As a teacher of TEFL to prospective teachers, there are first a number of general responsibilities for the daily teaching job. I must provide a learning environment that is conducive to a TEFL learning atmosphere. I must be teaching the methods of TEFL using recognised teaching methods. I also have to show how TEFL would be taught in the classroom. This means explaining my methods of teaching a foreign language that mirrors methods that can be taught in their classes. Furthermore, I need to show future teachers how to interact with others and help them with their initial questions and understanding of TEFL. I have to instruct them on the basics and fundamental needs of a career starting in TEFL teaching which will teach them to be creative and provide them with an understanding of what will entail when they take up their first teaching role abroad.
My job has a range of specific duties, I must complete on a daily basis. I have to create a lesson plan that fulfills all the units of study that the students have to understand, complete, and reflect on. This learning of the basics of TEFL teaching gets the students ready for their employment abroad with a deeper upstanding that will give them confidence. I have to set an educational plan for each day so I am satisfied I have completed all that is needed to be covered for the TEFL certificate while making sure all the students are involved individually and in groups while being interested, informed, and challenged.
Within the 20 hours of teaching practice the trainee teachers take, I must prepare creative activities for the students to complete. These activities although for the benefit of the teachers must also highlight the teaching methods of TEFL as the groundwork for their future needs. It is my prerogative to apply strategies that highlight TEFL teaching methods. It is important to be creative as this is fundamental to the methods of teaching TEFL. This involves group work, presentations, teaching practice, feedback, and reflection.
I have to also monitor the students’ development over the course. This entails helping them with their ideas, teaching practice, and showing them how to teach. I must also recognise those who are taking the course and not showing a willingness to complete it or who think that just appearing is a pass. These people have to be spoken to or encouraged to work as an individual and in a group to complete all tasks and to complete the certificate program that agrees with all TEFL accreditation.
Reflection on the Article “Hands-on” or “Head-Trip”….. How do you learn best? by Susan. L. Colantuono
Having read ‘Hands-on’ or “Head-Trip’…. How do you learn best? by Susan. L. Colantuono, this is a review and reflection on this piece of writing that relates to an experience of mine with reference to the SIT TESOL course I am taking. This article refers to the learning and the four steps in the learning process which are devised in order to learn and put your reflected ideas back into practice. From these points, I found that a German class taken by one of my SIT instructors was a good example that alludes to this article.
Today is the first day of my SIT TESOL course. Our class had two German lessons where the first German lesson I felt as though I was not contributing enough. I felt I was lacking intellectual acuity, and I reflected that the lesson was a little flat. It was lacking interest, emotion, and excitement. Now, the responses from some of the other members of the class were that it was amusing and fun. This made me think while reading that the learning experience I had coincides with the article ‘Hands-on’ or “Head-Trip” about people responding differently to learning. I found myself a bit isolated upon hearing some of the other people’s views. Even when reflecting with another one of our SIT instructors who asked for comments, my comment was that ‘I felt like the language learning experience is a long road’. By no fault but my own, this was a negative thought; I mean, not that I was wrong but there were much more positive views to compare against.
Referring to the four learning stages from the article, the second lesson taught by one of our SIT instructors, I felt more involved by writing more words down in my notebook and practicing more with myself as well as my partner. I listened more I suppose with more concentration and I also recognised I used some of the materials from the first lesson. I think I reflected on my experience and wondered about how I could make it different.
The issue here for me is that after reading this article I can take a step back and reflect on my experience and learn. Number one: in the learning process from the article refers to being the ‘concrete experience’ of having the lesson with the instructor. Number two: being the ‘observation + reflection’ that I didn’t get the best out of the lesson I could have and maybe I was not enthusiastic about the learning experience. Number three: the ‘abstract concepts’ being, was it to do with me? What was wrong with my attitude or was it the instructor who did a lot of repetition and did not make the class enjoyable enough for me? Number 4: the ‘concepts in new situations’ was when I heard other people say they enjoyed it, and there were few people who made me think that I should change my attitude. So, now here is where I must have reached what it says in the article a ‘hypothesis’ for my next learning practice, which I think I did in the next lesson.
I think that in any learning situation a learner should try to think positive and get the best they can out of it and maybe this time I was not in the right mood. This reflection is good because I can now approach the next lesson with a better focus, which is better than just blaming it on the teacher or forgetting about it
- There are at least 3000 spoken languages in existence today. T/F
This is true, it has been estimated that the peoples of the world speak at least 3,000 or more different languages although it can be estimated that there are as many as 10,000.
2. Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. T/F
This is true, with 400 million people speaking Chinese (Mandarin), although If the English language is included with its second language use then this would be the most widely spoken language.
3. Some countries have more than one official language. T/F
This is true of some countries that are made up of many peoples. They speak different languages. For example, Switzerland has four national languages – German, French, Italian, and Romansch with German existing in two major dialects. Belgium counts French and Flemish. Canada has two official languages, English and French.
4. Bionic and laser are words that have been in the English language for more than 100 years. T/F
This is false. One specific feature of English is the ease with which new words can be introduced or formed to meet the communication needs of science, popular culture, politics, administration and ordinary speech. The two examples ‘Laser’ and ‘bionic’ are recently adopted words. It can be seen that the English language has an exterior that is forever changing but the core stays the same. An example of this peripheral evolvement of the English language is shown by there being every year a new buzzword (“a word or expression from a particular subject area that has become fashionable because it has been used a lot especially on television and in the newspapers”). The buzzword for 2004 was ‘Chav’. This is a noun which describes young men who wear cheap gold jewellery and baseball caps and hang around in shopping centres all over Britain.
5. English is widely used as an international language in science, commerce academic study, and training. T/F
There are many nations whose unique languages are spoken by no more than a few million people. This is the case with several countries of Europe such as the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Holland, and part of Belgium. For these kinds of countries simply to have a large enough market for publication, many books especially scientific, technical, or academic are printed in English. For them, English has become the dominant international language in communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, and diplomacy and also on the Internet.
Giving and Receiving Feedback – It Will Never Be Easy But It Can Be Better By Larry Potter
This is a commendable article for me as I think at times I recognise that it is hard to receive and give feedback. It could be said that most people’s feedback skills could be said to need a little practice. I think this is important because as a teacher you will need feedback from your students to tell you if they enjoyed and comprehended your teaching. Also, the students will want feedback on their learning. Each will need a positive, constructive base.
After reading the article, my first reaction is to think of myself who usually goes on the defensive when given feedback. The defensive, I mean that you are not really listening to the person giving the feedback. Larry Potter alludes to this point; he defines feedback as ‘information that can be heard by the receiver as evidence by the fact that he/she does not go on the defensive’. I agree with Larry Potter that feedback has ‘great value’ but only ‘to us if we can let the feedback in and effectively use the information’. I do like this sort of article because I can identify with points in the article that coincide with myself. An example would be when Larry describes Ineffective feedback as ‘judgmental statements’. I think I can give judgmental statements and upset people. I recently said a teacher was talking too much in class but forgot to look at the students who were okay with his talking. Other people said this is only level 2, the students do not talk much. I felt a bit bad for talking about the teacher. I think maybe I was too opinionated. Also, I think I get feedback a lot but may not use the experience, as I should. Maybe I think they are just making a comment and I don’t really ask them such questions as ‘Why’? ‘What do you think is better?’ I think after reading this article on feedback for future actions I should take time to realize that I could be wrong and that I should take in the information (feedback) that has been given. I think I should ask for clarification and realize that it is not a battle and the comment is to help and I should reply with what I think. Thus hopefully getting a discussion going.
The information that is given in the feedback can be ‘shut out’ as Larry Potter says. We ‘lack the skills to send and receive feedback’. I agree with this point as I had a situation the other day. I thought of a lesson plan and mentioned it to a teacher and basically, I was told that it was wrong because the lesson wasn’t student-centered thus in the lesson plan the teacher would speak more which he or she is not supposed to do. The problem with me was I had thought about this lesson for a long time and had it planned. Now my first reaction when I was told it was wrong was to get a little angry, I felt as though it was an attack against me. Maybe I felt as though I was not good enough, my ideas were not good enough. So I felt a bit sorry for myself. I think the best idea would be to say ‘shall I forget about that lesson plan’, and if she said ‘yes’, say to her ‘what do you think then? I could have asked her why she thought is wrong and what ideas I should think of. I think I should have got to the bottom of my thinking as I might think up another lesson plan like this and have the same trouble again.
The TEFL lesson that was just taught I feel went satisfactory. There were many aspects in the lesson that were a positive learning experience for the students. I think I tried to keep the students’ attention all the way through the lesson. I think this aided the students learning because I didn’t give them a chance to start talking about any other non-English language-related subjects. During the ‘use’ stage of PPU teaching method, there was a lot of free talking, so I felt some accomplishment. The overall feeling, if an observer was to look at the whole lesson, is to say that the objectives were certainly on their way to being achieved. These objectives were for students to use adjectives to describe people’s feelings, There are some points, I would like to pick up on in relation to students not fully achieving their goals as such I will include them in this essay to fully explain. I must say though that if I were a student in this class, I would have felt the lesson moved along at a pace that kept me attentive. With this attentiveness hopefully, the students would have attained that new information.
I think the ‘use’ stage, which involved the students telling an interesting story, was a significant part because this is the stage that showed me how well all the prior practice and ‘presentation stage’ went. Looking from the student’s perspective, they were ready to tell their story after hearing the teacher give an example of a model story, which made them more aware of what had to be done. I think as a student this would have given me the inspiration to think of an interesting story that had a beginning, climax, and end. The students knew what their task was and they went about it with the right attitude. Once they had their stories they stood up and told each other by going in pairs and telling their stories with the other students using the new vocabulary which I had taught, to help them along (conversation prompts). The students were up and talking and exchanging stories that would provoke feeling, which is what I wanted them to do. I think by giving them five minutes preceding the activity to write and think about their stories was a suitable idea because when I looked at some of their writing, some of the students were very slow to start. I think as a student you need this time and the teacher has to remember that it is fresh in his/her head plus the teacher has had time to think about the subject, the students have not. I think also that once the activity started, it was right to leave them to get on with the activity by themselves without really interfering with the students’ conversation. I periodically joined in with the pairs just to check they were okay which I found didn’t interfere with their talking that much. This exercise worked because I modeled the activity well before the students stood up. I modeled with two students giving my conversation prompts, which moved the conversation along. The conversation prompts were another good idea. The students certainly had some interesting stories to tell. There were a couple of points that hindered the process though these were firstly not making sure the students moved around and changed partners. Some students gathered together a little (more than two) which I didn’t really want. The process would have been better if I had kept them in their pairs and for them to tell each other their stories then move on. I think getting them to move, would have been helped by me clapping my hands and saying ‘okay, change partners’. Secondly, I should have told them to talk to only five people. This would have meant the process had an ending, a goal for the students to reach. This would have kept them focused I think.
Another aspect of the lesson that I think went well was the ‘practice’ stage where I gave the students strips of paper with situations on them. This was for the students to use with a dialogue using the adjectives they had learnt, to say ‘How they felt’. I think this is a great way to get the students off their chairs thus changing the lesson with a different technique and giving them a chance to speak and use the specific language associated with the lesson. As a student, I would have been glad to start using the language and mingling instead of sat down listening to the teacher. The students were up off their seat hearing their replies. I think, as a practice this exercise was adequate as it was controlled and was kept within the boundaries of the language that was to be used. Also what helped was the students were given a model conversation to help them practice with. This was modeled with the ‘teacher–student’ to help them. The conversation gave the students a platform to start, thus as a ‘practice’ stage (which is where the teacher can check and monitor). I think, as an exercise, this was fine. The only part that hindered the process was that the students kept hold of the strips of paper and they were not given a chance to change. The students seemed a little bored because they were saying the same sentence over and over again. I think, as a student, I would have felt the exercise was a bit tedious. The students’ strips of paper (situations) should have been changed after each pairs’ conversation, this would have created more thought and got the students more engrossed in the exercise. Moreover, it would have prolonged the exercise because they would not have thought the process was dragging on.
The part of the lesson I think didn’t go as planned was the worksheet. There was ‘situation’ on the worksheet and ‘how did you feel’ in two separate columns for each. For a situation, the students had to write an adjective in the designated gap under the heading ‘how did you feel’ to describe how he/she felt in that situation. And when there was an adjective the student had to think of a situation and write it in the designated gap under the heading ‘situation’ on the paper. I gave the students the worksheet and then modeled it. I think once the students had this worksheet they started to complete it. They were used to being given worksheets so I suppose they knew the drill. The fact was that some of them thought it was a matching exercise, which it wasn’t; this made me realize I had got things wrong. By now they were confused and some were trying to write which I didn’t want. I think as a student once I got this paper I would have wanted to finish it in my own way, regardless of what the teacher was saying. I think this shows you what students do. Students can be sidetracked and lose their concentration thus their attention wanders away from the real point of the exercise. This experience tells me that a teacher should give clear instruction first before giving out a worksheet and reiterate it by having the students tell the teacher what he/she had just said. Concept questions I think could have helped.
Another aspect that did not go as well as I would have liked was the challenging of students and the giving of information. I felt as though I wrote some sentences on the boards that were not worth doing also I was repeating the sentences as though I thought the students needed the practice. From the students’ perspective if I had heard the teacher the first time he/she spoke the sentence I would be a bit puzzled as to why the teacher would want to put it on the board and repeat it. The students I think might have lost a little interest when it came to doing other stages in the class because the teacher was teaching stuff they already knew. I think that for the level the students were in, this process was demeaning their level of English and taking up valuable time. Such that by giving them basic sentences the students might have lost interest and felt as though they were not learning. I think as a student the basic process of learning is to feel as though the lesson is testing my abilities. I think they should have been brought out their comfort zone, which is challenging them with the material they do not know.
A final thought on aspects that did not go well was my use of language. Sometimes I don’t speak fluently and break up my sentences, which are not complete, and grammatical. This I think makes the language a little strange. I think from the perspective of a student who is learning a new language, is that they could find it hard to follow the teacher’s sentences. The sentences are broken up and leave the student a bit confused. I think there could be a few factors that explain my language. Firstly I have been teaching lower-level students, some twelve years old, where you have to be slow for them to understand you, maybe this played a part. Also, I think, maybe it is where I think if I speak slower and pronounce the word with more stress they will understand. The good thing though, and I have been told in feedback, is that I recognize the problem and I will try to rectify it in the next lesson. I think with clear instructions, which are kept to a minimum. To a minimum, I mean less teacher talk time where unnecessary language is used will help to make for a clear voice that sounds normal.
Regarding SWBAT’s during the lesson, I think they were achieved. If I look at the final ‘use’ stage I had the students describing their stories, which is what I wanted. This was an objective of mine. I am not sure that I achieved an overall goal of getting the students to achieve their objectives, which would have been to learn far more new material and new vocabulary. I think as a SWBAT of getting them talking about the subject of feelings, the students did generate some quality stories which they told very well. Their ideas for the stories were funny and interesting, although I cannot really say they were challenged. I had SWBAT’s for each stage but I think should make them a little harder and made sure they understood each one until I moved on. The challenging part would have been less writing of basic sentences on the board. The more adjectives I could have written on the board would have gauged the students’ strengths and weaknesses. The reaction would have told me how difficult they were. Thus if I had heard these new words in the ‘use stage I would have felt I was achieving and this would have told me that the students achieved their objective. I think this ‘use’ stage of the class, which was one of my SWBAT’s, informed my beliefs because it was a measure of how the students understood the lesson, although I think that students can still fall into the trap of using grammar and vocabulary they already know. I think maybe if you can have students demonstrate in front of the class and make them use the new grammar and vocabulary this will give you a fair measure of how well they have learnt during the class. I think overall every SWBAT was challenged but I could have made the lessons (SWBAT’s) a little more difficult as to challenge the students and also made sure at each stage I checked that I reached the SWBAT.
There are many goals I can now set myself from the reflection I have just done. I will plan a better lesson; firstly a more challenging lesson that has more questions coming from the students, such that I can measure their learning by the questions they ask and the amount of student interaction. I feel as though the objectives should be properly met at each stage and should be checked by me before I go on. Also, my voice will be clearer and I have to realize that I should speak as if talking to another English-speaking person (less the idioms and slang speech). I think the more relaxed and less worried you are going into the class the lesson will flow. I will make sure that the students feel that they have achieved in the class and that they have something to talk about once leaving the class.