Metodología y didáctica
Our first class…. This was our first class of `Metodología y Didáctica´. Our teacher Harold started the class by telling us a little bit of himself, of his life as a teacher and some aspects of his career path. Then, everybody expressed the main reasons of choosing Language Moderns as our major, and also the reasons why we wanted to be teachers. This introduction was intended to identify if we, as students of a` Licenciatura´, were motivated for being teachers. Being a teacher requires commitment, passion and discipline. The most important aspect of this profession is not to master the language perfectly and teach it to students, but instead it has to do with the impact that you get from your students after a lesson. “A teacher is an educator”, those were Harold´s words.After that, we did a little exercise picturing ourselves in five years. We had to think about the possible place we were teaching at, the audience (teenagers, adults, children…) and the way (methods). After finishing, most of the class preferred to work with teenagers and children at schools or universities. The methods were different, some students wanted to use methods focused on the context, or on the communicative skills, others wanted to implement didactic strategies to make easier the learning process, some others said they would use innovative ways of teaching. As students, we need to realize that throughout our career we would face different situations (such as having students with social difficulties, with health problems, hyperactive students, abused girls and more…) and we need to be prepared to find the best way to teaching to them. If we love what we do, it will be easier, and we
will find that we are certainly contributing a change in our students, we are providing solutions and motivations, and thatÂ´s what makes our profession different from the others. At the end of the class, Harold gave us the percentages of quizzes, of the microteachings and some aspects to take into account for the whole semester.
The Purple Hippopotamus… This was our third meeting. We had to read for these session “The nature of Approaches and Methods in language Teaching”. Our targets for the class were, basically, understand the differences and relationships between the elements and sub-elements that constitute a method. Throughout, the Purple Hippopotamus, Our teacher Harold tried to represent and describe one of these methods in terms of its approach, design and, but , mainly, to try to describe the procedure. To introduce the activity, our teacher asked us to keep everything, which was in our desks, away in order to be comfortable; then, Harold told us to close our eyes, and to relax. After that, our teacher applied a reading exercise, while we were in this calm down situation. The main purpose of the reading was to picture some images in our minds, telling us that everything was purple. Suddenly, we open our eyes and we saw a big hippopotamus on the screen; at that moment, the teacher asked us questions to check if everything was purple. Then, the story started, and the teacher chose one student to play de hippo’s role; also he chose three more students to characterize the roles of the bee, the fairy and the queen. This activity portrayed the different levels of one of the methods in language teaching. Interaction was the main goal, since some students were involved in a direct way- some of them represent the characters of the story- or in an indirect way- they were witnesses of the whole activity- ; It is important to take in to account, that every little detail that was made in the method had a purpose in the activity; it does not matter the relevance that one step have in a method, it is always going to be important; as our teacher Harold said “ nada es gratuito en una clase”. This activity, made us to realize as well, that a teacher has to be aware of the elements that he or she is going to use in a method; besides, a teacher has to be conscious about their students’ personalities since always in a classroom, your are going to face students with introvert or extrovert moods, and not all of them are going to be prepared for playing main characters as in the purple hippopotamus; or on the other hand, you will find students that want to be involved and participate in every
single activity ; so we- as future teachersthis method is an excellent way to make without any exception. As teachers we classroom, because every student is some of them, we have to create and all of our brilliant students.
have to be alert about that. Furthermore, every student to participate in an activity have to promote always interaction in our essential. Instead of paying attention to promote an involvement atmosphere for
FEBRUARY 6TH Getting ready for concepts in Language teaching…. This was our fourth meeting. After having read “The nature of approaches and methods in Language teaching” we had an idea of some of the concepts that we were going to work for the class: approach, method, design and procedure. So, the purpose of the class was ´to understand the differences and relationships between the elements and sub-elements that constitute a method´ We defined `approach´ as the assumptions and beliefs that teachers have. For instance, it shows an ideology in terms of Language learning and Language teaching. To understand this definition, we used an example of a common teacher at the university and we tried to identify its beliefs. This exercise was important to clarify the concept of approach. In fact, one can determine the approach by understanding the perspective used by the teacher when teaching, because it shows how she/he sees students, how she/he conceives their learning process, how she/he orients the class. We also defined `method´ according to the Anthony´s model as `the level at which theory is put into practice and at which choices are made about the particular skills to be taught, the content, and the order´ (Richards, J & Rodgers. 2001, 19.). It involves two levels: thinking and a planning level. And, `procedures´ are the same as techniques; they are the activities that we do in class (the steps to follow). In fact, the method constitutes: the approach, the design (that includes the objectives, the syllabus, the students, teacher and material roles, and the type of activities) and the procedure.
Then we made a review of some topics that we worked at our `Modelos Pedag贸gicos` class, related to the Krashen perspective (concerning language learning process). This little review was intended to remember the importance of being aware of some aspects relating to the learning process when teaching in a classroom. In addition, we were organized in five groups to plan an activity according to some resources that Harold gave us (garments, an irregular verb poster, and some animal cards). We had to create the steps of a lesson plan based on these resources, taking into account the age of the students and their English level. After presenting to the class the general idea of each activity, Harold gave us feedback of what we did. Nevertheless, the activity was difficult for us because we had to think deeper when creating the activity; we had to think carefully every step, and identify if it was suitable for them. As a result, we realized that this is an important process that takes time, and that needs to be appropriate for our students. We can麓t have a lesson without early preparation, without a lesson plan that determines what we will teach, how we will do that and the purpose that we have for each class.
First experiences in Microteachings… Today´s meeting started with the microteachings. The first group was in charge of the animal card´s activity. She assumed her role very well, although at first she was nervous and was difficult for her. She organized the class in four groups and each group received an animal card. She started narrating a farm story then he assigned a group to continue the story and all members in the group had to narrate a part of the story. After doing that, Harold stopped it and we analyzed together some aspects that needed to be improved. It is very important to manage the space, to speak louder and to maintain visual contact. The second microteaching was `the clothes party´. This was a competition where students had to pick up some clothes and put them in the correct season. The idea was great, adequate and interesting. Analyzing it, one of the Harold´s tip was that it is very important to delegate students to help you when doing these kinds of activities. In this way, students are involved in the whole activity and you can´t be stuck. The next microteaching was the one related to the irregular verbs. The person in charge did a good exercise, although she spoke too fast. The activity was fascinating and employed memory as its main tool. The comments were that it is important to take control of your class, to speak in a good tone and to be prepared to solve any problem that you would face in the classroom.The final microteaching was about garments. Students had to pick up a garment and put it in the adequate garment. Before that, we could see a video that explains carefully some weather vocabulary, colors and garments. The activity was appropriate. Analyzing it, it is very important to use tools as songs, videos and images to make students understand better. At this age, they are visual and like to have fun with videos and colorful materials. When seeing the microteachings, we realized the difficulty of being a teacher. You need to take into account many aspects, but the most essential issue is that it is important to prepare the lesson, to create strategies and to be imaginative. The lesson plan is a guide, is relevant and it is the most important.
Using literature in future classes… After reading, Using Poetry with mixed ability Language, the target for this session was “introducing literature throughout poetry in language classes”. To understand this and to try to comprehend the different ways in which teacher can introduce literature in their classes; our teacher Harold made us a set of different activities. The first one consisted on, display some pictures about diverse horses, in order to say him the one we liked the most ; besides, we had to describe the animals with an adjective. Actually, those adjectives were an analogy because in the future as teachers we are going to have different students as adjectives that we can imagine. So, it absolutely important, to see our future students as unique and diverse human beings; instead of see them as abstract entities. Afterward, Harold made us another activity “stimulation face conducted” to introduce poetry; first, the teacher displayed a picture of a sad person; then, he told us to give him vocabulary about being sad; next, he asked us to share some of our gloomy experiences in life, then Harold show us a sad picture, with the aim of make us to change our mood; after that, he displayed a picture about a dilemma, in order to talk about choosing, when it comes to take decisions in life. At that moment, the teacher made us to close our eyes and to listen a poem of an old man. The teacher made sure that everybody understood the content of the listening; finally, Harold handed out a filling the gaps’ material to complete it with the information in the listening. As future teacher we can use this type of activities to introduce literature in a interesting way, since most of the times, for students, literature throughout poetry have a lot of objections as “they can find poetry difficult and boring in their own language, never mind in a foreign one.” (Tomlinson, 1986; 33). This activity is very simple and easy as well; when it comes to literature is better to present short well-organized activities, instead of presenting complex and long pieces of poetry.” Most authentic poems are very difficult to understand, even for native speakers, as their meaning is rarely overt and their use of language is idiosyncratic.’ (Tomlinson, 1986; 33); furthermore, literature is an excellent tool for learning because it develops and improves different language skills in students, in terms of communicative competences. Besides, using poetry in an effective way can help our future students to increase their creativity since they are involving their emotion, into their compositions. “Poems which achieve affective responses from learners can stimulate them to unusually intelligent and creative use of language in follow-up activities. This achievement can
bring great satisfaction and prideâ€?. (Tomlinson, 1986; 34).This is an excellent tool for us as future teacher if we use it properly; most of the times, students find out that literature is tedious and unexciting, but our role as a future educationalist is to introduce poetry or another piece of literature in a â€œfun wayâ€? in order to improve creativity, critical thinking, and language skills in our students.
Activities with pieces of literature… The goal for today’s class was to plan language learning activities that involve pieces of literature. Our teacher Harold gave us an interesting material of the Puppy Perry Collection, to introduce us, little pieces of poetry that we can use at the first levels of English. The purpose of reading these books -apart form summarize the short stories- was to create some activities for classes, in order to learn how to introduce literature in some of our future classes; so, for setting up the activity, we had to follow some sample suggestions that were proposed by John Arden and Wilfred Owen in the Tomlinson’s reading. All the class was organized into groups, with the aim to create the different pre- readings and post- reading activities, throughout the four phases suggested by the authors with the material of Puppy Perry. Groups chose a variety of activities for instance, “-discussing controversial topics related to the theme of the poem;-predicting the poem’s content from drawings, photographs, realia, sounds, etc.;-listening to or reading related songs, stories, scenes from plays, anecdotes, etc.”;painting group interpretations of the poem;-simulations involving interviews with the poet or with characters from the poem;-dramatizing the poem;-producing mime or dance versions of the poem;-turning the poem into a short story” (Tomlinson, 1986; 36). After doing this activity, we had a quiz about the topic about using poetry with mixed ability language classes. Then, our teacher Harold gave us another pieces of literaturelittle ducking, Buzzy bee, Oh say can you say, make a face: a book with a mirror and the gas we pass- with the aim to create a poem. This meeting was very interesting since all those activities helped us how to carry out a class in a future using literature. Besides, we noticed that it changed a lot our perspective because many of us did not know how to introduce literature and how to conduct activities related to this topic in a classroom. Furthermore, we realized that we can take advantage of all the benefits that poetry have without having any kind of complexity, as Tomlinson said” if poems are selected, ‘prepared’, and used in the ways I have suggested above, they can breakdown the barriers and involve the learners in thinking, feeling, and interacting in ways which are conducive to language acquisition…” (Tomlinson, 1986; 41) That meeting was great as we all achieved the goal for that session successfully.
FEBRUARY 20TH What is essential to a lesson plan? Our target for todayâ€™s meeting was trying to identify the different elements that are essential for a lesson plan. Our teacher Harold asked the elements that we though that were essential for a lesson plan; for that reason we set up some commandments to take in to account in the creation of lesson plans: 1. Know what you will teach: A teacher always has to be prepared in terms of concepts, activities, and classroom management, if they do not accomplish that, probably he or she are going to fail as teachers. 2. Know who your students are: It is very important that you be conscious that your students are different and unique; you as a teacher have to see them as diverse human beings, instead of abstract entities. 3. Get Material and Equipment ready: Material have important roles in classesâ€™ development; for that reason a teacher has to choose the correct recourses in classes before starting. 4. Time your activities: The time management in a class determines the success in the activities, you can not spent several time in one activity. 5. Keep a method in mind: This is absolutely essential in a lesson plan because it is the structure and the foundation for the development of the class. 6. Have a procedure: A teacher always have to plan their activities. Improvisation is not an option, if you want to succeed as a teacher. 7. Set up objectives: This is the turning point of your lesson plan since you have to establish all the aspects that you want to achieve in your classroom; this includes the terminal objectives, is basically what you want achieve at the end of the activity, and the Enabling objectives, which are the mini objectives that are going to help us to achieve the terminal objective.
8. Monitoring and assessing: Teachers always have to make sure that your students understand and catch what they are teaching; that the way to guarantee a successful learning process in your students. 9. Homework: It is important as a language teacher to assign extra work, since students have the opportunity to practice outside the classroom. 10. Reviewing what students know: It is important for students to refresh the lessons in order to guarantee that they acquire successfully the previous lessons
As teachers we have to consider the elements that are essential for lesson plans, but the secret for succeed in a classroom is more than only follow the commandments of lesson planning; beyond that, the secret for doing it well is basically being coherent with all the elements that you plan. If you as a teacher are not consisted with the things that you have already sketch is very difficult that you can carry out a successful class.
FEBRUARY 27TH English to Spanish o Español a Inglès… The target for the class was `to study the approach design and procedures of the Grammar Translation Method´. To understand the dynamics of the method, Harold started his microteaching. When giving instructions, he used Spanish, and if he used English then he translated what he had said into Spanish. He gave us a paper and we had a little folding paper exercise; all what we had to do was to imitate what he did. Then, we had to choose a famous character. He announced that we were going to play `who wants to be a millionaire? ´ and everybody in the class was excited of what will happen next. While doing the first activity, some students were asked to perform their character and be prepared for answering some questions. For making the questions, students had the possibility to use their L1 or L2, because Harold translated everything. The answers had to be precise; however, if the student needed some extra help, they would use it. Although as the method states “the teacher decides whether an answer is correct or not (…) He is the authority in the classroom” (Larsen-Freeman, 2000:17)., Harold´s role was not that strict at all. When finishing, there was a review of the new vocabulary in order to remember and learnt them. Furthermore, he gave us a small text that we had to translate. Although at first, finding the best equivalent for each sentence was difficult, as everybody in the class had a different version of the text, we worked in pairs to agree a common translation. Then, there was a final review of the new words. In general, Harold´s microteaching reflected many aspects of the Grammar translation method. However, one can see that he didn´t make strong emphasis on the reading and writing skills, which are the basis skills that need more attention in this method. Another aspect that was very explicit in his microteaching was the constant use of L1, which evidence one of the main
principles of the method “the ability to communicate in the target language is not a goal of foreign language instruction” (Larsen-Freeman, 2000:17). After finishing, we identified what we have seen in Harold´s microteaching and we saw the main principles of the method which are: “to be able to read literature written in the target language, to be able to translate from one language to another and to develop reading and writing skills” (Larsen-Freeman, 2000:17).
MARCH 3Rd. The main targets for today’s class were reading and reviewing the principles about the grammar translation method and working on the lesson plans. To do these, our teacher Harold had prepared for us a quiz about Language translation method; basically we had to make a comparison between one of the principles in this method with the activity about who wants to be millionaire that our teacher had done the class before, in order to identify if our teacher had followed or had not followed some of the principles in the grammar translation method. Afterward, our teacher showed us a video about the thoughts of some Chinese students that were learning English, and their opinions about the Language Translation Method. Some of them give positive opinions since some argued that, this is a good tool to learn new vocabulary; besides, they told that this method is good for someone who is starting their second language process. This supports some of the principles in the method “Language learning provides a good mental exercise” (Larsen, 1986; 16) and “students should be conscious of the grammatical rules of the target language” (Larsen, 1986; 16). On the other hand, other students exposed some negative points; for instance, they said that this method is not natural; it is also difficult to translate the entire vocabulary. Besides they felt frustration since are many steps to follow before achieving the complete translation. And basically these, supports another principle in the method as “the primary skills to be developed are reading and writing. Little attention is given to speaking and listening, and almost none to pronunciation” (Larsen, 1986; 16); also,” it is impossible to find native language equivalents for all target language words.” (Larsen, 1986; 16). This method can provide excellent tools for improving some skills in students, and also is very helpful since it increases the vocabulary in students; however, if we applied this method, it is very important that we do not apply it all the time, and do not follow all the
principles, rigorously; we can break some rules in the method, in order to take some advantages of it. At the end of the today`s meeting, our teacher Harold gave us feed back about the lesson plans that we had done the week before, with the aim to correct it and analyze it.
MARCH 6th The different ages… The target for the class was `to understand key differences when it comes to teaching languages to children, adults and teens´ and `to be aware of learner’s variables when it comes to teaching different proficiency levels´. This meeting was interesting and essential as the main topic was very crucial for us as future teachers “teaching across ages and proficiency levels”. Indeed, when teaching, we have to take into account some aspects that are fundamental in a class, such as the age of our students, their needs, the affective factor, their intellectual development, the attention span and more, in order to make easier the learning process, and to promote a good environment that stimulate them to learn more and to love what they are learning. For instance, we worked in small groups to create or think about some tips that would be effective when teaching to children, adults, and teens. When doing the activity, we had to think in the audience, and try to specify some strategies that facilitate their learning process. Then, we studied the drama factors that are vital for language development. The first one, “the VYL” referred to `the very young learners´ centers the attention on the children who are under five, who are the ones that deserve much individual attention as they used to be the center of attention in their family. These little children have the attention span very limited and need to be ´liberated´ to exploit their imagination. Then, “the TIR factor” which referred to `the teacher in role´, reflects the importance of the teacher participation as it is crucial that he/she be involved in their student´s activities. When the teacher is involved and participates actively in the activities, the results in terms of learning process are better. In fact, the students feel identified with the teacher and this also create a good environment. `The SIR factor ´ is “the students in role”, that reflects the importance of promoting participation to all the students.
This is very important as there are times when teachers focused only in one or two students and forget the others. As future teachers, we need to think in those things that can´t be repeated. For instance, we have to be imaginative and create strategies where everybody in the class participates, and contributes. Finally, `the PRO factor´ which is “the pronunciation factor” reflects the importance of revising pronunciation in class. The idea is that teachers design activities that help them to understand, identify and practice pronunciation. Imagination and creativity are the main tools here. When finishing, one of the Harold´s words that produce a huge impact on us were “nuestra profesión es misional”. Those are definitely wise words that reflect the reality of a teacher, who is an educator, who produces change in their students, who is a guide.
Teacher tips…… 1. Design group activities that favor shy students. 2. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t score, there are always chances. 3. Never ask stupid questions. 4. Please do promote interaction at all times in your classroom. 5. Work out and be in a good shape. 6. Always learn your student´s name. 7. Never turn your back to your students. 8. Always nominate students. 9. Don’t be text book dependent. 10. Don’t hide behind the teacher´s desk. 11. Look at the audience into the eyes. 12. Do not give instructions by heart. 13. Don’t give a lot of instructions at a time. 14. Pair-up students. 15. Leave room from imagination but be conducive. 16. Don’t let students on their own. 17. Always get helpers to support you. 18. When things do not work, get students involved. 19. Arrange the sitting at your convenience. 20. Don’t take for granted that students understand you. 21. Don’t sabotage yourself by explaining yourself. 22. Select two people to put up things on the board.
23. Always give examples. Always model. 24. Verify that students understand. 25. Watch out when you customize your students. 26. Own the space. 27. Know who your students are first, before requesting things from them in an activity. 28. Make sure you find the right moment to correct mistakes. 29.When you do interactive stories, assign roles clearly. 30.Learn how to deal with students jokes. 31.In a gentle way, shut up students who monopolize, then create activities to distribute turns. 32.Bounds back questions to students when necessary. 33.Time your students. 34.Ask students to deliver material for you. “take one and pass them on” 35. First give instructions, then hang out materials. 36. Keep students on task and check what happens if students are off task. 37. Keep the pace of the lesson and help students who fold behind to catch up. 38. Give students second chances and don’t spot them on.
39. Create transitions between activities by recycling content. 40. Give students chances to practice.
41.â€œDescanse su vozâ€? 42.Create situations for you students to negotiate meaning. 43.Bounds back class duties to your students. 44.Start it over again if necessary. 45.Do not focus on little clowns and nutty students. 46.Keep in mind studentâ€™s attention span when planning activities. 47.Do not develop language skills only, help children develop cognitive, motor and social skills. 48.Practice how to deliver comprehensible input. 49.Set up rules when implementing races and contests in the classroom. 50.Give awards to losers and winners. 51.Give students the chance to choose the kind of input they like 52. Create digital stories and use them with large classes