Contributed by Janet Love Morrison, Instructor, Greystone College
Well, after students have survived Week One of Greystone College’s TESOL 130 class, it’s on to Week Two!
At nine o’clock Monday morning students need to hand in all of the peer teaching paperwork they were assigned at the end of Week One: this paperwork is referred to as the “Master Set”. The “Master Set” is a copy of everything students will need to teach a class: the lesson plan, teacher’s discourse and visual study board.
One by one, TESOL students teach a function-based lesson to their peers. A function-based lesson teaches English learners how to communicate in a purposeful exchange; in other words, the language they will need to express themselves in order to accomplish something (for example, asking for directions). The length of the lesson depends on the size of the class; however, on average it is about 30 minutes.
During the peer teaching sessions, your TESOL instructor sits at the back of the room and grades each student’s performance while cross checking with the “Master Set”. When the lesson is over, the TESOL instructor spends time one-on-one going over the strengths of the lesson and the areas for improvement.
This second week also introduces “Free Classes” where students get the opportunity to observe and participate in free classes taught by TESOL Diploma students. This offers a marvellous opportunity to learn from other student teachers.
Then it’s back to the books. When we think of what to do in our lessons, we have to decide what it is we hope our students will achieve by the end of a lesson. Therefore, it is important to create activities so that three elements: engage, study, activate (ESA) are evident in appropriate sequences. ESA are the building blocks for successful language teaching and learning. From there different language teaching methods and techniques are introduced: Present, Practice and Produce (PPP); Task Based Learning (TBL); and Test-Teach-Test (TTT). Students then compare the main differences and discover how they’re connected to ESA lesson planning. As well, students explore and analyze some key second language teaching methods (The Grammar Translation Method, The Audiolingual Method and Communicative Language Teaching).
In Week Two students also explore grammar: time and tense; timelines, parts of speech. The questions TESOL students should ask themselves are: “You know it – but can you use it?” “You can use it – but can you teach it?”
Week Two then continues with TESOL students observing a class at our sister school, ILSC, and while they are observing, students must complete observation forms that assist them to identify everything that is going on in the class, based on what they’ve learned so far.
Concurrently, students are preparing for the grammar-based lesson they’ll be teaching the following Monday, and the week winds up with a grammar video and some time for peer teaching prep work.