Diary submitted by Reanna C, Erasmus+ internship in Valencia
Throughout my experience in TEFL I have learnt that consistency and routine are pivotal in the classroom. Without a sense of familiarity, learning a language can be more challenging for students. This diary will focus on just a few examples of specific routines and how they are applied in order to to consistently consolidate students’ knowledge, as well as challenge students with lessons suited to their abilities.
Primarily, one weekly routine I like to incorporate in my lessons on a daily basis is the use of introductions and conclusion to begin and end every lesson. This is executed by starting the lessons by telling my students what exactly we will cover in today’s lesson. I then go on to outline the main learning objectives and what I would like them to achieve by the end of the hour. A recent example of this is in a grammar lesson I taught based on verbal nouns. The students were told that I would firstly teach them what verbal nouns are and how to use them, and after this they would carry out a series of exercises to consolidate their understanding. Thus, the learning objective being that they can use verbal nouns in the correct way by the end of the lesson. Focused discussion and understanding of these learning objectives can help students take control over their own learning (Everette, 2017). After the lesson finishes, I like to end with an overall conclusion of what we have learnt during the lesson. The consistency of this practice is often useful to summarise the main points that have been made as it is difficult for the students to retain all the information they learn whilst still being fed new information.
Another weekly feature I have learnt to include as an EFL teacher is ensuring that all my lesson plans are adaptable to the needs of each student. Every student who enters the classroom has a different level of English and a different objective they would like to achieve by enrolling for these lessons. Consequently, I find it necessary to tailor my lessons to the needs of each student. At Valencia Language Academy we are given specific timetables at the start of each week; the students also have access to these. However, if we have lessons where only one or two students attend, and they feel an alternative lesson to that on the timetable would be more beneficial for them, then I often altar the lesson plan to fit their requirements. This can be seen as the class I teach has students ranging from a B2 to C2 level, meaning there is a big difference in their fluency and vocabulary knowledge, and subsequently that the same lessons are not always appropriate for the various levels I encounter in the classroom. A defining feature of teaching work is that it involves change, and uncertainty on a daily basis (ResearchGate, 2016). By consistently adapting lesson plans, I am guaranteeing that I adapt to this change and always meet the needs of individual students.
To conclude, I have learnt first-hand that routine and consistency as essential towards EFL students’ learning. By implementing structures such as introductions, objectives and conclusions I have created lessons which help students consolidate exactly what they are learning. Moreover, by constantly adapting my lesson plans to students’ needs I am ensuring that every lesson matches the ability of the student. These routines have enabled me to create ordered methods of learning within my classroom.
Everette, M (2017) The Hidden Power of Learning Objectives, online source, Available from: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/meghan-everette/17-18/The-Hidden-Power-of-Learning-Objectives/, (accessed: 06/07/19)
ResearchGate (2016), Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, article source, Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299592012_Adaptability_An_Important_Capacity_for_Effective_Teachers, (accessed: 06/07/19)