• Learning Teaching Skills

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    Teaching is a challenging job not only because of the bulk of responsibility of training the students to be academically able but also because of the fact that somehow, we are expected to take part in preparing them to be socially and emotionally stable.

    In class, how can we let the students recognize that it is not just the quantity of instruction that is essential but they, themselves are? What skills should we learn as teachers so that we can meet this challenge that is put onto our hands?

    The following ideas have been tried, proven, and practical teaching techniques that may answer the above concern.

    • Seize the moment. Teaching becomes effective when answers become immediately available when needed. Once a student asks a question, it indicates that he/she is ready to learn and when we are able to satisfy that “need for information now”; we are opening them doors for more discovery.
    • Involve the student in planning. Teaching is not merely showing things. It is also experiencing things. When a student is given the chance to test his or her ideas (e.g. problem-solving activities), to take risks (e.g. trying to answer a question in English), and to be creative (e.g. doing role plays and creating stories),” learning is evidently take place. As the Chinese proverb goes, “Tell me and I forgetshow me and I remember,involve me and I understand.”
    • Begin with what the student knows. Learning moves faster when it builds on what the student already knows. It is not only the learning that progresses faster though but also the belief in himself/herself that he/she can grasp more complex ideas as he/she goes along.
    • Move from simple to complex. Learning is more rewarding to a student if he has the opportunity to master simple concepts first and then apply these simple concepts to more complex ones. However, it is important to know that no two students are the same. A simple concept to one may be difficult to another. Assessing your students will help you plan how to teach the lesson.
    • Accommodate the students’ preferred learning style. Students learn in various styles. According to a Diablo Valley College Survey in 2000, learning styles can be visual/verbal where the students learn best when information is presented visually or in a written language format. Making use of the board, OHP, word flashcards are indispensable teaching materials. It can also be avisual/nonverbal learning where the students gather information visually and in a picture or design format. Film, video, maps, and charts are important teaching materials. The learners tend to work in a quiet room alone where they can visualize a picture of something in their minds. Tactile/kinesthetic learning is another where the students learn best through “hands-on” activities. Jotting down words and drawing pictures, or making charts help them remember more easily the information heard. A learning style can also be auditory/verbal where students understand the information better by joining study groups or by having a “study-buddy.” Talking out loud to aid recall is effective especially when you study alone. Using a tape recorder to document important information also helps.
    • Sort goals by learning domain. When planning a lesson, it is always effective to include the cognitive domain which deals with intellectual abilities, psychomotor domain which deals with physical or motor skills and affective domain which involves expression of feeling about attitude, interests, and values. Having these three help the teacher identify and evaluate the behaviors you want the students to show.
    • Make material meaningful. Creating and using materials that relate to the students’ lifestyle and environment facilitates learning.
    • Allow immediate application of knowledge. In order to evaluate the students’ understanding of the lesson, short quizzes or application activities such as role playing or simulation are given them after the discussion. Doing so “reinforces learning and builds confidence.”
    • Plan for periodic rests. There are occasions when the students get bored not because of an ineffective teaching method but mainly because of activities and lessons which have been big and complex enough for them to have handled. At this point, it is wise to give students rest from mental fatigue.
    • Tell your students how they are progressing. It is always a necessary part of the learning process to give feedbacks on students’ performances. Feedbacks, however, have to be constructive to encourage them to work better.
    • Reward desired learning with praise. Praising a student for job well done is a great form of motivation. However, teachers have to use praise with caution as “children have an intrinsic desire to learn. Ineffective praise can stifle students’ natural curiosity and desire to learn by focusing their attention on extrinsic rewards rather than the intrinsic rewards that come from the task itself “(Brophy, 1981).

    Utilizing the above teaching skills demonstrates the goal of authentic teachers: that they “… teach from the heart not from the book.” (author unknown)

    References:

    Brophy, J.E. (1981). "Teacher Praise: A Functional Analysis." Review of Educational Research”. 51(1) 5-32.

    Miller, Suzanne. (2000). Four Learning Styles in the DVC Survey

    Teaching Tips. (2007). Enhancing Your Teaching Effectiveness. Honolulu Community College Faculty Development.

    Helen Orobia


  • Learning Teaching Skills

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    FOREWORD

    This article was produced in order to teach novice or experienced teachers nine necessary skills which well learned and then applied in the classroom, will give them the necessary methodology to teach English as a Foreign Language.

    1. MODELING

    Modeling is the most important skill in the field of Language Teaching. The most important thing is to be a good spoken model of the target language..

    • PROJECT YOUR VOICE TO THE WHOLE CLASS
      Your production has to be loud and clear. Keep natural speaking rate.
    • LET YOUR STUDENTS SEE YOU ALL THE TIME.
    • EXPLAIN WHERE AND HOW THE SOUNDS ARE PRODUCED
      Study the consonant and vowel description and how to explain it if necessary.
    • REPEAT THE MODEL IN A CONSISTENT WAY

    "MODELING IS THE FIRST MOTIVATION YOUR STUDENTS GET."

    2. CORRECTING INACCURATE RESPONSES

    This skill plays a very important role in class to create in the students the habit of learning by their mistakes instead of creating a feeling of inhibition. Avoid embarrassing the students when a mistake is made.

    • EMPHASIZE THE CORRECTION OF ERRORS CENTRAL TO THE LESSON
    • DO NOT EMBARRASS THE STUDENTS WITH YOUR MANNER OF CORRECTING
    • 3.DO NOT OVER CORRECT YOUR STUDENTS.

    3. ASSISTING HESITANT RESPONSES

    THE SAME ATTENTION HAS TO BE GIVEN TO ALL THE STUDENTS.

    It is easier to work with brilliant students than it is to work with the poor ones. Nevertheless, the poor ones really need your help or the help of the group.

    Do not underestimate your students either. Let them put their ideas into their own words.

    • DEMONSTRATE WHAT YOU WANT THE CLASS TO DO.
    • ALLOW TIME FOR SLOWER RESPONSES.
    • CUE OR PROMPT. DO NOT PROVIDE THE COMPLETE ANSWERS.

    Let your students put into words their own ideas or feelings.

    4. REINFORCING ACCURATE RESPONSES

    • 1. REINFORCE EVERY ACCURATE RESPONSE.
    • (Especially the ones central to the lesson.)
    • 2. REINFORCE IN A VARIED NUMBER OF WAYS.
    • Gestures, facial expressions, a prize.
    • 3. VARY YOUR REACTION TO SHOW THAT SOME ANSWERS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS.
    • 4. REINFORCE WITHOUT INTERRUPTING THE PACE OF CLASS.
    • 5. REINFORCEMENT HAS TO SOUND AS SINCERE AS POSSIBLE, NOT MECHANICAL

    "PRAISING IS THE KEY THAT OPENS STUDENTS’ PARTICIPATION IN CLASS"

    5. REDUCING TEACHER TALK

    After certain specific retraining, one has to learn that when teaching a language, the teacher has to talk the least possible and the students the most possible.

    • While giving explanations, reduce your talking by asking for examples of the known material to be used as a reference before the new point is introduced.
    • During practice activities, reduce your talking by:
      a.LEARNING TO LISTEN.
    • When asking individual questions, do not provide the answers, Let your students think up and produce their own answers.
    • Do not answer all the questions yourself; call on the class for answers.

    6. GIVING EXPLANATIONS

    • BE PREPARED.
    • Simplify explanations.
    • Use easy-to-understand English.
    • Stick to the objective or objectives of the unit.
    • Use the audio and visual aids provided or created by the teacher.
    • Use the board to write the examples.
    • Run a brief review of the previous structure used as the known point for the new objective.
    • Always provide examples and ask for examples from your students.

    7. DISTRIBUTING PARTICIPATION

    • Call on volunteers to provide examples of a known point asked by the teacher, or to role play an exercise.
    • Call on specific individual students preferably at random. 
      If a fixed order is used, the students get distracted because they know in advance when they are to participate.
    • Distribute the questions in a way that you can keep track of the number of questions you ask to each student.
    • Distribute the participation so that all the students have an equal opportunity to practice short and long answers. (Pair work, group work, etc.)

    8. USING QUESTION TYPES

    The different question types constantly used in the classroom provide a varied percentage of oral participation to the students

    • QUESTIONS ELICITING “YES OR NO” ANSWERS.
      Ex. Do you live in Brazil?
    • QUESTIONS ELICITING “SHORT FACTUAL” ANSWERS.
      Ex. Where do you live?
    • QUESTIONS ELICITING “LONG FACTUAL” ANSWERS.
      Ex. Why do you like soccer?
    • QUESTIONS ELICITING “A CHOICE”.
      Do you like pizza or pasta?
    • QUESTIONS ELICITING ANSWERS “BASED ON THE STUDENTS’ OWN KNOWLEDGE”.
      What do you think about politics?.

    If any of the question types previously described seems difficult for the student, the teacher should:

    • Rephrase the question, not just reduce the speed of speech.
    • Try two additional times with the same student, lowering the difficulty of the question.

    If no reply is obtained, ask the same question to another student, then have the class participate.

    9. USING THE BOARD EFFECTIVELY

    • Handwriting must be of an adequate size. Learn to print instead of writing cursively.
    • Always start to use the board going from the far left to the right.
    • Split the board in two even halves by drawing a vertical line from top to bottom in the middle of it, to avoid losing horizontal level.
      Keep track of what has already been written and use it as a point of reference.
    • Tell your students when to copy.
    • Write an idea at a time then explain.
    • Remember to erase, in order to keep students from getting distracted.

    Anna Liisa Aguilera Kontio


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