Rabat - Before indulging i n both the reflection of my personal approach to teaching and my new role in the recent changes and innovations, I should pay a particular tribute to both Moulay Ismail University (MIU) and Ecole Normale Superiéure’ (ENS) teacher trainers. These schools taught me how to ensure my ability in bridging the theories or the theoretical assumptions of Richards’ framework to English Language Teaching (ELT) with practical applications in education settings.
Rabat – Before indulging i n both the reflection of my personal approach to teaching and my new role in the recent changes and innovations, I should pay a particular tribute to both Moulay Ismail University (MIU) and Ecole Normale Superiéure’ (ENS) teacher trainers. These schools taught me how to ensure my ability in bridging the theories or the theoretical assumptions of Richards’ framework to English Language Teaching (ELT) with practical applications in education settings.
No one can deny the different ways teachers approach their teaching in terms of the implementation of methods and approaches to language teaching. As far as I am concerned, my philosophy of teaching is based on attending to students’ needs as well as my preferences in teaching, establishing a good and supportive classroom atmosphere, and taking advantage of the new innovations in English Foreign Language (EFL) teaching and learning. This philosophy is not entirely a question of choosing the best methods and leaving the rest, simply because what would be inappropriate and irrelevant in a method in one context would be appropriate and relevant in another context, and vice versa.
I firmly believe that by attending to the students’ needs, and sometimes my preferences in teaching, the learning process will get boosted. The idea that the learner is the focal point of teaching-learning process has become an oft quoted dictum. However, our teaching practices tend to be otherwise. Therefore, my approach to teaching will be oriented to reverse this process by conducting an analysis of my students’ needs so that I can meet my/ their learning needs, lacks, and expectations. Then, I will use relevant strategies and activities to address these needs.
For instance, if students are communicatively oriented, I will provide them with communicative language activities – role play and simulation; discussions, conversation and debates; storytelling; pictures and other visual aids – that enable them to attain communicative objectives of the curriculum and engage them in communication. If they seek accuracy, I will design some activities that enable learners not only learn and elicit the structural and the grammatical rules inductively or deductively, but also discover their own mistakes by themselves. This help involves best practices such as collocation, dialogue completion, lexical chunks, memorization and drilling, among others.
Also, if students prefer to learn from situations, I will be glad to engage them in authentic and real-life learning through the use of concrete objects, pictures, realia; in addition to actions and gestures that can be used to demonstrate the meaning of a new language item. Interactional and social learners as well must get the opportunity to interact with each other inside and outside the classroom. By doing so, students’ learning transcends the traditional view and comes to be looked at not only as an individual accomplishment, but also something that is achieved collaboratively through pair work, group work, competition games, project works, and community services.
Concerning my approach to assessment, I would often opt for the use of authentic assessment tools – rubrics, oral interviews, reports, presentations, projects, portfolios and so on – which are useful to assess students’ process and their ability to demonstrate their written and oral performance. Final tests and exams – including question and answer tests, multiple-choice tests, essays, true and false tests, filling the blanks or the gaps – will be efficient tools as well, to evaluate what students have learnt from the course and the extent to which they meet the objective of the curriculum.
Equally important, the constraints of the school and the educational settings must be reconsidered. We all know that our classrooms are so crowded that teachers spend more time calling the roll. Also, Moroccan classes, chiefly language classes, are not equipped with adequate instructional materials and sufficient supply that will help teachers handle issues of boredom and routine in the classroom.
As a teacher, I should not wait on school reform to re-evaluate the quality of the education offered to students, but I must adopt some useful principles of Community Language Learning and Total Physical Response by myself; then, I will do my best to provide a safe and supportive environment that encourages students to learn better. This involves establishing good rapport with students and gaining their confidence and respect; creating close-knit groups where students respect each other, cooperate, develop a sense of responsibility and team spirit and then volunteer for community services. In addition, I will provide a friendly low- anxiety environment where my students can feel at ease when they participate actively, learn from their mistakes, and take most of their fun learning.
Concerning the materials, I will adopt Suggestopedia as a method to provide a bright and a cheerful classroom with the necessary tools to boost students’ motivation. A tape recorder, a laptop, a data show, speakers, and a printer and should be available in my classroom. By so doing, I will be saving time and energy to enhance the learning operation rather than working around constant equipment hindrances.
Keeping abreast of new technologies, innovations and new developments in EFL teaching and learning become inevitable. In a fast-paced world, a new generation of learners r ises up with multitude of needs. No matter how wide the digital divide, teachers are in desperate need to meet their nee ds. Doing so requires me as teacher, for instance, to be well- informed about new learning technologies and well-trained in how to make critical, ethical, and safe use of them for the sake of learners. Therefore, as a digital native, I will advocate the use of information communication t echnology but only when they fit into overall instructional materials. (Said Elhamdaoui, 2014; personal communication)
Because of my awareness of the fact that Moroccan students are generally expected to memorize information provided by the teacher, as the Audio-Lingual Method is meant to do, it will be wise to work towards the development of 21st century skills in students. This helps develop their Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) and helping them become autonomous learners and responsible citizens who can solve problems by thinking critically and creatively, both inside and outside the learning zones.
To meet this end, I will try to use Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive levels effectively in order to enhance students’ thinking, ask a series of questions that stimulate their thoughts and create an environment that is conducive to HOTS. For example, I will encourage my students to work in group and discuss challenging topics. Encouraging brainstorming of ideas and using brain teasing games (e.g. puzzles, riddles, rebuses, dilemmas) are also of considerable importance in developing students’ critical thinking skills (Imane Najjar, 2015; personal communication). As a result, students will be able to act as great thinkers and members who can expand what they have learnt in the classroom to the outside world by engaging themselves in extracurricular activities, project works and community services.
As a conclusion, I think that the main reason for having a clear vision about why I will do what I intend to do is simply because of the time I have spent reflecting on the different teaching methods and approaches as well as on their principles and techniques. Therefore, if I were asked to give some recommendations on the basis of my personal approach to teaching, I would opt for the urgent need to meeting the needs of learners and the teaching preferences, establishing a cheerful and supportive classroom atmosphere, and taking advantage of the new innovations in ELT and learning.
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