Teach English in Gulang Zhen - Wuwei Shi

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Having taught teenagers and children for the past 8 years, my first thought was that teaching adult students would be far easier in some respects: Adults have longer attention spans and are usually more emotionally and psychologically mature. At the same time, they present their own particular share of problems for the teacher: they may show up for classes or one-on-one sessions heavily-fatigued after a long day at work. They may also bring their own personal (home and/or work-related) problems to class with them. Also, there is no guarantee that an adult class of learners will consist of students who are all at the same level; as desirable as that may be. The teacher of a course in Business English may more often than not faced with the task of providing instruction across different levels of proficiency within the same classroom; just as one would encounter in a classroom of young learners. There are ways to compensate for this, of course. One way would be to form pairs or groups consisting of high and low-level learners. Another way would be to provide graded materials that could be completed by all levels, albeit at different rates of speed. There are advantages and disadvantages to individual instruction: On the one hand, for example, the student receives personal feedback on all aspects of the instruction and he/she can work at their own pace. On the other hand, the student may become bored with interacting with the same person every day and may also not get along with the instructor because of personality differences. For teachers, an advantage is that they only have to worry about teaching to one proficiency level. One drawback, however, is that there are often not enough materials available that can be modified for one-on-one instruction. Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences suggests that every learner has a set of 7 intelligences which must be equally fostered in the classroom. Many educators tend to focus, however, on just two: verbal and mathematical; with the result that many learners come to the classroom environment with some intelligences more developed than others. Teachers are encouraged to keep their students' different \"styles\" of learning (or \"set\" of individual intellectual strengths and weaknesses) in mind when assessing their progress. Because a classroom of 20-30 students may bring just as many different styles of learning; it is impractical for a teacher to try and accommodate every lesson or activity to each individual style. This is not to say, however, that some common ground cannot be found and that learners cannot learn to use their more-developed intelligences productively. Unit 2 outlines 5 popular theories of learning as they apply to the teaching of language: Grammar Translation, in which comparisons are made between the learner's native language and the target language. Drawbacks include the fact that some languages use different tense systems and structures and do not invite direct comparison or translation. Audio-Lingualism, which emphasizes rote verbal drills and memorization but facilitates little or no actual understanding of what is being learned. The Silent Way, which is more of a \"trial-and-error\" approach and in some ways can be likened to the type of language acquisition one experiences when one travels to a foreign country and attempts to simply pick up the language over time. Task-Based Learning, in which students focus on completing a task wherein language is used in a meaningful way. PPP (Presentation, Practice, Production), in which learning takes place across three discrete but connected stages: presenting new material/concepts, practice in using those concepts, and production in which students use the concepts in ways that are relevant and meaningful to them. The ESA Methodology (based on the theories and writings of Jeremy Harmer) is very much similar to PPP in that it, in its simplest form, consists of three stages: The Engage Phase (activities to get students thinking and speaking in English), The Study Phase (activities in which the students gain practice in using new grammar/vocabulary in ways that allow them and the teacher to check understanding) and The Activate Stage (in which students get to take what they've learned and then use it in new contexts). Lessons using the ESA method are not restricted to just the \"straight arrow\" model outlined above. There is also the \"Boomerang\" model which consists of an \"Engage\" stage and two separate \"Activate\" stages. A \"Patchwork\" variation may have as many as three \"Activate\" stages; depending on what concepts are being taught. It is important, however, that any ESA lesson begins with an \"Engage\" activity and end with an \"Activate\" activity.