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best methods in your opinions

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Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:41 pm    Post subject: best methods in your opinions Reply with quote

I am interested in what people think are their favorite methods or systems for teaching English. I am always shopping for a better method, particularily when I find myself at a school that doesn't give me much. I consider by the way using books like Oxford books and others not so much as a method but material to use your own method. A method requires a system, a reason for doing everything you do- for example Callan, Speak Your Mind. Describe your method, don't just say 'audiolingual' or something because I don't really know what that means. I know this is a big subject. I have ideas of what I like to see in a method and what I don't but I won't say them yet.
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Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pardon the preamble, but I will answer your question.

Your use of 'shopping' and 'favorite' suggests you need to put the horse in front of the cart--start with your students. The more you understand them, the less you'll concern yourself with methods. I'd urge you to work with your students to clarify the purpose and results they hope to achieve (SMART goals). Once you do this, you'll instinctively know what resources and approaches to use. Trust your gut, the answer lies within you.

It's my perception that ELT academics favor not just one method but a multiplicity of approaches. Most 'methodists', as I've derogatorily called them, appear dogmatic in their adherence to a fixed and often dated theory.

Now, to your question.

Been a while since I taught adults. My current beginner class all claim they want to learn conversational skills so this became my purpose. First, I convinced our manager to order Cambridge's Interchange series as the in-house coursebook is unsuitable for numerous reasons.

I then revised the last Teacher Evaluation Form I'd used and posted it on the Admin Forum and Student Forum to elicit feedback. I plan to use it next week.

As I'd written (see sample), I've begun using dialogue translation as a means of eliciting vocabulary and structures, providing invaluable feedback on retention. It has the added benefit of having students actually role-play culturally-contextualized examples of how they might foreseeably use the language. The plan is for them to eventually come up with their own such dialogues through Community Language Learning (CLL) whereby they end up recording their conversation in English with the local teacher's and my assistance.

Having recognized the need with some students to do a lot more vocab and structural drills, I plan to use the same Total Physical Response (TPR) method that I use to surreptitiously instill patterns in primary students. I say a phrase (or word) such as 'It's a dog.' and 2 children (compete to) hit/touch the dog (flashcard) while repeating (producing) the statement. I attribute the effectiveness of this method, to the distraction caused by the game--studying is conscious whereas learning (habituation/attainment, call it what you like) is unconscious.

In keeping with the aim of developing conversational skills and maintaining self-confidence, I attempt to activate almost all language covered. The Cambridge teachers book contains comprehensive Language Summaries (by unit) which I distribute to students. I keep careful track of any additional language introduced as it all gets recycled.

I still need to (1) figure out how best to help students set SMART personal goals and (2) adapt the Interchange/Passages Initial Placement and other tests to my own needs. You may want to read my posts on the matter:
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