Teach English in Wucun Zhen - Jining Shi

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Teaching English to foreign learners demands the attention and participation of the learners. It is the instructor’s responsibility to meet students at their level of English learning, to hold their attention, and to encourage participation. Only when instructors meet these conditions do they facilitate a productive learning environment. The materials that instructors choose to employ represent an important decision in leading an English classroom, and the ITTT TEFL/TESOL course presents information about the advantages and shortcoming, as well as the situations in which, different course materials prove effective. I discuss the use of authentic materials, course books, and games in the English classroom in this assignment. First, I note the nature of course materials as a technology. Course materials represent a means to another end. While instructors may utilize a variety of materials in the classroom, teachers should never let their preferred course materials dictate their lesson plan or strategy in the classroom. Instead, course materials represent a technology, or a means to another end. The end must always consider the students’ best interests, and it is the responsibility of the English instructor to determine the correct course materials, as certain materials prove more effective for certain students. Therefore, knowledge of the strengths of certain course materials represents a central concern of the teacher. As an instructor and a cultural ambassador of the United States endeavoring a Fulbright Award as an English Teaching Assistant, I intend to utilize the most effective course materials to create an optimal learning environment. The following paragraphs discuss authentic materials, course books, and games, respectively. Authentic materials engage advanced students. Authentic materials include newspapers, magazines, and menus, in the written form, and movie clips, television clips, and podcasts or radio shows, in audio or visual forms. This shows that authentic materials allow learners to practice English skills of reading and listening, but instructors must encourage students to write or speak about authentic materials. This marks one limitation. Another limitation about these materials is that they prove too difficult for beginner students, but they engage advanced English learners due to advanced learners interest in authentic materials. Using shorts excerpts proves the best use of authentic materials, and using authentic materials in groups or pairs represents an effective way to incorporate authentic materials in the English classroom. Instructor must keep in mind their goals for using authentic materials, letting their goals lead the utilization of authentic materials, rather than novelty or any other purpose. Instructors hold flexibility in the use of authentic materials, while course books may pose a more restricted course material. Course books allow instructors to lead lessons on specific aspects of learning English. The most effective use of course books, in my view, includes learning grammar and vocabulary. The applicability of course books marks their greatest limitation, as certain course books may have been published too long ago to utilize in classrooms today. However, creative instructors can utilize certain aspects of course books that still apply to the present, or they can only draw on certain sections of course books to make the best use of this material. Course books present a strong choice for working with lower level or beginning English learners. The instructor bears the burden of making the material useful, and this holds true for instructors using course books, as well as any other materials. Beginning English learners benefit from games, in addition to course books, but course books present a more comprehensive material to use in the classroom. A shortcoming of course books is that they may not excite English learners. Games excite all levels of English learners. Games in the English classroom include hangman, memory, matching games, and other vocabulary games. Instructors may create this material, it may come from the internet, it may be bought from the store, or it may use no physical resources, only coming to life from the instructor’s imagination. The game presents a way to engage students in the beginning of the lesson, or, perhaps, a way to activate their learning knowledge. Instructors must consider that games — although engaging, exciting, and activating — present limitations. Games should make up a small portion of instructors’ lesson plans, and must match the goal of instructor’s lessons. In other words, games must serve a learning purpose, in addition to the fun that comes from playing them. The instructor must determine this purpose prior to executing games in the English classroom. This truth holds for all materials, too, because without an educational purpose, the use of a material cannot promote learning. The course inspires the ideas outlined above and prepares the instructor to lead an English classroom with pedagogical and practical knowledge. I intend to lead English classrooms by keeping the interests of the students as the highest priority, setting goals with students, and choosing optimal course materials to meet students’ interests and goals in language learning.