As a teacher of the English language it is my goal to provide my students with the skills and abilities necessary to be able to read, write, speak, and understand English to a level of proficiency that enables them to utilize it in their lives on both a personal and a professional level. As a teacher it is also my job to motivate my students to cultivate successful language learning habits that can be applied to learning other languages as well. It is also critical to develop an atmosphere of community that gives students the freedom to comfortably learn the material, not feel embarrassed by mistakes, and be encouraged to grow from day to day on their educational journey. My teaching style will exemplify the motivation I feel to help students acquire a new skill that will help them on their journeys in their careers and around the world.
My motivations for teaching English are to be able to help students learn to speak the language that is quickly becoming a required skill for living and succeeding in an ever more connected and globalized world. I am driven to teaching English because I have seen how knowledge of the English language can expand students’ prospects for growth and expansion in their personal, professional, and academic lives, and as a native speaker of English I and uniquely positioned to help pass that knowledge on to those to whom it will be a foreign language. When teaching English I am also able to help mentor students in their intellectual growth on a variety of subjects because the skills needed to use a new language (reading, writing, interpreting, analyzing) are universally applicable to all realms of academia.
My personal interests in teaching English are for students in the late stages of secondary education, those in higher education, and those who wish to learn English for personal or professional reasons after their formal schooling has taken place. This desire does not come because of ability, but rather for usage of the instruction and application of the knowledge. As someone personally interested in economics, politics, and sociocultural issues, I am highly motivated to teach students who are learning for reasons that stem from within who will be able to apply their newly attained knowledge in a tangible way that will benefit their lives.
I personally will view my level of success in teaching English based on my students’ abilities to utilize their knowledge in useful ways. This includes (but is not limited to): face to face communication, conversation, and negotiation; comprehension of English language literature, academic writing, print media, and audio-visual media; real world application for travel, business, and entertainment purposes; and ability to be an asset to those around them personally and professionally in their everyday lives. I believe language learning should have a direct impact on the students’ lives outside of the classroom and should always aim to transcend the limitations of rote memorization and the ability to pass tests and exams.
Areas of Focus
There are two areas I will focus on for developing my students’ ability to use the English language both inside and outside of the classroom:
Listening & Speaking
Listening and speaking are the two most critical areas of learning a language in order to cause it to be useful in a student’s life beyond the classroom. In their personal and professional lives the student will find listening and speaking the English language to be most beneficial when interacting with other speakers of English face to face. The ability to speak proper English without the use of an interpreter will cause a student to be highly valued in their professional career. Additionally, it will enable a student to view many forms of media in a useful way. It will also assist learners in being able to pick up on the more subtle nuances of face to face interactions between people, such as sarcasm, that can be easily misinterpreted.
Reading & Writing
Reading and writing are also two very critical skills a student must learn. Although many
important documents or contracts that are written in one language will also have a translation into other languages, it is especially useful for a student to be able to read and write English since it is often times the first language that translations are available for. Additionally, being able to read and write in English will provide the student the option of enjoying English language literature, print media, subtitles during visual media, and academic works. It is also important for everyday usage when traveling to other countries. This is true in nations such as the United States and England where everything will be in English, but also in other nations as well since often times there will be an English translation below the native language on things such as road signs, menus, and map directions.
I believe it is important to know the motivations of why a student would like to learn the English language. Whether that is for personal curiosity, professional growth, government or familial requirements, or for any other reason, it is vital to know this to ensure that their specific wants and needs can be catered to. As a teacher, it is my job to be a mentor and guide as the student learns English no matter their age, skill level, or level of prior education outside of language learning. In order to do this I must be able to be more than just a face they interact with, but someone they trust and know to be invested in their future after leaving the classroom.
In the classroom it is critical to create a space where students feel comfortable to learn English in a way that lets them feel free to ask questions, make mistakes, and grow without any judgment or ridicule. This is important to do in any classroom, but is especially important in countries and cultures where the concept of “saving face” is practiced. It is critical to ensure that the classroom as a whole (or group in more conversational settings) view their language learning journey as something they are all participating in, and that when a student makes a mistake they are not to be viewed as inferior or unintelligent. Also, it is very important to bring into the classroom a level of professionalism that will cause students to be motivated to learn, and to feel as though they are learning something useful because they want to, not because they have to.
My teaching methods will center on a combination of four central themes:
English Language Immersion
In my classroom I will establish an atmosphere where the only language used once the students cross the threshold into the room will be English. This is in order to require students to not only answer questions in the language they are learning, but to ask them, make corrections, and converse among each other and with me in English as well. This will push students to expand their usage of the language and enable them to start using the language more colloquially instead of only learning individual words and memorizing rules. It will also foster in the learners a feeling that their learning is directly applicable to their lives both in and out of the classroom.
The Direct Method
Along with English Language Immersion will be my usage of the Direct Method for teaching. This comes after considering that my target group to teach is adults instead of children. The Direct Method will help me focus on speaking and real language usage more so than learning grammar rules and other concepts that require rote memorization. In my classroom I would rather hear a student use the wrong tense or pronounce a word incorrectly in conversation to be corrected. than have them read the way to use it in a book and never have a chance to apply it except on a test.
n an auxiliary capacity, I will use the Audio-Lingual method along with the Direct Method. This will involve the usage of pre-designed dialogues for conversation in useful hypothetical situations that the students will encounter outside of the classroom. This will be useful in tailoring the direction of the classes for those learning English for academic reasons, personal growth and interest, or professional reasons. In the realm of teaching business English it will be especially useful in being able to utilize dialogues specific to the industry, or industries, that the students are employed in.
The Silent Way
This method will be utilized mostly in my classrooms that involve higher level English learners and in classes that have a specific orientation, such as business English classes. The Silent Way encourages there to be as little speaking done by me as possible, so that the learners participate with each other and learn things on their own. This is something to be applied at all levels of instruction, but is most critical in classrooms where emphasis will be on conversational usage of the language.
Methods of Assessment
In the cases where there is a specific curriculum to be used I will follow the program prescribed by my school’s administration. Also, in the cases of individual or small group tutoring (e.g. for a government exam) I will alter my assessment methods to suit what my students are attempting to learn. However, in a classroom where I am able to utilize my own teaching methods I will primarily use authentic and performance based assessment. This will include: class participation and attendance, oral reports to the class, mock situations such as interviews and negotiations, and similar activities. Additionally, for private tutoring, small groups, and business English teaching I will utilize portfolio assessment so that parents, employers, or whoever the student would like to provide documentation to, may see their progress.