1. Teaching Purpose
I’m in love with foreign languages. This love and passion started from a very young age. The first time I heard English it sounded strangely beautiful to me especially how words are pronounced. And I decided to learn and master that language at all costs. I know that French was the first language I get exposed to in the primary school, but English is a different story. Why? Simply because it is a language full of poetry and musicality. So, when I graduated from university, I applied for a teaching position and I passed both the written and the oral exam with flying colors.
Teaching is my passion and teaching what I love is something beyond description. I feel alive when I teach when I walk in a classroom full of curious eyes hungry for knowledge. I do not think there is anything I can do in this world and excel in it other than teaching English. In this respect, teaching to me is changing people’s lives and making them good successful citizens. Teaching is amazing truly amazing!
My short-term goals for teaching are taking as many professional development courses as possible. And here I mean courses related to dealing for example with classroom issues and how to increase learner’s motivation and retention. Using ICT and games in the class and things of that sort. My long-term goals for teaching are creating and publishing my own teaching materials. I also want to get a master degree in teaching English as foreign language and then PHD because those degrees will enable me to go to the next level and become a successful university language educator.
2. Teaching style
I think all the approaches discussed in the course are effective and great if they are applied appropriately in the language classroom. However, there are some of them which I think might be suitable for my teaching context and style. So, we have the comprehension approach, the affective humanistic approach, and the communicative approach. And there are many reasons behind that choice. First, most of my learners experience that kind of silent period that it to say they become unresponsive and even demotivated at some points of the lesson. In this case exposing learners to as much comprehensible input as possible will do the trick and push them to speak after some time. Second, students emotional state is important for a successful language instruction and this is exactly what is mentioned in the affective humanistic concept which I like to apply especially with young learners. The third approach is also crucial to me because it centers upon the techniques used by students to learn and how teachers can study those techniques to help learners move forward and grow.
In the three approaches mentioned earlier there are many concepts and techniques that I liked and that I’m willing to utilize in my future classes. The concept of affective filter coined by Steven Krashen. Understanding how this idea work will help reduce students’ anxiety and stress and therefore help them acquire the language. There is also the idea of giving feedback on students’ errors to understand their mental process and the workings of their brain. Using the target language or what is referred to as English only policy is something I favor a lot in my language classes.
I’m teaching high school students and I think that I’m trying to adopt a teaching style which hopefully will meet all my students’ needs and motivate them. This teaching style is based on variety and creativity. This means I do not use one approach or technique the whole time. I use a mixture. I try to teach and test.
I try to put as much details as possible in my lesson plans. Because unexpected learning issues might happen and I must be prepared to deal with them. In this regard, if for example I’m willing to teach a grammatical point, I provide many examples, pictures and illustrations to make students practice and get the point in a meaningful context.
Additionally, in my planning I try to provide opportunities for students to talk and use the language. So, students talking time is highly encouraged here. I always try to keep my TTT to the minimum. Doing so will give students enough time to talk and practice the language. It is more like the 80/20 theory mentioned in the course. In this respect, I motivate my learners through several techniques and strategies. First, I use their first names and I encourage them to write on the board, ask as many questions as possible, communicate with each other. Second, I use language and educational games especially in reading and speaking activities.
In my classes I also use some warm language and some language learning strategies. I use funny stories to make students relaxed and not bored especially with advanced students. I also utilize eye contact and gestures to control the class and students who tend to misbehave. I’m a mobile energetic teacher and I like to monitor learners, interact with them, and offer them help, guidance when needed.
Concerning guided practice activities, they are mostly used when students are about to give a classroom presentation or work on a classroom project. In this case I model and I show to learners what they should do in each step and then give them time to practice. Independent practice activities ,however, center more on student’s skills and they are given as homework because they take a lot of time to be completed in the class.
The assessment activities are done either by the teacher through tests, exams or by students through peer feedback and portfolios. I mentioned before that my lesson plans are detailed and the reason behind that is to incorporate all these elements through the different stages of the lesson: presentation/ Explanations and discussions/ closure and assessment.
Three years ago, my assessment techniques were mainly centered on paper and pencil exams. Now my assessment techniques have changed a little bit. This school year I’m encouraging my learners to create a portfolio in which they keep their work, assignments, homework, exams, drafts etc. In this way students would be able to track their progress and the teacher also would be able to get a full picture of their language development and develop ways to address the issues found. I also try to encourage students to give peer feedback and assessment and write down comments, observations about the different classroom assignments and tasks. Teachers are learners at the core and they can learn a lot by merely listening to their own students!