Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Student Teacher's Training Experience

This is from a graduate student at the univertsity. He did teacher training last year and taught at a Junior High School. This is his reflection on teaching Unit 4 in New Horizon English Course 3. He talks about some of the successes he had and some of the mistakes he made. Lastly, he talks about what the ultimate goals of his lessons were. I think that this essay will be very good for anybody about to start their teacher-training. Please read this and write a comment to the author, he would appreciate it!

To readers especially who are going to start teacher-training from this fall,

This is my analysis of Unit 4 in New Horizon English Course 3 (U4 in NH3, for short) and my opinion about teaching English at school. They are based on both my success and failure during my teacher-training last year, so I’m very happy if this helps you prepare teacher-training and if I receive any comment.

1 My Analysis of U4
(GOAL) According to pp.0-1 of NH3, the communicative goal of U4 is to learn how the students make themselves understood in English, using gestures, pictures, or easier words. Also, they will learn some useful expressions such as ‘Could you speak more slowly?’ ‘What does … mean?’ All these are very practical in communication, so learning them will contribute to building of the basis of the students’ practical communicative competence.
(GRAMMAR) New grammatical items in U4 are ‘how to’ and ‘it-for-to.’ Before teaching them, it may be good for the students to review functions of to-infinitives they have learned in the previous year. It will make them less confused about new grammars with those already learned, and help their understanding.
(TEXT) Text of U4 is set up from the viewpoint of culture. The students will not only deepen their understanding of Rakugo, but realize its value accepted even in foreign countries. Furthermore, they will understand differences in behavior at restaurants between Japan and America.

2 Mistakes in My Classroom
(1) At first, time control was the most difficult for me. I took too much time for pattern practice, so I had no time to have the students do the communicative activity. Using flash cards and doing pattern practice quickly are very difficult for beginners. Rapidity is important. I recommend you to see carefully how your instructor does pattern practice.
(2) In my open class, I said “Ato, ippun ne (One more minute),” “Hai, yame (OK, time’s up)” in Japanese while the students were speaking English in the communicative activity. At the meeting of the class some teachers advised me to use “classroom English.” Classroom English is very useful in teaching English, and I think it makes good atmosphere of English classroom and encourages the students to speak English.

3 Successes in My Classroom
(1) In my open class, the students learned speaking and writing with ‘it-for-to’ structure and listening to the text including the structure. For example, they learned speaking by having interview about what was difficult/easy/fun/important for them with their classmates, and then writing by writing sentences based on the information they got in their interview. After I had some of them present the sentences they wrote, they listened to the next in Dialog and tried True/False quizzes to check their comprehension. I think the class becomes interesting and useful for the students if it aims at various kinds of communicative skills.
(2) I challenged making some teaching materials. For example, I made original dialog for teaching ‘it-for-to’ structure and its meaning, because in the introduction of my open class, I want to use easier and more meaningful dialog than in the textbook. I also drew some pictures describing actions ‘get up at six’ ‘study math’ ‘play a video game’ and ‘sing together,’ which were used in the following interview, in order for the students to understand these actions easily. Using visuals are very helpful for them to understand English vocabularies, but please remember not to take much time to make them without thinking your teaching plan well.

4 Through Your Classes, What Do You Want to Tell Your Students?
This is a question which my instructor actually asked me during teacher-training. My answer was, “The most important thing in school days is to understand more about classmates. I really want the students to make friends with them. I don’t want them to get satisfied with unimportant, surface relationship among them.” So I always kept this in my mind when I planned communicative activities. What’s your wish for students you will face soon in your teacher-training? Please remember your school life and observe students, and then think about this question.

1 comment:

Gami said...

We had chances to do lessons in front of my friends this semester. But we had never taken notice about time. I understood that time control is very difficult to read your blog. I want to try to see students carefully, and I want to control time well.
I also understood importance of using classroom English. To use English as many times as we can will make good atmosphere of English classroom. I try to use classroom English in my practice teaching.
☆What do you want to tell your students?☆
I had never thought about such a thing, but this is important things for us. I want to think by my practice teaching, and tell students my thought.