Teach English in HAle Zhen - Huhehaote Shi — Hohhot

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When I was fourteen years old, I had a great opportunity. I went to live to United States with my family. I met many people with different nationalities and cultures and the English language was the only mean to communicate with them in school and out of school. I was exposed to English for most of the daytime since I was speaking my native language – Italian- only at home, in the evening and during weekends. After two years I went back to my country and I realized that, in order to earn a little money, I could teach English and study at the same time (I attended law school in Milan after graduating). I found out that teaching is an activity which has different aspects; it is not only a fact of explaining the English grammar, the vocabulary,creating a conversation with another person. First of all, it means getting in contact with a person, creating a relationship and, little by little, gaining his/her trust. A teacher, in order to be a good teacher, having regard to my experience, should keep studying the language, make precise and concrete lesson plans, pay attention to the students’ needs and goals, have all the equipments and materials in order to prepare and effective and an involving lesson, but not only. This is not enough. A teacher should understand that there is a person sitting in front of him/her with a life story, emotions, beliefs, culture, values, aims. Therefore, the relationship between the teacher and the student- I am referring to one-to-one lessons given to Italian people because this is my experience- could never be, in my opinion, just a cold, professional rapport. I do not intend to say that the teacher, after awhile, could automatically be allowed to ask his/her students questions belonging to their intimate, personal life, but sometimes, it may happen that a student would tell, in a spontaneous way, a piece of his/her personal story- in English- to the teacher, showing him/her that he/she is trusting the teacher as a person. A teacher, I believe, should be a good listener, a listener without judging, and sympathize with his/her students. Building up a rapport means building up a team. Having regard to lessons, I have noticed that what has been explained in the EFL course, is true. Adults are usually very motivated since they have decided to study the English language themselves, for job reasons, or, to improve their fluency before a future vacation or permanence in a English native language country. They are usually “in a hurry”, since they want to learn most of the things in the shortest time. The lessons involve many aspects, specially grammar and vocabulary and the lacks and problems usually come up during an initial conversation in which, after having introduced himself/herself, the student picks a topic and starts talking. Some potental students, sometimes, contact me because that say that they would like to improve their fluency in English conversation: often , during the first ten minutes, I realize that there is a lot of work to carry out even on grammar and on vocabulary. I always tell them to bring a pen and a notebook so that, while having our conversation, we can write down the mistakes, correct them and practice. So, after a little time, I realized that my lessons would have always been different from student to student and that they would have been created individually. If I had to choose an image to explain what I am writing, I would choose a Taylor sawing a dress on his/her client. Every student is an individual and he/she has different needs, skills and lacks than any other student. Once, I was contacted by a man who had actually become my student for a few months and who was very motivated and excited because during summer he would have gone to London for three months to study English in an important English school. He was a beginner and a little concerned about the use of English in daily situations (airport, train station, restaurant, hotel) and on how to solve practical problems (the bank, the supermarket etc.). So, step by step, we started to face and cover all these situations by creating them in our minds and by trying to imagine how to face and solve them in real life with the use of english, of course This method allowed me to expose him to English very much because he would describe the situations and I would correct him in grammar and vocabulary at the end of his talking, without interrupting him all the time. All the mistakes would be written down in his notebook, corrected, and at home, he would have reviewed them together with the whole lesson. This approach resulted to be very useful for him and very interesting for me as a methodology for future lessons. In my experience as an English teacher, I had- and still have- the chance to teach to children, too. I must say that even in this case, what I have learned about children in the EFL course is completely true. Children are peculiar people whom to deal with. They are full of energy, creativity and curiosity. They like to listen to stories, play games and participate actively to everything they do. Therefore, an English lesson to children will have to be very stimulating and dynamic by using songs, dancing, drawing, painting. Children are usually a little egocentric, so, a teacher may ask them questions about themselves, their tastes, their friends, their family, the school, in order to involve them as much as possible in the lesson and to expose them to the language. Children like animals, objects, everything which is very colorful and original. The use of pictures, postcards and real objects is very important, specially when teaching them the vocabulary, in order to make them memorize the words they learn in a very efficient way. The teacher should speak slowly and moderately loudly ,and, at the same time, give short, appealing tasks since their attention and concentration last very short time. Children tend to get bored very easily specially if a lesson is flat and monotone; if they do not pay attention, they do not learn. Teaching to children is amusing and they are able to transmit their positivity and energy to the teacher after a relationship is created. These lessons are intense but very rewarding for the teacher. I enjoy teaching English language to people (adults and children) because in a lesson there are always things to learn professionally and by the human aspect, too. A teacher is a teacher but he/she is also a learner and learning represents the real surprise hidden in every lesson. This is the reason why, in the title of this essay I have used the word "constructive".