will come from regular and scheduled sessions and will also provide the students with regular challenges to retain the motivation for learning English with cooking. The final stage of progression should show the ability to brainstorm, prepare and cook a three course meal of their choosing with a clear explanation of the choices they have made. Using this process, students would be able physically see their progression laid out in front of them as well the confidence to present and explain their decision.
What does my method do thatâs different?
Simple answer as to why my method differs from the standard approaches comes from combining a practical style with an intense conversational analysis. For example the students will learn to listen and speak starting from day one working towards reading a recipe then creating their own. This will incorporate all four of our macro learning skills. Students will also focus on three out of the four micro skills when using cooking to learn English. Culinary vocabulary will be quintessential as this introduces the students to a dissimilar use of English with pronunciation as the secondary emphasis. Spelling will be applied with the more advanced groups creating and discussing certain recipes. Grammar will become a problematic topic as students wonât fully grasp all grammatical structures due to the specialisation of cooking with English. Some tenses will be harder than others to utilise however will be covered conversationally and adapted to the studentsâ needs.
This brings us to the role of the teacher in the kitchen classroom. Using this method, teachers would need to be more adaptable in terms of their roles whilst cooking with the students. First they will be more of a guide, showing the students how to physically learn a task then the teacher steps aside and becomes the assessor. This all depends on the affective factors within a classroom with age and differing proficiency levels. The main objective for the students is to cook a dish unguided promoting self-confidence and evaluation as I believe this establishes a clear foundation for students to see their own personal development. As this approach incorporates more practicality it essentially stems from totally physical response, however my method uses a suggestopedia style atmosphere as well a heavy emphasis on communication. As you can see my method aims at integrating a mixture of approaches and leans towards using it in a practical environment.