Thursday, June 16, 2016

2912. Toward A Successful Teaching of A Language, like English!

Here are the main points from a talk I gave in 2010 when training for the C2 level of English. We had to make a presentation about a topic for later discussion. I hope it be of any use. We attended classes at Centro de Lenguas Modernas, which is part of Universidad de Granada, Spain. I spoke about teaching (and subsequently also learning) English. I have explained what some acronyms mean: you can see them below.

Theme: What makes a good teacher of English? My experiences and research on TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).

1.Self-introduction, and introduction to the presentation.

2.The goal of teaching English: communication, communication, communication.

3.For that goal: help the learners become autonomous learners. Who actually learns English? The learner who wishes to learn. The two protagonists of the class: the teacher and the learner. The successful learner is the one who utilizes learning strategies.

4.Class management: the best discipline? Self-discipline: the learner who wishes to learn L2. Adolescents don’t like rules (normally; but they expect them from you!), and they are building up their personalities (they feel unsure).

5.Importance of grammar and vocabulary: the skeleton of communication. Exercises and drills are important.

6.Plan every class, and you will achieve success at TEFL, more likely. (Remember that acronym is after Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

7.Plan your classes thinking of their real life in the future: implement solving-problem activities, for example, games.

8.About education, some points: treatment of each student, love of benevolence, they need to be listened to, affection. Put in his/her shoes. Remember: you are educating persons. You, above anything else, are an educator.

9.The class: all in L2? The class should be an environment where the language of communication is English. I myself ‘pretend’ I don’t understand L1 in the classes (obviously they know the truth). I ‘act’ as though I wouldn’t be Spanish.

10.The common thing is that you will encounter mixed-ability classes.

11.Create responsibility and roping your students in the conducting of the course: assign them small jobs and create a council of three representatives.

12.If you become enthused: you will transmit sense of humour and an optimistic view. If you struggle, day after day, to improve your labour, you will very positively transmit high ideals and the wishing to learn L2. An adult is closely observed by his pupils: whatever you do, whatever you don’t, influence on them. I’d advise you to improve as a person. They rebel against lack of coherence by you, and against hypocrisy. First educators: their parents.

13.The teacher is the main resource of the class: you need (and you’ll develop) creativity. Teaching is an art. The teacher keeps on learning L2 and also keeps on a lifelong learning techniques of TEFL, and anthropology. Oh, and psychology!

14.More about creativity: you, teacher, (I would tell you) inoculate the good ‘virus’ of writing compositions. They love listening to and reading stories. I had a nice experience in Jaén: my school issued a magazine in three languages. Realize what their interests are – For example, in many games in my classes I put examples about Real Madrid and Barcelona (not always...): they ‘take the bait’. Currently my students are boys aged 10 to 14.

15.What is CBI? (The acronym is after Content Based Instruction, or using interesting topics as a resource for classes)

16.Have fun. You, teacher, have fun; your pupils, make them have fun. Fun builds up actual learning.

17.No effort = No learning the L2. (The target language)

18.Steps to take in the process of becoming capable of communicating: words – sentences - conversations.

19.A farther step: presentations.

20.A post from my blog,, with some wise advice from a teacher of teachers, H D Brown – Emeritus Professor at The State University of San Francisco:

"You've got to be willing to put in your fair share of effort, and that effort amounts to lot more than just sitting back and listening to some tapes. If you dive into this language with a willingness to try hard, and with a belief that you can actually do it, then you will be successful!" (1) H. D. Brown(1989) A Practical Guide to Language Learning. A Fifteen-Week Program of Strategies for Success. New York: McGraw-Hill. I owe a lot to this expert, for my teaching: he has great ideas: he hits the target, believe me.
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