Wow! I have learned a lot. As I look at the stack of four binders containing units, submitted worksheets, and tutor feedback response, I am reminded that I have indeed invested a great many hours into this topic. In fact, I am quite certain that I have put in half again more hours than the 120
indicated by the course description. Part of this is because I am a bit of a perfectionist (sometimes to my good and sometimes to my bad!). Part of this is because the material would take me away to interesting classrooms afar where I would ponder and consider how it might be received by some of those in Asia I have interacted with in the past. Part of this is because I was forced to think back over life experiences (jobs, volunteering, growing up, classrooms, etc.) and draw on that knowledge to consider teaching and learning methods that have worked and those that did not. Part of this is because the course really did force me to learn and consider things I had hardly given a second thought too such as phonology, tense usage, and modal verbs. However when all the parts are put into a whole, I am confident that the certificate
has been truly earned and will be an asset not only because of possession but also due to the practice and process put forth and received throughout.
I have a statement that is true of life in a lot of ways, but it is definitely true of teaching. My constant reminder and the action points I intend to use are these: Teaching is something you must always keep learning about! This learning is often best done by doing. You must remain engaged no matter how much experience you have accumulated. It is always important to plan, but you must learn to adapt and adjust in whatever situation the day brings. Be this kind of teacher.
That is my general summary. I have also listed below some of the specifics items of great usefulness learned and gained and how I expect to put them into action going forward:
-Lesson plan form and lesson planning. I learned how to format straight arrow, boomerang, and patchwork style lessons. The blank lesson plan included in Unit 7 is invaluable. I like to print it, pencil sketch my plan on it, and then type it up and print/e-mail the final copy. Filling in the anticipated problems, context, and personal aims fields really force me to think about how the procedures will play out. I am grateful for the practice of filling out the plans that the numerous lesson plan tasks afforded. I plan to be better organized in the future by using the blank lesson plan form.
-Lists of games, websites, and recommended reading materials. What an invaluable resource! I have already spent some time on bogglesworldesl.com. Now that I am finishing up the course and my time is freeing up a little, I intend to do more investigation of the websites and recommended reading. I am sure that I will have favorites from each of these resources from which I will continue to learn as well as incorporate into future classrooms.
-Role play ideas and role play planning. There are some great ideas in the units to reference. Also, the tasks that required me to come up with role plays to use in the class were very helpful in making me learn about how to come up with role plays that should work. I intend to use many of these role plays as well as devise different ones in future lessons in large part because of the ideas and practice provided by ITTT.
-Course units, video, completed worksheets, and self-created study guides. All of these are going to provide great reference in the future. I have printed the units and completed worksheets and placed them into binders. I have also placed the self-created study guides in the back pouches of the binders. These were created as I tried to condense and restate various unit materials in preparation for completing the worksheets. The writing and organizing processes helped me to absorb the material and now afterwards I will have great quick reference sheets. I intend to periodically read through and review each of these. I will also refer to them as quick references. For example, I will review usages and teaching ideas when delving into tenses during lesson planning.
-Language level identification. Whatever I know about beginner, elementary, and pre-intermediate levels is completely to the credit of the course. I would still lack a clear idea what those terms mean if I had not had been introduced to it by ITTT. I intend to use this knowledge in future job considerations as well as forming lesson plans. It will also be helpful in guiding me on what materials to use when looking for level appropriate activities and exercises.
-Group types awareness. I have a better understanding of the different types of groups I might be called upon to teach, how to adjust to them, and what I might expect. Varying class sizes. Adult learners. young learners
. Mono-lingual. Multi-lingual. Business learners. Mixed level groups. I think that I am more likely to enter each new situation with some idea of what to expect, yet I intend to use this awareness to keep me alert and adjustable to each new group that I enter into.
-Greater grammar and tonal confidence. Before taking the course, I probably would have avoided, panicked, or gotten way behind in addressing some of the deeper grammar and tonal points such as continuous tenses, intonation, stress, passive voice, etc. I am aware that the course just touched on these topics, but I am also grateful that I dont seize up with fear at the thought that they might come up. I am going to try to address and not avoid them in the future.
-Motivation is a goal to target. I probably had some idea of this before, but it is now one of my primary objectives. I have a deeper appreciation for creating an interest and desire to learn in students. My prior tendency would have been to say/think, Well, if they are not really interested in learning english
, then I am not sure that I can help them. I now believe that I can foster and create an environment that will motivate the vast majority of the students. I will focus on keeping my students motivated as a top priority.
-Teach multiple skill levels. I think my tendency might have been to end up finding an area that seemed to work well and settling in on it. I am better educated now on the need to make sure and pay attention to teaching a balance of speaking/pronunciation, writing, listening, reading, and grammar. All are important. None can be neglected. I intend to review future lessons within a course from time to time to ensure that all areas are receiving adequate attention.
-Resource adjustment. Although I might prefer to use an Overhead Projector in combination with my computer to get a specific point across, I need to be able to adjust to stick drawings and mime if those are the only resources available that will do the job. It is vitally important to be able to be aware of what is available to you in your surroundings. This includes being creative and incorporating non-teaching materials into lessons. I will attempt to remain flexible within my environment.
-Language control. Be careful what language is used. Dont confuse and confound the students, but at the same time, use a mix of words they know and dont know so that their exposure to you is a time of learning. You want to stretch them, but you dont want to snap them. Be very specific and simple regarding instructions and expectations. I intend to check my language as I go to ensure that the level is appropriate.