Teach English in Daqiao Zhen - Yancheng Shi

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When teaching beginner students there are a host of methods and techniques that can be used to effectively engage students and allow for successful learning. This piece will focus on some of the methods and techniques I have used previously when teaching beginners, as well as some of the techniques detailed in the previous units of this course. From my own personal experience, it is extremely important to instil in beginner students a passion of studying English which they can then carry with them on their future journey of discovery of the English language. I believe, especially with young learners, that this begins with the relationship between student and teacher. A positive student-teacher relationship helps the student to gain confidence with new language and can alleviate the fear of failure that beginner students often carry. Therefore, one of the most effective approaches that we can use with beginner students is to recognise and understand the personal needs of our students and to be willing to provide them with a balance between correction of mistakes and positive reinforcement. Another important approach is to encourage rapport between students. This allows for an atmosphere where students can support, encourage and learn from their peers. I have experience of classes with mixed ability students and have noticed that when students have good rapport with each other, lower ability students have noticeably progressed with the help of their peers. To achieve this atmosphere, I try to allow students to feel that we are one team, including myself, working together to progress. I have found this approach to be particularly effective. Of the theories, methods and techniques detailed in unit 3, I have personally found Suggestopedia to be highly effective when teaching young beginner learners. When students are comfortable and relaxed, they seem to rapidly gain confidence, and as the analogy goes, are akin to sponges, soaking up new language. I have watched with satisfaction as my students have progressed from knowing not one single English word, to being able to confidently communicate and ask and respond to various questions. It seems that once we have laid the foundation of a strong student-teacher relationship and created a positive atmosphere in which learners feel comfortable and confident, we can then begin to challenge students by progressively introducing more difficult vocabulary and grammar. As the old adage goes, it is pointless in trying to run before we can walk. This especially applies when teaching a language to beginner students. It is also enormously important to maintain a level of discipline and respect within the classroom as this affects the overall atmosphere within the classroom and the ability for students to learn effectively. This applies to the relationship between teacher and students, as well as between the students themselves. Whilst teaching young beginner students I have often encountered behavioural issues, especially with young boys. I believe that as a teacher, I am usually responsible in some way for these behavioural issues. Normally I can equate some of these problems to the following reasons: I have not effectively enforced the school disciplinary code, I have failed to recognise the personal needs of the student, or the student is not engaged in the lesson, either through the content not being fun or being above/below the students ability. In summary, by using the approaches I have mentioned, we can go some way to creating an environment in which beginner learners can efficiently gain new language. However, after teaching ESL for three years, I am still only a beginner when compared to many more experienced teachers and I hope through gaining experience that I can become a better teacher in order to help ESL students of all levels to improve their English.