My teaching approach
As a native Spanish speaker, I learnt English trough two different ways. The first one was only base on grammar. I could make a well structured sentence but I could not speak, which limited my ability to communicate. The second way I learnt it was through being in a natural environment, where I could not use my mother tongue because I was surrounded by people who were all English speakers. I managed to associate experience and expression, words and phrases, rules and performances.
I have always been passionate about helping people. I have worked with elderly people for the greatest part of my professional career so I am patient and empathic. This has made me grow as a person so much.
For this reasons, my teaching approach is based on the Direct Method, which I feel is the most natural way to learn a language. This method is based on the assumption that learners should experience the new language in the same way as they experienced their mother tongue without considering the existence of their mother tongue. Grammar is taught indirectly through the implication of the situation created. In summary, oral training helps in reading, writing, listening and speaking simultaneously.
Listening and speaking are the most essential skills and the most beneficial for their future. This will allow them directly to communicate with others.
Having English language as my second language, gives me an advantage, which is that I know how difficult it is to learn a language.
As a teacher, you have to be your students guide; you have to identify where they struggle and to find the way that would help them better to develope their skills. Identifying student’s goals is key. Focusing on their needs and on what they are expecting to get by learning English will increase their motivation and therefore this will facilitate the learning. If a student is not motivated, always try to make them see how important is to be able to speak another language, and try to make the classes as dynamic as possible.
If you are teaching beginners or advanced level students, you also have to take into consideration grading your language. It is important to be understood by your students and for your students to feel that they can understand English because otherwise this will provoke a negative reinforcement, which will lead them to avoid English, making excuses or even quitting from learning. You have to maintain a positive attitude. Students trust you to teach them, to be a model to follow.
Teachers attitude towards errors must always be positive. Repeat as much as needed and correct as much as necessary always taking into consideration the level that you are teaching in that moment.
The fact that you are a fantastic teacher does not mean you are going to be successful with all the students. Students have to want to learn English, they have to participate actively in every class, to ask the teacher about any doubts. Teacher can see difficulties that the student might be dealing with but teachers do not know everything. Students must be interested in what they are doing, it would be a waste of time otherwise. So it is as important to have a good teacher as it is to have a committed student.
This is the way that I would teach the different areas:
When teaching kids, they will associate physical movements with language so any physical activity or game that includes vocabulary and expressions can be integrated such as songs “head, shoulder, knees and toes”.
Teaching beginners needs patience. To keep them motivated despite of all the difficulties they go through while learning would become the most important task for the teacher. Sometimes they could feel frustrated but it is your duty to make them feel good. Repeat as much as the student needs. Find other ways to be understood like gestures, pointing to visual... Asking for synonyms helps to integrate the new words.
Teaching intermediate level students. They are going to have more vocabulary and will be able to have conversations. Make them talk as much as possible and make corrections but not excessively. Make them use different verb tenses. Read texts while students listen and make questions.
When it comes to teach advanced levels, they need to be challenged. Make them use all the verb tenses, role-playing exercises, new and complex vocabulary. If there is a group, make them teach each other. Make them talk ideally 80% of the class. Correct pronunciation actively.
A typical 1 hour lesson will include
Also my syllabus would consist of one thing or another depending of the student’s demands. First of all the student has to be assessed, so teachers can identify their goals, weaknesses and strengths to create the perfect syllabus for them.
Technology is also changing the way to teach and the way to learn. There are more tools so both the learning and the teaching can be more intense. Interactive screens, videos, audios, teaching platforms… and also technology is allowing teaching to reach places that would be unthinkable to reach without it. The best examples for this are the Online Classes. Nowadays this has become a useful method of teaching people from all over the world. It is more difficult than in-person method because of the interaction, but useful for those people that can not attend classes. Thanks to internet you can also be in touch with people from all over the world so it is in all our hands to improve our skills by using the internet.
In summary, teaching also means interaction. It is a two ways relationship. As a teacher you have the responsibility to teach the students using the best method for them, identifying their goals and needs and gradually introduce to them the English language, and students also have the responsibility to pay attention, to have interest and to practice as much as they can to finally develop their skills to the maximum level. Students also need to know that you are not in a “class”, that it could be fun to learn other languages and you need to show that to them.