A Journey in English Teaching: From Language School to Personalized Success
Drawing on my substantial personal teaching experience, I naturally gravitated toward this topic for a summative task. Throughout my six years of teaching English, I have encountered various settings, approaches, and challenges. Here, I recount my journey from a language school to one-on-one tutoring, highlighting my evolving teaching methods, materials, and strategies.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author, an alumni of ITTT (International TEFL and TESOL Training). They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of ITTT. The content provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as official endorsement or representation by ITTT.
When I first ventured into teaching, I joined a language school that adhered exclusively to an army-based teaching method. However, I soon realized that learning English through repetitive questions and answers was not the most effective approach. As a result, I decided to explore new teaching avenues.
A year later, a fortuitous opportunity came my way through the father of two young boys I previously taught. I transitioned to one-on-one teaching, beginning with 8 and 10-year-old students. Although I had no specialized experience or teaching materials at my disposal, I embarked on this journey with unwavering enthusiasm and a commitment to making a meaningful impact on my students' learning.
In the absence of ready-made materials, I relied on my common sense and personal experiences as a language learner. To ensure that each lesson was tailored to my students' unique needs, I drew inspiration from my own language learning journey, considering what had been most helpful during my early stages.
For my two young students, I adopted a dynamic teaching approach. We started with games like "Simon says" and similar activities that required them to follow instructions. Observing the delight on their faces, I knew that this approach was the right way to begin our journey.
As their proficiency in English improved, I introduced more sophisticated teaching methods, such as flashcards, board games focused on English grammar, and question cards designed to stimulate conversation. We delved into role-play activities and embarked on our first English book. I capitalized on their interest in investigative stories, exposing them to works like "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" and short stories by Agatha Christie.
This methodical approach helped my students reach a B2 level and develop a strong grasp of English grammar. We then transitioned to conversation lessons, which focused on specific topics, vocabulary enrichment, reading articles, and engaging in discussions. These lessons were designed to encourage my students to speak confidently and use newly acquired vocabulary. I also incorporated regular grammar revision sessions and challenging "Use of English" tasks to further refine their language skills.
My journey continued with individual students, typically 14-year-old pupils aspiring to study at bilingual high schools. They sought assistance with entrance exams, which allowed me to uncover the concerning language knowledge gap among elementary school students. The majority of these students left elementary school with limited foreign language proficiency, a situation that persisted unless they continued their studies at bilingual high schools.
When teaching children, I exclusively rely on online resources, making use of platforms such as liveworksheets.com and en.islcollective.com. These platforms provide a wealth of worksheets covering various aspects of language learning, from reading and speaking to writing and grammar.
Most of my adult students aspire to attain a strong command of English, with a particular emphasis on using English grammar correctly. For this group, I employ course books such as "English Grammar in Use" by Murphy and "RoundUp" by Evans and Dooley. I also integrate online resources into the lessons, striking a harmonious balance between course book material and online worksheets.
Over time, I have developed my own teaching methodology, one that emphasizes creativity, adaptability, and personalization. I tailor each lesson to meet the unique needs and existing English proficiency of my students. All my students share a common aspiration: to learn English effectively, and I am dedicated to making the learning process as engaging as possible. I firmly believe in the value of repetition, as it is often said, "repetition is the mother of wisdom." When introducing a new grammar topic, we revisit it in the following lesson. If a student demonstrates understanding, we periodically review it to ensure solid retention.
In my teaching journey, discovering the ITTT website and its diverse range of courses for ESL teaching was a significant turning point. Participating in this course expanded my horizons, equipped me with valuable insights and innovative perspectives, and provided me with a wealth of new strategies to refine my teaching practice.
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