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Learning Teaching Skills PURPOSEThe purpose of this report is to
The purpose of this report is to consider the skills needed to teach and record some of the methods available for learning those skills. The teaching level considered is that of a person Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
Also, it simultaneously (and hopefully satisfactorily) concludes a most rewarding personal development undertaking.
Regardless of whether your choice/desire is to teach English or Mathematics or Social Studies or any and all subjects, for the teacher to be a teacher, he/she must not only well know the subject material, but also have developed skills specific to the transfer of knowledge from self to others.
Different students have different learning styles (i.e. different students respond or learn more effectively from a particular method of delivery. e.g. sensory or intuitive, visual or auditory, inductive or deductive, active or reflective, etc.)
How does a teacher teach English to these different learning styles'
By first having a sound knowledge of the subject. English grammar, for example, is not a collection of hard-and-fast rules, but includes numerous subtleties some of which are difficult to discern let alone explain.
And secondly, by Learning Teaching Skills
Opportunities exist for individuals to secure teaching positions in some places abroad without teaching qualifications. It would seem inappropriate, however, and grossly unfair to the unsuspecting student for a 'teacher' not to be adequately prepared and thus unable to deal with the many classroom complexities.
There are perhaps five types of individuals teaching English abroad ranging from the career teacher to the long-term visitor or traveler needing to supplement on-going travel costs to the philanthropic or religious person and finally, the misfit hiding or fleeing from disruptions at home. There are many reasons for a person deciding to become a teacher, but not all of those reasons support a positive outcome.
Different teaching styles are available in presenting a lesson. i.e.
- how information is emphasized i.e. concrete or abstract
-mode of presentation i.e. visual or verbal
-structure of presentation i.e. inductive or deductive
-active or passive involvement of students
-perspective on information development i.e. sequential or global.
The indifferent or untrained teacher may rely on only one or two of these styles and such choice may well not line up with the learning style of some or more of the students.
Numerous courses exist for the non-qualified teacher ranging from full-time to part-time, on-site or on-line with highly regarded (expensive) organizations or less known (cheaper) suppliers. As a minimum, any of these courses provide good information dealing with, amongst many other things, the reasons for and styles of learners and solid ground work for ways of honing teaching styles to best match these learner styles.
As discussed in ITTT material, the roles of the teacher in the classroom are many. The most effective teacher would seem to be one who blends the learned teaching styles with a mix of personality and an honest, passionate desire to teach. As also discussed in ITTT material, the Engage, Study, Activate methodology for class lesson presentation provides a great deal of flexibility in the classroom and also provides the opportunity for many teaching styles to best stimulate students' different learning styles.
The reality is that one style of teaching will always clash with at least one or more of the preferred learning styles present in any classroom of students. The key has to be 'balance'. By applying a variety of teaching styles to all learners, the teacher;
-avoids teaching only in the less effective/receptive modes of the student, and -develops a balance/wider range in the students' modes of learning
Only a minority of people teaching English abroad are professional teachers. Whilst a paper qualification does not always make the teacher, it would seem imperative that the would-be-teacher has a sound understanding of the numerous methods of communicating with his/her students, uses a variety of those methods and approaches the challenge with a positive, outgoing, flexible and passionate attitude.
Only some of this can come from a course, the remainder must come from within the teacher.
1.'Teaching English Abroad', by Susan Griffith.
2.'The Good Grammar Guide', by Richard Palmer.
3.Presentation at 'New Century Scholars Workshop', by Prof. Richard M. Felder. www2.ncsu.edu/effective_teaching
4.ITTT course material from Unit 1 and Unit 3.
5.'Learning to Learn English' by Gail Ellis and Barbara Sinclair.