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Teach English in Hekou Zhen - Huangshi Shi
My foreign language learning experiences in my childhood and adulthood are very contrasting and through them I can clearly see what kinds of future English teaching attitude and approaches I should have for my future students to learn English in more effective and engaging ways. When I was 8 years old, I went to an English language school in South Korea and on the first day each student received a book with 1000 English vocabulary words without any pictures but Korean translation next to each word just like what we’ve covered in our TEFL class about grammar-translation. As homework, we had to memorize new vocabulary words by copying and pasting each word 20 times in a notebook. At the end of the week we had to take a vocabulary test of what we had memorized during the week. As a 8-year-old girl, it was stressful and intimidating and I just memorized all the words the day before the test and forgot them immediately after the test. There was a lack of opportunity to communicate with other students using the vocabulary words we learned in class and apply to daily life. As a result my level of interest and engagement in class decreased. On the contrary, I’ve been studying Japanese on my own by watching video courses on YouTube for about a year. The video courses are taught in Japanese by a native Japanese speaker and she speaks slowly and clearly and uses “modeling” with exaggerated and funny facial expressions and gestures to explain the meanings of phrases and vocabulary with PowerPoint image slides. After repeating the new phrases and vocabulary for 3 times, she let students repeat the words with gestures and as a result even after the lessons, I could remember the phrases and vocabulary that I’ve learned much better and longer. In a relaxed environment, I became more interested in learning Japanese and was able to apply the phrases and vocabulary in my daily life after coming to Japan. Everytime I see the vocabulary I’ve learned through the video lessons, they resonate with the teacher’s facial expressions and PowerPoint images and I can memorize the words better. As a result of these learning experiences I hope to become more like my Japanese language teacher with communicative language skills utilizing engaging and effective visual teaching materials to enhance student response and elicitation. Through my foreign language learning experiences in both childhood and adulthood and also through in-class and online TEFL courses with ITTT, I feel more prepared, confident and passionate to teach English to both young learners and adults. Just like Sugestopedia method, I hope to create a relaxed and fun environment to feel less stressful and encourage students to participate and apply the phrases and vocabulary in daily life and adopt them rather than losing them right away after exams. I will also increase student talking time (STT) more than teacher talking time (TTT) to let my students engage more and communicate to each other naturally and effectively. I hope students come to my class and gain I+1 experience each time and leave class with strong confidence in communication instead of fear and anxiety in learning English.