Section C: Use of language (Part II)
Describe your views on what constitutes good teaching practice. Give examples from your own experience as a learner and/or teacher.
To provide the best learning experience teachers should embrace methods which develop communication between them and their students, as well as trying to boost interaction among students themselves. Among a large number of methods and techniques in English Language Teaching (ELT) I believe we could distinguish several practices which from my point of view I consider as the most valuable.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
First lesson. New students, new faces. As well, for students teacher is new. This is a crucial moment, where the whole dynamic of the lesson begins, therefore building rapport among all participants is a top priority. In order to allow instant and natural connection, first of I welcome my students with a smile and a greeting, making eye contact with individuals. At this point ice-breaking activity or game should be introduced in order to enable students to relax, further initiating conversations which are key to establish comfortable interaction.
“What’s in a name?” (William Shakespeare)
Part of a successful rapport originates from, one could say, trivial fact of knowing students’ names. As I discovered, it involves not only remembering name itself, like a label, but more it is a profound and genuine interest into who is behind it. Personal approach toward the student, their age, likes, dislikes, consequently gives some sense of understanding who are they. Again, student who is addressed by their name feels special and unique, thus feels comfortable and breaks down barriers.
“The immediate and constant correction of all errors is not necessarily an effective way of helping course participants improve their English.” (Lavezzo and Dunford 1993)
It is always difficult to correct students and this should be proceeded with high level of care. There are as many different types of people as there are learning approaches. For that reason teacher should respect their students and diversity related to that matter. Personally, I ought to elicit mistake without disclosing student’s name, which could carry negative connotation. Furthermore, praising good usage of language is equally important as clarifying the mistake. Nevertheless, praises should be used in balanced way, as for some students it might become a tool to gain more attention in a group.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't — you're right.” (Henry Ford)
Motivation is yet another difficult subject of learning process, which is essential to success. In respect to that, building friendly atmosphere in the classroom appeared to me as the key element. On this occasion students are more likely to pursue goals established by teacher who they sympathize with. This means teacher’s job is to establish clear objectives, pointing solutions, guiding students through difficulties and showing how to avoid them in the future. Moreover, the teacher, who is popular among students, is like a captain of a ship, leading, but at the same time working together, uniting its crew to pursue a common goal.
As can be seen, good teaching practice does not consist only of some established set of rules, and educators are obliged to treat every student independently, as well as methods used should be kept under constant scrutiny.