I am a trained Humanities teacher
and I have been working with esl
students (with an emphasis on Humanities) in grades 6 to 12 for some time now. I decided that I could improve the support that I provide my students with by taking a course that focuses specifically on teaching english
to speakers of other languages. This course has served my professional development in two ways.
On the one hand, it has proven to be an effective way of revisiting key topics from my previous teacher
training. As a teacher
, I believe it is important to continue to review what has been learned. This course’s focus on the role of a good teacher
; classroom management; theories, methods and techniques mirrors the discussions in basic teacher
training. It has been refreshing to extend my knowledge of such topics with a specific emphasis on teaching language. Though lesson planning is not new to me for example, using specific models such as ESA has been a refreshing way of revisiting my planning and organization. It was also helpful to review the role of course books and learning materials. In addition, it was also practical to gain some background knowledge to supplement what I already practice. We often perform evaluations and placement tests for example and it was interesting to learn more about the various forms and their purposes. The unit on equipment was also an opportunity for me to rethink my lessons. The numerous ideas regarding activities, games, warmers etc. are a source of inspiration for future lessons and will hopefully lead to more creative teaching.
On the other hand, this course has also provided me with entirely new information that I feel will be of use in my work with esl
students. This includes knowledge of the different language levels and what they entail. While I have completed some courses on teaching english
to non-native speakers, many of these have been highly theoretical and often lacked a more practical aspect to pedagogy. How to teach grammar and parts of speech was always lacking. This course’s intensive focus on such areas (eg. different tenses, pronunciation and phonetics) has been an eye- opener. Since I work in an international high school, I am only ever exposed to young learners
and multilingual classes. Learning about teaching special groups and the differences between adult and young learners
as well as multilingual and monolingual groups has also given me food for thought.
In summary, this course has served to both extend and solidify prior knowledge as well as introduce new and applicable material specifically geared towards esl
learning. It has been motivational for me to know that it is relevant to my work, making me more confident in teaching esl
students. I will continue with the english
for young learners
training in order to continue my professional development.