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Angel's Growth =)
Zhuan Xin's Page
1. What does what I learned today mean to me as a language TEACHER?
Confucius once said " Every student should be taught differently according to his or her talent". I believe this is true, otherwise we would not have to learn teaching methods such as Grammar Translation, Series Method, Audiolingual, etc. I also believe that there is no all-around teaching method that can be used in any class. The teacher must learn these different methods to cope with the needs and learning objectives of every student. For example: at a cram school where the aim for the students is to get high grades, the grammar translation method might be a more suitable choice.
Aside from acquiring different teaching methods, I also believe that a successful language teacher should introduce the culture of the language. Without sufficient knowledge of culture, students may not be able to fully understand and communicate in the target language. For example, "the couple walked down the aisle with their rings". We can infer that this may be a married couple from the world "rings". The teacher can therefore mix an element of culture when teaching the target language.
2. What does what I learned today mean to me as a language LEARNER?
I think an active learner has a better chance in learning a language. This assumes that the learner not only acquires the language, but also culture, communicative skills, etc. Active learners are not afraid to make mistakes, which is essential to learning language. Many language learners encounter language ego and other barriers. Other than soley relying on their language teachers, learners have to be more active in order to achieve progress.
As a teacher:
This course helped me recall the various teaching methods that I learned before. Although I’ve been introduced to them before, I discovered that there is a sort of correlation. The grammar translation was one of the oldest method used for teaching Latin, it requires great reading and writing skills, but doesn’t emphasize much on speaking and listening. However, this perfectly suits the purpose of translating scripts into Latin. As time goes by, other teaching methods evolved to serve different purposes. For example, the audiolingual method focuses solely on listening and speaking in the target language. Every teaching method has its pros and cons, and we can conclude that no teaching is one hundred perfect. As a teacher, we have to learn how each teaching method can be used to best suit that of the student.
As a student:
I am starting to enjoy the warm-up games during the start of class. This time we played the “sun-moon” game. The class was divided in half due to the questions provided by the teacher (e.g. do you prefer going to
). It provided students with the chance to chat with classmates who have the same opinions, which also provides as a kind of ice breaker between students. I am really looking forward to other warm-ups before class.
Today we learned about different teaching methods. In my opinion as a student, this may be quite helpful in our own English learning. By learning the various teaching methods, we can find the best method for each individual suiting our different motives in learning English. In other words, by learning different teaching methods, we can become our own “teacher”.
As a teacher
This week every group has a chance to present the Goldilocks lesson, so I think it’s appropriate to reflect on what we have learned from this teaching experience.
First, most of our lessons was designed for the age group of 3~7, but the lesson still proves too difficult for the young students to comprehend. Students at this age are enduring the “preoperational stage”, so the most important thing in a lesson is to catch and maintain the attention of the students. However, most of our lessons were read directly from the text. Although the story was presented with puppets or role-playing, the visual and audio input is simply not enough.
Second, our lessons were more focused on the “showing” of the Goldilocks story, but instead the purpose of the lesson was to “teach” English as well as help the children understand. I think Mr. Cheung’s lesson was a very good demonstration. For example, the characters of the story (goldilocks, papa bear, mama bear, etc) all had a special posture. This helps students understand the story much better than just showing.
After this lesson, I realized that designing a lesson was not just about showing the text, but a much more sophisticated procedure.
As a student
Some of us would eventually become teachers, so I think we should cherish the time we spend playing the role of students. After today’s experience, I think it is important for the teacher to put themselves in the student’s shoes. Take the Goldilocks lesson for example, we did not realize what the students really need. Instead, we just conducted the lesson from the perspectives of the teacher.
As a teacher:
Today many of us went through a teaching trial. As a student, we’ve never really appreciated how much work there is to prepare for a class. But now that we’re in the teacher’s shoes, it really takes a lot of effort to be successful at teaching. I think the most difficult part in teaching is designing a course. There are many factors that can’t be overlooked like how to present materials, student levels, and applying what we’ve learned from the textbook.
My teaching needs improvement on student interaction. Sometimes the teacher is too focused on the material rather than making sure the students are paying attention. The teacher should also focus on showing more than telling. I tried to use visual aids to help students understand ordinal numbers, but after that I need to explain it more clearly.
I also think that I need to put more effort in teaching grammar. I think teaching meaning is easier than teaching grammar. We cannot deny that teaching grammar is necessary in an English course, but most students easily fall asleep in a grammar class. The teacher should think about not only on how to make grammar classes easier, but also how it might interest students.
As a student:
As a student today, we went through different teaching styles and teaching materials. I think looking at how fellow classmates teach in class really helped me think about how I might improve. There are many details to teaching that can easily be overlooked, for example writing on the whiteboard and speaking at the same time. To improve our teaching, it is also important to put ourselves into the student’s role. That way we can think about how our teaching affects the students.
As A Teacher:
Again I realized how difficult it would be for students to take a grammar translation lesson conducted in English. All they hear would be $%&@*@!
So we must be very careful especially when teaching beginner classes. I think the tricky part would be how to balance enough comprehensible input and native language.
To sum up for today, a good language teacher must always keep in mind five major ideas:
1. i+1: what to teach?
2. comprehensible input
3. the utility of multiple intelligence
4. teacher and student interaction( ex: using check questions)
5. how to clearly explain language functions.
As a student:
I enjoyed a lot of different styles of teaching today. I learned that a lesson with a bit of activity could really get the students motivated. Alice did such a great job today. The activity got the students interacting with each other, and in the meantime practices the new sentence pattern. This should be what lessons should be like, that is to learn and have fun at the same time.
But we still have to ponder when and how to use this method. Some lessons are not appropriate for this, and there might be a chance of overdoing it and neglecting the “learning” part.
As A Teacher:
By teaching the third-conditional, the teacher showed clips of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I learned that a good teacher should start gathering useful materials for teaching. The way Renee and I were going to teach it, we actually wrote a story that consists of a series of unfortunate events considering a boy. But if we gathered materials before, we wouldn’t have to do so much hard work. This would be a useful method if we were to teach in the future.
I was astounded that we use 80% of bottom-up reading techniques, when I thought that our reading was mainly based on our background knowledge. In teaching reading, I think the main challenge would be to design appropriate activities for the students.
As A Student:
A student would really benefit from the scanning and skimming reading techniques. I also learned that we should encourage students to do more extensive reading. Extensive reading comes from a student’s intrinsic motivation, and gives them the opportunity to be exposed in a lot of the target language. The teacher gave many examples like people reading boxes of romance novels.
Here's something that might be useful when teaching young kids to sing:
The Elephant Song :
the singer sings about a lot of different animals, but their descriptions are totally wrong
the teacher can ask about what kinds of animals are mentioned, and what are the correct descriptions for them.
Speaking Naturally – Communication Skills in American English
Bruce Tillitt, Mary Newton Bruder
Introduction and Address systems.
on page 12.
II. Advise students to pay more attention to how the people use their first and last names.
a. Each student receives a card with a picture of a different person (e.g. Elderly professor in formal clothing, Young student dressed casual, etc), there is a description of the person in the back of the car (e.g. First and last name, career, interests, personality, etc)
b. Students get into pairs. They listen to each other make a self-introduction from their cards.
c. Students move around the classroom in pairs and introduce their partners to other groups. →the greetings and tone of voice used must be appropriate to their listener( e.g. the casual student must use more formal words in front of the elderly professor, but be more casual when talking to his peers.)
The teacher should go around the room listening to each group, and note down the groups that are doing well in fluency and appropriate words.
The teacher asks some groups to introduce their partners in front of the class.
Teacher reminds the students once more about the use of appropriate words and saying people’s names correctly and formerly during an introduction.
Student Level: Intermediate
I think it might be a good chance to let the students learn the names of famous tourist sites around the world.
Example: Eiffel Tower, Giza pyramids, Taipei 101, Grand Canyon….etc.
Students are divided into 10 groups.
The teacher print out different handouts for each group, the handouts have pictures of famous tourist sites.
Each group of students must think of a few points on why their site is a huge tourist attraction:
Example: Giza pyramids
→architecture of ancient Egyptian culture.
It might be too difficult for the students to read what others wrote, so I suggest that the teacher shows the pictures along and reads out what the students wrote to the whole class.
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