My Practicum was carried out at the University English Institute from the beginning of August till last week. It was done during grammar class and oral skills classes. During my practicum, I mostly made observations in a class environment. I observed how the teachers handled the students and the student reactions to teachers. The class environment was unique in an observers view because I could easily spot activities that were obvious to students and their teachers because to them, it was a normal day in school while to me it was a unique experience. As I sat in the back of the classroom desperately grasping and taking in the teacher approaches, I learnt that I had a lot to learn and I did, fast.
The teachers made me understand the true calling that is teaching by my attendance of actual ESC classrooms. Everything from the way they asked their questions, taught different aspects and handled their students concerns was a learning experience for me. The opportunity to participate in microteaching helped me to integrate what I was learning and what I was taking as lessons through experience. I learned how to deal with students from different cultures. The teacher in my observation classroom always found a way to let his students talk about their culture. To those that did not quite grasp a concept, the lecturer would let them talk about their culture which would excite them and the lecturer would then try to relate the concept to their current culture which is the American Culture.
The teacher also found a way to encourage students to feel welcome in their new community and would often point out wrong doings or wrong wording so that they do not embarrass themselves in the new community. I learnt that knowing the cultural background of my students will help to better understand them and be able to identify their weaknesses. It also helps me as the teacher to be able to choose appropriate topics to be able to teach them effectively. The teachers I observed had a beautiful relationship with their students and they seemed to understand each other well. The students were comfortable in asking their teachers questions and where they were shy about asking for explanations, the teacher would know and intervene. The teacher also found ways to encourage students to participate in their class activities and to give up answers regardless of if they are right or not. Supposing they are wrong the teacher would help them pronounce better or intone better. From this, I learnt that this is able to increase student participation as well as their confidence as they will not shy away from answering questions or actively engaging in assignments with their peers.Practicum report
In giving examples, the teacher used a genius method of giving examples that best related to their daily lives in this new culture or from their culture. I also learnt from the teachers that students may also learn from their peers and by getting them in active group work will help them to learn from each other because the group will be balanced in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
I learnt that students like any other human require feedback to perform. It is human nature to feel to want encouragement. Students will perform better when me as a teacher is able to give them feedback like for example, the teacher that first expressed disappointment in the grades the weak students were getting but after that, the teacher was able to encourage them that they can do better and be better if they took their studying seriously. Finding the right way and the right timing to give feedback is important. It would for example be very embarrassing to a student to have scored poorly if you try to scold them before other students. Calling them aside or asking them to see you after class, may be better timing.Practicum report
My practicum turned out exactly how I expected it to. My expectations were that I would learn a lot from a classroom interaction especially a live one. I did learn a lot especially from micro teaching where I was able to compose myself, increase my confidence. I learnt to control students in a classroom. The most challenging part of microteaching was learning to control a rowdy classroom. Learning where I had to put my foot down as a teacher and how to handle students when they asked questions or were in group discussions was a learning experience. The practicum gave me both an opportunity to observe and to be observed by my fellow peers as I carried out teaching practice. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn from the teachers and students as well in the institution that was ready to accommodate us. I learnt of different cultures and my exposure to this environment prepares me for a long life career in preparing students that I may meet along the way. The practicum was efficient in enlightening me on life out there in the field, as a teacher.Practicum report
I learnt a lot of things about myself. I thought I was very confident until I got to the front of a classroom and nervousness set in. I was however quick to learn to deliver despite my nervousness and somehow it went away with progress. I also learnt that I did not quite know how I would handle a group of students from diverse backgrounds despite having friends from different cultures. I learnt that when it comes to student-teacher interaction the balance had to be found because a student could easily get offended or get lost in the classroom and not be able to quite grasp the concept. It was a surprising find that I was able to easily blend with students and my people skills were better than I thought because they seemed to take my lesson seriously and they gave feedback when I asked them to. I learnt that teaching ESL can be tricky but with the right amount of balance I can make it successfully.
The most valuable thing I learned was that understanding the culture where your various students come from is key in determining just how you will handle them at a classroom level. It is halfway the journey towards making better students and even the best students. Understanding their language and why the say words the way they do, why their intonation is as it is, why their grammar is lagging behind may all be provided in their background. I learnt that human beings are deeply defined by culture and learning to tap into that knowledge will help you to prepare your students better.
The most effective activity is engaging students in every aspect of learning and not just simply lecturing them. The peer teachers because of their youth were able to communicate to students when they gave examples that young people easily identified because it affected them. My experience has prepared me for internship by helping me to understand why my interaction with my students is critical. During my internship I will work on getting to understand my students and their backgrounds, I will work on getting them to participate effectively in group work and I will take it upon myself to monitor their progress and in the process identify their weaknesses and help them to work on them as well as let them know of their strengths that will motivate them to do better.Practicum report