Lewisham college | Lessons from the classroom | [Assignment 4] | | Christopher Beaumont | 3/25/2008 | [This assignment is in three parts and is based on a self analysis of my own teaching and how my attitude toward teaching has changed since the start of the course.
I will touch upon example from my own teaching, my fellow trainees teaching and also from the lessons that I have observed] |Part One ??“ An OverviewThe first week of the CELTA course had loads of different emotions flying about for me. I was out of my comfort zone as I had to be among people that I wasn??™t familiar with, however I had a sense of security as my wife was doing the same course as me which was a nice reassuring feeling. We were given a lot of information to take in within the first week and things never got any easier as the course progressed. As time went on, I felt much more relaxed. We were split into separate teaching practice groups where we had to teach real ESOL students.
This experience of teaching the ESOL students was particularly exciting for me because I had the opportunity to test all the new skills I had acquired from the previous input sessions such as classroom management, procedure of a lesson, monitoring and building a rapport with the students. It was also my chance to see what it would potentially feel like once I have completed the course and moved onto work in my desired career field. On the 15th January 08 I had to play a name game with our new set of students which I picked up from Jane Jenvey. I used this warmer to get all the students up from their seats and familiar with their fellow students and the rest of the trainees. I felt it worked very well. The next day on Wednesday, each trainee had a 20 minute teaching slot to teach the students a particular focus. I had to teach the students basic greetings. I used some tips that I picked up from a lesson with David and created some worksheets that were largely influenced from the Life Lines elementary student??™s book.
My attitude towards teaching has changed significantly since the start of the course. I am more confident and feel like a teacher. In the beginning of the course I felt very nervous as I didn??™t know what to expect, I was scared of making mistakes during teaching practices. I was worried whether I??™d build a good rapport with the students and most of all I was afraid of teaching grammar.
Three months later, I am more confident with my new found profession, during teaching and I??™ve discovered my ability in building a good relationship with the students through assembling a friendly professional environment during my lessons. This course has provided valuable skills that I can use to go away and research language. Teaching grammar became simplified after implementing the input sessions into my planning, I became familiar of how to stage a grammar lesson and also feel I now have the necessary tools to research the form and meaning. Now it seems what appeared as a distant dream has turned into a fast approaching reality. I have become increasingly fond of my new found career and look forward to my personal and professional development in this field.
My family are a source of inspiration and motivation for me.My wife and I are both Muslims. She chooses to observe the Islamic attire (covering the entire body) including the veil. Despite this, I strongly feel she never let this issue be an obstacle as it relates to how she communicates with the students and fellow trainees. Observing her classes was really stimulating and they encouraged me to do my best. Her professionalism and conduct made me realise that I have a lot of work to do in order for me to be mentally ready for the working world.
She taught several lessons which in my opinion were excellently executed. One particular lesson she was eliciting answers from the students during a pre teach vocabulary stage. She began speaking about different subjects but leaving the word she wanted to teach or check their understanding blank. I do not feel the words were necessarily easy but rather the thought process behind each example was very professional and the students picked it up very quickly. It seemed as if she had been teaching for many years.Part Two ??“ Planning and preparationOn the 19th of March 2008, I had to produce a 60 minute lesson and the focus of the lesson was speaking, specifically about coming to a decision.
I intended that by the end of the lesson students will have/be better able to suggest places to go, agree on places to go and also disagree on places to go. These objectives were hoping to be achieved via restricted and less restricted practice activities. I would check if my objectives were met through monitoring the students to check that they have understood. I also wanted to conclude the last part of my last assessed lesson with a role play activity where the students would have fun playing a game but more importantly using the target vocabulary acquired during the lesson. Similarly, the following words were included as part of my target vocabulary; ???shall we, let??™s, how about, why don??™t we, I agree, good idea, I??™d prefer, I??™d rather, I don??™t want to go and sorry I can??™t???. These words were presented paying close attention to pronunciation, spelling, intonation and the stress pattern of words.
My assumptions for this lesson were extremely vague and I needed to elaborate and be much more specific. I mentioned that students may not know some of the vocabulary and its uses. However, it would have been better if I commented on areas such as whether or not I assume that they (students) know the meaning and function of ???shall??? or, if they know the form of sentences with ???let??™s???. If I had the opportunity to redo this lesson, I would have spent more time focusing of the front page of my lesson elaborating and giving as much detail as possible.
This includes preparing to teach the form and structure of my target language in the lesson in order for the students to use it correctly. In the lesson the students used the language but inaccurately, this is because at no stage did I teach the form correctly or correct them when they made mistakes. This is an area I strongly need to work on to improve this lesson. I would need to improve my monitoring skills by paying more attention to the students during restricted practice and less restricted practice. I was pleased with the materials I used in the lesson. I used the over head projector for feedback which was really clear and I also used it for a brainstorming exercise which worked very well.
I maintained good use of the whiteboard using different colour pens, one colour was for the spelling and another colour to show the phonetics. Before presenting the new language to the students I first needed to understanding when and where this language can be used. Once this was accomplished, I presented the language to the students in a context and personalised so I could keep them engaged. In addition, I used the Oxford Dictionary which aided me with the spelling, phonetics and stress patterns of each word which are vital elements of the language that the student must know.MotivationI tried to motivate and keep the students engaged in a number of ways. This included, personalising the topic to myself whenever necessary. In my experience, the students are more receptive when I refer to myself during the lesson.
I also try to be very friendly and confident towards the class trying to establish and maintain good rapport. If however, I found myself in a situation where I was having problems in this area, I would find ways to personalise the topic to the students. Another good strategy is to find out what areas students need to work on and focus in on those areas. Good elicitation and energy from the teacher is also a good means to motivate students because a lot of the time, they (the students) feed off of the energy the teacher is emitting.
Teacher TalkI was happy with the language I used when I was giving instructions and felt it was graded appropriately. Prior to teaching the Entry 3 level learners, we had 6 weeks teaching an Entry 2 level group where we had to make sure we graded our language, so by the time we switched teaching groups, this concept of grading our language was firmly instilled in our teaching.I found the most successful instructions were those instructions where I had to speak the least. A classic example of this is when I would give instructions to the student??™s e.g. ???read the paragraph and complete the questions???.Part Three ??“ Strengths and weaknessesI have thoroughly enjoyed my experience on the CELTA course and feel I have progressed immensely although there is plenty of room for further progression. I need to work on securing a solid understanding of terms such as past participle, present perfect, modal verb, gerunds, present simple etc.
Once I research them, I am capable of conducting a lesson but my aim is to know them off by heart. I acknowledge that this understanding will develop in time providing I remain focused and determined. I also struggle understanding the form (sometimes) but I have found that the students find it extremely beneficial. Lastly, the phonetics appears to be another language in itself. I am capable of finding the phonetics for a word; however, committing the phonetic alphabet to memory seems like a distant dream.
From the beginning of the course, my strengths appeared to remain consistent. I always came cross friendly, confident and managed to have good rapport with the students although inside, I felt somewhat different.