Friday, November 14, 2014

what I have learned

I finished over 250 hours of Spanish classes last week.  Besides learning more Spanish (and I feel like I have learned a lot), I have learned some things that should help me be a better teacher.
1.  If my student doesn't understand, it doesn't mean that they are not trying.  Some days at the end of class I was more than ready for a break.  I wanted to learn the concept, but sometimes I just needed more time to understand.
2.  A positive teacher-student relationship is very helpful.  I really liked my teacher, so I was more motivated to work hard and try to understand.
3.   Context and prior knowledge are really important.  When a sentence or word is not in a broader context, I sometimes have no idea what it means.
4.    Practice, practice, and more practice is so necessary.  I am more fluent than I was eleven weeks ago, but I need lots more practice to get better and build my confidence.
5.   The manner in which correction is done makes a big difference.  It is necessary to correct, but one teacher I had made me want to quit talking because I was afraid that I was going to make a mistake.
6.   Tests can shake a student's confidence.  I did not have any tests until my last day, but I was nervous about taking that test.  I was afraid I would forget everything and do poorly, disappointing both my teacher and myself.  Thankfully, I did well.
7.   Build on a student's interests when possible.  I like to write, so when I got to write stories and in my journal, it didn't seem like a chore.  My speaking practice centered around topics I was interested in.  One day my teacher brought in an article about a well known author because she knew I liked to read.  All these things helped me stay engaged in the learning process.


Anonymous said...

My professors in grad school often said we need to let our own language learning experience inform our teaching. It sounds like you've come to a similar conclusion. It's a good idea to take notes like this that you can refer back to.

Don said...

Your mind is much like a muscle. You can work very hard at a language concept, and toward the end you will feel almost the same limp feeling of an overtrained limb. You will feel that you are actually forgetting, and will be discouraged. The next session, your concept will perform itself with ease you could not predict. There will be easy days and difficult days, and you will not be able to predict which day will be what,nor will you be able to set up a schedule so as to perform particularly well on any particular day.In the long run you will be amazed, but on the day to day axis it will be a jagged series of seeming near failures and seeming success. The reality is that you are in training. Just being there is success.

Audrey said...

Clair, I just got caught up on your blog. Sounds like you are learning much and having new experiences . I am keeping you in my prayers. I pray for your safety. A Audrey

Shannon said...

Interesting observations. In regards to testing, you experienced firsthand how it can shake your confidence-- do you have any advice on how to overcome that barrier? Have you thought about how you could apply this experience to your classroom? I spent my entire education being nervous about tests, especially about the most important ones (i.e., GRE). Dylan likes testing and doesn't seem to get nervous. For him it is an opportunity to move forward.

Janr said...

What a great list of insights; you will become a very memorable teacher with this understanding. :)