Essay # 1 – Focus on Learning
For this essay, I would like to focus on my experience so far on the TESOL course. Our TESOL group of students have so far been shown many different techniques and been made to feel like students as a way of letting us learners get to see it from the student’s perspective. The crux of my ideas and formulation for future actions with regard to teaching, the TESOL student has to know how it feels to be a learner to understand how they feel and take in the lesson. This of course will relate to the soon-to-be teacher’s future benefit of becoming as valuable a teacher as possible. In relation to this, I will further refer to my SIT course and focus on the learner.
Referring to my language learning first as a supposed language student, I can fairly say that it wasn’t a breeze. You have to write words down, memorize, ask your peers, organize information, play an active part and downright do more, which is hard if you really want to be a successful and competent language learner. I had a few times when I wasn’t really involved and missed a few points, but at those times the auditory experience was enough, I enjoyed sitting back. On the flip side to this experience, I had many times when I sailed through everything because I put the work in and got the benefit out. I suppose that for a language learner it is hard to be attentive all the time and at times the students would just prefer to be looking at the class happening and not playing an active part.
With reference to the ‘Learners Are Individuals’ handout that I have read, it alludes to this point that there are many different styles of learning, you can not have a class of 20 students all with exactly the same way of learning. I empathize with this as I sometimes hear my peers speak and they have a lot more to say or they explain a point better than the way you thought. My reaction to this is that we are all the class together and it should be a shared experience and that everyone should benefit from everyone although there are some students more salient.
Everyone in the class I have found is a vital part of having the successful ambiance that will bring successful lessons. I found that my peers were very helpful, funny at times, and really people who wanted to learn. This made for a worthwhile lesson. The people, my fellow peers, on the course are from a diversity of backgrounds. It is funny really there are people on the course who every morning say they have done the homework and others that say they are going to leave it for another day. Some people just do their writing in note form and those that write full essays. I think this shows that people have their own way of processing information and dealing with set projects to do. I am sure everyone will hand his or her work in on time but not everyone follows the same learning path to the end.
What I have learned from the perspective of a student is that it is hard and materials have to be explained and modeled properly. Students have got to be kept amused and clear instruction has to be given. Now that I am further into the course and having been shown constructional ways of making and doing lesson plans I have noticed the techniques you, the teacher, are using to get the students to reach their goals. An example would be (the instructor) Fran’s class on ‘problems and advice’. The step-by-step process using PPU (presentation / practice / use) allowed the students to learn about giving advice. It basically followed a course of Fran explaining first then some manipulated practice and then the students using their learned language on advice. I think this method helps all individual members of the group who are all of a different aptitude. We worked as a group with Fran making sure everybody had a chance and I felt as though the group moved along nicely if I were that ESL student the class would have instilled that knowledge of giving advice because of the systematic way of keeping the students attentive with varying teaching techniques.
To conclude the focus on learning and In relation to bringing this learning experience to my teaching. I think it gives me a broader perspective to look at the fact that there are many facets to a learning classroom experience and what you take from it is to try and apply these to your classroom. What you are left with a feeling that you can emphasize with the students’ needs and thus you be able to bring that something that will help the students to achieve.