In the same way in which a novice painter can profit from the mentorship by an experienced artist, we can learn a lot by observing teachers in action (as you did in step 2.1) and listening to what they have to say about effective language teaching. Below you will read two interviews with language teachers. Can you identify if any of the principles listed in previous steps underlie their practice? List the principles that you think may be behind the activities they describe in the interviews. Use the comment section below.
A: Interviewer B: Teacher
A: María Teresa, you´ve been teaching English as a foreign language for quite a long time, right?
B: Well, almost 16 years! And I love teaching children.
A: You are an experienced teacher then, what are some of your beliefs about teaching young learners? Is there a formula, so to speak?
B: No, there is no formula…..there are all sorts of young learners. I have always taught on the belief that children learn best by experimenting with the language and working together, playing together. When it comes to select activities I always choose what I think it´s useful and natural for kids. I plan activities that make students interact and produce something. For example, if kids are working with “likes and dislikes”, I might design a grid for them to ask their peers about their favourite food….a sort of opinion poll. Then, they can make a poster with the information obtained….the information is important but in order to obtain it they have to use the simple present tense. Once we have the poster we can integrate what we do in English to other subjects and make a list of “healthy “ or “unhealthy “ food.
A: Interviewer B: Teacher
A: You teach Italian at a primary school, don´t you?
B: Yes, I teach Italian at a bilingual primary school.
A: Can you tell us something about your experience? What important guiding principles do you follow?
B: For me, it is very important to link the language I teach with different aspects of life in Italy. Almost all textbooks to teach Italian bring information about Italy, so when I have to cover a linguistic objective like….let´s say the comparative case I always think of a setting that is familiar or useful for my students and try to make use of my intercultural knowledge at the same time. For example, we might compare our city (buildings, number of inhabitants, climate, etc.) with an Italian city. We practice the language of comparisons restricted to a theme that has a communicative value and that is somehow relevant for my students.
In the DOWNLOADS section bellow, you can have access to the activities designed by each of these teachers in .pdf format.