CHANGES IN MY TEACHING BELIEFS
My beliefs before I took this course.
My students are High school students in poor rural areas, no chance of contact with foreigners. They are different level in knowledge. They finished Secondary school but their knowledge is also uneven. There are very good students, but some students do not even know the basic knowledge of whether learned at the lower levels. They think English is not important for them. My students are studying English for having the basic knowledge to pass the graduated exam. Before taking this course, my beliefs about teaching English were simple. I taught “traditional pedagogy, emphasizing the acquisition of grammar and vocabulary rather than communicative competence”. According to the standard of knowledge and skills instruction, there are five skills in each lesson (reading, speaking, listening, writing, language focus) in the text book. I tried how to convey the content of 5 units.
Here is one example of how I taught. In lesson reading, I usually taught by the following way. The first, warmed up depending on the theme of the reading that I had in all different ways, after leading into the topic I helped students some vocabulary through practical examples for the student to pronounce some difficult words. Then, depending on the types of exercises in the textbook that students worked in pairs or groups read silently, discussed and provided answers.
In lesson speaking, I just stuck to the content and the conversation in the form of textbooks, for students to practice in pairs or individually. I did a lot with my thought and I spoke more than my student did. I didn’t give chance to my students to talk and correct them directly when they made mistake. My students were less interested in communication skills as they think graduated exam had not to test this skill.
In lesson listening, I often taught with my own way such as: using tape and turning on the cassette then let students listen, in the mean time I waited until the tape end I used the answer sheet to ask students what they listened. Teaching in this way I made students passive. Some students were lazy, no attention, they copied from the reference books when asked to answer the exercises. Sometimes I got bored with my teaching methods. I really had not found a way to teach students really attractive and effective.
My beliefs about using Vietnamese in the English language lessons was that made the students a better understanding of grammar to use. It depends on the level of the students that I use English more or less. It means the use of Vietnamese is not the same in all classrooms. Instead, it should be adapted to suit the context of a specific classroom. I often use English in hours teach grammar or sometimes in the case of necessity to make students better understand the lesson, because high school students use grammar is essential in the final exam rather than communication skills. Using Vietnamese in explaining terminologies and abstract words and complex grammatical points is extremely effective. Students will understand better and more clearly what they are being taught. Moreover, students’ understanding of the lessons is very important; therefore I frequently use Vietnamese to check for my students’ understanding. I like joking with my students and I think students may enjoy a joke told in Vietnamese more. This will create a less-stressed learning environment and so help them learn better. In the class with a higher English level, I only use Vietnamese in case my students are confused with my English explanations in order to help them understand more clearly. In addition, the teacher should use Vietnamese to give instructions about the activities that are performed for the first time. I do not want the activities to be stopped because the students do not know what to do next. It is very important to me that the students understand what they have been taught and see clearly their errors, so...
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