Teach English in ShuAngsheng Zhen - Tongliao Shi

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Teaching is intrinsically a reflective vocation. Teachers cannot teach effectively if they do not analyse their approaches, methods and, if necessary, adapt to suit the students’ needs at the time. My experience in teaching in England has taught me that sometimes methods do not work, or students need a different method to be taught efficiently. In this situation, it is important for the teacher to either reflect in the lesson and improvise or sit down, self- analyse and adapt strategies for future lessons. During an English lesson, I had employed a pair-work task allowing the students to pick out language techniques in a text. I had felt that the students would be able to handle the text I had given them but due to the students’ lack of confidence in their ability, the students were unable to pick out many techniques. I reflected on the task during the lesson and, in order to enable the students to feel more confident, I reintroduced the task as a class activity where I prompted the students and wrote their ideas on the board. Using an OHP allowed me to interact with the pupils whilst writing. The task was a success and I was able to prove to the students that their knowledge exceeded their own expectations. The finished task was photocopied and handed to each student. This example of teacher reflection in a lesson lead to better learning; as a teacher I had to admit my plan wasn’t working, ask myself how I could improve and implement the improvement. In contrast, reflective teaching can be detrimental if it does not produce results. A teacher can adapt a strategy to benefit a students’ learning and progress and it be a success but if an adapted strategy doesn’t work it has simply wasted double the amount of time without a reflective approach. Teaching is sometimes about getting the best compromise for the most students. Particularly in thinking about a mixed ability ESL class, a teaching strategy that is not perfect for every student can be used with some group or individual tutoring without continuously self-analyzing to introduce or adapt new methodologies and strategies. Self-analysis is a useful tool for a teacher, but it may not always benefit students. For example, EFL students who are absolute beginners may benefit from continued use of the drilling methodology as it will teach them the basics to build on. Therefore, a teacher may not need to be as reflective at this stage because introducing new methodologies may make it more complex for the students and hinder progress. On the other hand, vitally important to reflect after lessons and in the long term in order to be able to teach in the most efficient way. During my experience as a secondary school teacher, this was paramount for effectively teaching classes through their GCSE course and, as an ESL teacher will be of equal importance for enabling EFL students to achieve their own course aims. I standardized course will need different teaching methodology for different students to understand what is required of them to succeed, as students learn in different ways. One particularly low-level class required a fair amount of reflection and adaptation in my teaching as the course content was so difficult for them to access. I had to repeatedly scaffold and find new methodology to enable student understanding and participation. Using reflective teaching, I was able to encourage student participation and increase confidence by providing heavy scaffolding that made using the skills simple. Thus, pupils felt that they could pick out and explain English language points due to my revised strategy whereas they didn’t before. This meant that I could build upon these skills for the students to understand the later course content. Furthermore, being a reflective teacher can also benefit the students’ attitudes to learning. For example, if the students can see that you are thinking about their needs and changing learning styles to suit their needs. If students see this, it may motivate them to appreciate their learning and their teacher more. Moreover, the students may feel motivated to reflect upon their own learning if the teacher creates a culture of self-analysis in teaching and learning. This enables pupils to actively participate and reflect upon their own learning and how they can improve their learning themselves. For example, being a reflective teacher, myself has underlined the importance of peer and self-assessment for my pupils and so I introduced more of these reflective techniques in order to teach my students to be reflective. Although it did not teach all pupils to self- analyse their learning, it enabled some pupils to develop their own skills themselves, which enables them to progress quickly. Overall, being a reflective teacher and self-analysis of teaching methods provides more benefits to pupils’ progress and learning culture. Reflective teaching practices allows a teacher to evaluate and implement different or new ways of teaching and learning to optimize the progress of their students. Although self- analysis and reflective teaching isn’t always successful, it is an important skill that should be practiced and acted upon if necessary.