LEARNERS & LEARNING Competency
Willingness to Allow Learners’ Learning to Guide My Teaching
1_AP _ Dogme graphic mind map: inserted below
MAT@50 _ essay submitted for publication (re Dogme)
2_AP_ Reflections on Participatory Approach
I see no other way to teach effectively than to learn how my students need to learn and to guide them along their path. To teach deductively might work for rote memorization, but I cannot see that it engages the student and helps them embed cognition. Deductive teaching can dampen the joy of learning, which is one way I measure the success of my teaching.
In accompanying essays about knowledge and skill in learners and learning, I cover several aspects of my willingness and intent to learn my students needs. I will draw upon my internship to further describe this willingness in practice.
Many of my students had a great deal of trouble hearing English phonology and hearing their mis-pronunciation. I found it amusing that they would simply speak louder in their efforts to correct themselves (a bit like the old joke about the monolingual American abroad). How I assessed which students needed what was based partly on my knowledge of which languages had no equivalent sounds in English, and partly on what I heard during group pronunciation practice. As part of every lesson, I would introduce new vocabulary and have the class say it in unison. I did this because I could hear who pronounced the words incorrectly and by having students speak together, I avoided singling anyone out. How I helped these students was also as a group. Even though some spoke accurately, I picked a problem letter or dipthong and had the entire class practice. I would walk around (I arranged my class in a circle) and demonstrate the facial muscle action for that particular sound.
Attention to personality played a large part of my approach. I could be bold with all the Ukrainians, Byelo-Russians, and the Syrian men. I used gentle - and persistent - encouragement with the Nepalis and Bhutanese.
One lovely memory I have is of the blossoming of the wife of one of my Syrian students.
At first, she would not speak at all. With each exercise - especially with the games we played - she opened up. At the end of my internship, she was laughing and participating as much as anyone.
These are the moments I treasure. Joy in my students eyes are my ultimate reward.
If my students learn to love language, they will learn it well.