I have learned a number of things from taking this course. Over the past six months, I feel that I have greatly expanded my understanding of teaching english
as a second language. Although I have a few years of experience teaching english
to foreign language learners, this course has helped clarify questions
I've had, correct mistakes that I have been making and expand my knowledge base.
I have always struggled with lesson planning. While I recognize the importance of planning thoroughly for a lesson, I have always found that I never have time for it, or the lesson format is not accommodating for my plans. However, being able to practice designing lessons -- especially lessons that I could feasibly use in my classroom -- have greatly improved my ability to plan daily lessons.
I currently teach in the Middle East; the school that I teach at is very privileged and never lacks for any resources. However, other schools that I will work at in the future may not be so privileged. The unit on resources was particularly helpful for that reason. I might not always have access to a Smart Board, a fully stocked library, computer labs and other resources. It is important for me to know how to use what is available; I should know how to teach a lesson using limited resources. For example, instead of using the internet or the Smart board to show class examples of animals, I can use magazines or books. Or, in even more basic teaching environments, I can draw pictures on the chalk board.
I have learned greatly about formal grammar over the course of these lessons. Prior to taking this course, it had been a very long time since I had learned about grammar; this class has helped refresh my grammar knowledge. By being more familiar with grammatical rules, I can now improve my lesson plans and lesson formats. I can worry less about familiarizing myself with grammatical details and focus more on how to make the material accessible to my students.
Finally, this course has taught me to always be aware of culture and cultural differences when teaching english
as a foreign language. As I noted earlier, my teaching experience has mostly been in the Middle East. Lessons that are appropriate in America or Asia may not be appropriate in this context. It is important for students to be able to relate to material as best as possible -- I should strive to make their lessons interesting and engaging. However, if I remain ignorant about their culture, I will struggle to find appropriate and interesting material.
Overall, I have learned a great deal from taking this course. Most importantly, I have improved my lesson writing and planning ability; I have also relearned grammar rules. I am now more aware of how limited resources can affect a classroom -- and how to work with what you have available. Finally, I have learned that cultural sensitivity and cultural awareness is most important of all.