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Adriana Serna Olivares
My educational philosophy
My educational philosophy in English language teaching and learning is the following. I think that students learn by having contact with visual aids and with authentic material because they can remember words easily and they can be in touch with an authentic model of how the language is used. For me, teaching grammar depends on students’ interests. I prefer to teach it in an overt way because students are more concerned with rules. Also, practicing and developing all the skills is an important aspect in my classes. This is because students have to know hot to apply the language in different areas; they will have a better preparation on the language.
TPR is an important aspect of my philosophy; students relate different movements, actions with the language. They can memorize some topics easily. Students have to interact with the language, knowing how to use it and the way it is applied by native people. I prefer to correct important errors, not every single one because they can loose interest in the language. Creativity is also important; students create big amounts sentences that they can use in different context. The context is essential for me; students relate real contexts with the topics being taught. Students learn how and when to apply the language. Finally, a comprehensive input helps students to understand certain topics easily, and they are able to link the new topics with their own life and context.
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Teaching strategies for teaching technical vocabulary
Teachers are not applying teaching strategies to teach technical vocabulary. When teaching technical words, teachers can use visual or verbal strategies. Visual strategies are related to flashcards, images, visuals and body language. This type of strategies can help students visualize the new words, but some of them can be difficult to visualize. In contrast, verbal strategies are concerned with definitions and examples. This strategies can help students understand better the new terms. Verbal and visual teaching strategies have to be taken into account when teaching vocabulary from specific areas.
Are English teachers applying the appropriate strategies to teach technical vocabulary? Teachers are not providing the right strategies to teach technical vocabulary in class. There are certain teaching strategies to promote technical vocabulary that is difficult to learn and apply. Those strategies, which are visual or verbal, help students and teachers in different ways.
English teachers can apply visual or verbal teaching strategies when teaching technical vocabulary in order to help students learn words easily. The use of these strategies depends on the contents and the characteristics of the students. Visual strategies help students visualize new words; they include elements like: picture cards, pictures, gestures, and so on (Gairns & Redman, 1986). Additionally, these types of strategies might help non-native speakers improve their knowledge of the words; however, technical vocabulary might be difficult to visualize and to represent through an image. In contrast, verbal strategies are concerned with providing examples, definitions and so on, in an oral way (Gairns & Redman, 1986). These strategies include elements like synonyms, definitions, examples, etc. As a result, this type of strategies might help the learner identify the use and meaning of the words easily — the knowledge will become "deeper" — students will be in touch with additional information about the technical words. Another strategy is translation, it does not let students visualize the meaning of the words because they will be focused on translating rather on learning. Therefore, students have to depend on meaning rather upon the translation of words (Kumar, 2005). By using different types of teaching strategies, teachers can influence the speed and quality in which technical vocabulary is learned.
Identifying and using verbal and visual teaching strategies helps teachers provide useful knowledge of technical vocabulary. Visual strategies are concerned with images and body language; in contrast, verbal strategies are related to definitions. These strategies might be used in class because it is difficult to learn technical words in English by Spanish speakers. As a result, teachers have to try different ways of teaching in order to find the most useful according to their teaching style and the contents that are being taught. Finally, teaching strategies are practical tools for teachers and for students in favor of learning technical vocabulary.
Gairns, R. & Redman, S. (1986). Working with words. A guide to teaching and learning vocabulary. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Kumar, N. (2005). The Internet TESL Journal. Retrieved from: http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Mehta-Vocabulary.html#
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