This course has helped me to gain the confidence to teach english as a second language here in my current hometown of Cabo San Lucas, mexico
. I learned spanish
living here from my patient co-work
ers, husband and friends. They have all been so kind to help me along my journey, I have wanted to give back in the same way and help others along their journey to speaking english. This course is making that possible! Before I took this course, I was too afraid to take the leap and teach. I had no idea how to teach or how to make a lesson plan, let alone what things to put in a lesson plan. I knew I wanted to teach, wanted to help, wanted learning to be fun…but had no idea how to get from ideas to actually doing it. I have learned in this course that having fun and keeping a good variety is important. I will need to keep my mind open to new ideas and new activities. When lesson plans are fun, students are more motivated to learn; meaning the success rate of learning english is higher!
I have learned to plan well balanced lessons with the Lesson Plan Template and a full understanding of the three basic stages; Engage, Study and Activate. This has helped me to organize my thoughts and ideas and to visualize the flow of my lessons. I can anticipate problems for students and teacher which will helps me arrive well prepared for anything that comes my way during a school day. Each lesson plan allows me to set goals for myself and my students which give purpose and motivation.
I have learned about how important my attitude, body language and voice is and how they can impact my students. My attitude is one of the biggest motivating factors in the classroom. It is how I will acquire rapport with my students. If I never smile and never have fun, how will my students do these things? They won’t. If I am smiling and enjoying teaching, it is more likely that my students will enjoy learning. My body language/presence can relate a controlled or relaxed environment in the classroom. If I am standing at the front of the class I relate the need for the student’s undivided attention. If I am seated at my desk, the students may have a more relaxed feeling. Students may feel more comfortable to be creative, ask questions, and participate if the teacher is not standing right behind them. My voice is also an important factor in successfully teaching a class. If I speak too softly, some students will not hear what I am teaching. If I speak too loudly, it may encourage students to get loud as well. If I am monotone, the students will be very bored! It is important to find the correct balance so that the students can hear me from where they are seated and to make sure I am enthusiastic enough to keep them interested.
As important as a good attitude in the classroom is the importance of discipline and being consistent. Especially when the class is large, consistency will be a friend to me. It is important that the students have a clear idea of the rules and what is expected of them as well as a clear idea of the consequences. It is important to be firm and consistent when it is time to discipline. Students will try to see with how much they can get away with, they will test me. It is important that I am consistent from the very beginning to prevent any control problems.
Seating arrangements are another tool I have in my classroom. Depending on what activities we are engaging in at the moment, I can use the seating arrangement to my advantage. First of all with the students who are distracting by sitting next to one another, I can separate them. Second, the actual layout of my seating chart can be of benefit. For example, if the class is having a group discussion, a horseshoe seating chart would be great so that everyone can see everyone. If we are focusing on the black board for any activity, a seating arrangement in ‘rows’ may be most effecting. If we are doing group work, I may decide that moving the seating arrangement into groups would work best.
All of this is only important if I know my students and know what their needs are. Therefore getting to know my students is an important piece to the puzzle. This is done by participating in ice breakers and observing the students throughout the entire course. Needs analysis tests will help me gain new ideas of how I can be most effective in the classroom, and a needs analysis test can be adapted to any class, not just for business classes. The needs analysis will help me gauge from the beginning of a course exactly what level each student is at, their goals, their desires, their weaknesses and their strengths. It is a great tool I will use to my advantage.
I believe the key to teaching successfully is having an open mind and never falling into a pattern of using the same materials
and doing the same activities. The sources I have are endless; it is just a matter of putting in the effort to discover new activities, new materials, and new ideas. When you are enthusiastic about teaching, I think that the effort to be creative and make learning fun will come naturally. Be flexible, be sensitive, be fun and enthusiastic, this is the key to having motivated students.