- The teacher candidate identifies the main things learned in this practicum and ways in which this learning has informed their professional development needs, reflecting on the meaning, values, and purposes that will orient his or her professional life.
4.1 Reflect on the main things you have learned about teaching and how these relate to your understanding of the profession and the values that guide your work.
During this semester I got the chance to experience practicum on a totally different context and level, experiencing a public high-school for the first time was slightly frightening at first because of the number of students in the classroom and their social background, but the most noticeable characteristic is the bad reputation that the school has among the community because of where it is located and the behaviour of the students that attend, and how that would affect my performance as a Student-Teacher. I was into all that “judge a book by its cover” mood. Gladly that changed the first minute I stepped into one of the classrooms.
If elementary students just want to share about their lives, high-schoolers need to get to know you before they start trusting you as a teacher, so I decided that I would use my own classes to introduce myself as a person, and a professional so they will feel more comfortable around me not only to share their thoughts but to feel safe enough around this new teacher to open up their learning insecurities and learn.
One of the first things I figured out was that the students attitudinal response to the teacher’s planning cannot be overlooked, teachers need to improve their teaching and lesson planning through the students feedback, if there is being noticed that they are not responding as expected with an activity, it does not mean that it won’t work again, but it will not with that specific class in that context, so the fact that students need to find their classes meaningful need to be addressed by the teacher first. Even if it means more work, the teacher needs to always be prepared and have extra material or activities in case students work faster than the usual because they feel more comfortable around English, therefore they perform the tasks better and faster.
In terms of lesson planning, one of the best things I could have realized this semester was to time the class before teaching, it helps keep the pace and, reorganize if needed beforehand, so the class does not get messy at the moment of teaching it. But the most important realization was that it is a must for the teacher to take time to listen to the students’ opinions, likes, and dislikes because they can also contribute to the developing of the class guiding the discussion towards their best learning.
4.2 Describe one or two areas of professional growth (e.g. instructional strategies, content knowledge).
First of all, I think is urgent that students in all areas, especially EFL understand how the skills, strategies, or concepts they are learning will fit into their lives. For instance, how, when, and in what classes the strategies learned will be needed; How does help them not only to learn English but supports their learning skills in different areas; or how they benefit from learning how to understand new words, concepts, or texts. Besides, is our job to make all these tedious-to learn tools, relevant and useful.
In addition, as stated by Says (2017) activities or assignments should have a purpose, be meaningful and interesting. Teachers need to be explicit on why it is worth to spend time on them, and what they are expected to learn. Since I started this practicum period one the statements I used to hear, was that the teachers’ job was not to entertain or look like a clown in front of students, yet I partially agree on that because it is not about being fun or clown-ish, it is about developing engaging lessons for the students to learn meaningfully, they will become fun over time.
To conclude, students will learn basic skills better when they are involved and have the chance to practice them in a meaningful and interesting context. And of course, all these make not only students learn, but also makes teaching more fun and fulfilling.
References and Credits:
Says, J. (2017, July 14). Instructional Strategies. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://www.fortheteachers.org/instructional_strategies/