Home Forums GT TEFL Certification Course Topic – What we teach when we teach English

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    • #277025
      Leon
      Keymaster

      Try to remember the time when you studied a foreign language at school. What did you study exactly?

    • #277422
      valich
      Participant

      When I studied a foreign language at school, I studied mostly grammar, reading, writing and speaking. Less attention was paid to listening. We did listening tests once or twice a month.

      • #277510
        irynaroubel
        Participant

        It’s a pity that there were not enough opportunities for you to develop listening skills.

      • #306721
        ele
        Participant

        It s a good thing the way of teaching foreign languages has changed and improved over the years. Nowadays grammar, speaking and listening all share the same importance.

    • #277479
      Gabi Kotlubaj
      Moderator

      I’m wondering if there was also a focus on functions (functional language) when you studied a foreign language? And how was phonology taught- as integrated skills or rather as a separate skill?

    • #277503
      valentinakarpeiko
      Participant

      I studied grammar, reading and speaking.There wasn’t any attention to pronounciation.

      • #277511
        irynaroubel
        Participant

        We had the same situation, I suppose.

      • #305633
        thinkelastic
        Participant

        I find pronunciation is a difficult area, as teachers need to be careful in correcting without demotivating the student. Now I realise that if I had more listening opportunities it would have been much easier!

    • #277507
      irynaroubel
      Participant

      When I studied English, we mostly paid attention to grammar. We didn’t do much listening and didn’t focus on pronunciation either.

      • #277595
        Gabi Kotlubaj
        Moderator

        Many foreign language learners often complain about listening skills being undervalued by their teachers; this is the same for pronunciation. I wonder if this is perhaps because teachers often don’t quite understand what it is that they can teach when they teach listening skills?

    • #277593
      Gabi Kotlubaj
      Moderator

      Yes, it is also rather surprising because listening and speaking skills are typically considered together as the communicative skills. it is rather hard to improve speaking without having opportunities to develop listening skills. would you agree with me?

      • #277813

        Gabi, I like your point about listening and speaking skills being connected!
        I think language learning methodology has changed over the last decades but is still dependent on cultural determinates.
        Studying Latin as a child there was a clear focus on grammar, vocabulary and reading. Of course studying a modern language speaking and listening are equally important.

        • #277870
          Gabi Kotlubaj
          Moderator

          Anja, what you are saying is so very true! it is a funny thing about teaching methodologies- they come and go, they then return only to be phased out by something that has also already been ;=) the question is- is it the methodology used in the classroom that gives shape to our students’ learning expectations; or, perhaps it is exactly the other way round- it is the students and their expectations that enforce methodological changes? could never really answer this question;=)

        • #303892
          Terry Nickolls
          Participant

          There was little emphasis on grammar in general at my school. In later life I realised that had I had the opportunity to learn Latin and had the teaching been more robust I would have been much better equipped to learn languages. These days, I try and incorporate a gentle reinforcement of basic concepts into any one to one lesson where I suspect the student has a similar knowledge gap.

    • #278741
      l.koval.l25
      Participant

      When I studied my first foreign language at school, we mostly practised reproducing whatever we read or heard by parotting or memorizing. Fluent speaking was far from the lesson objective….

    • #278749
      Elisabetta
      Participant

      My lower secondary school French lessons were based on a lot of reading and writing exercises, with little attention being given to speaking or listening. Later on, during my linguistics studies, I realised my French teacher was definitely a supporter of the Grammar Translation Method! I still remember there was no difference between my Latin and French lessons.

      • #278873
        Gabi Kotlubaj
        Moderator

        Thank you for your thoughts Elizabetta! The communicative methodology is not something you have personally experienced in your learning then? We hope the course will help you get better understanding of how to teach a foreign language in a communicative way;=)

      • #303536
        noemi.ch
        Participant

        I agree with Elisabetta, the speaking activities we did in school involved more memorizing than actual fluent speech.

    • #278845
      Tatiana Choudhary
      Participant

      Hello, everyone! I’ve just started this course that I find very useful.

      • #278863
        Gabi Kotlubaj
        Moderator

        Hello Tatiana and welcome to the course! We hope you enjoy it!

    • #278861
      Oksana Novikova
      Participant

      When I was a pupil, we mostly learnt to reproduce learnt by heart texts, grammar and vocabulary. Less attention was paid to developing listening and speaking skills.

    • #278869
      Gabi Kotlubaj
      Moderator

      Hi Oksana. The focus on accuracy and grammar seems to be a pattern in the way we were educated in foreign languages in the past- all other teachers mentioned this. On our TEFL course, we hope to be able to communicate how to integrate skills in your teaching and focus on fluency as well as accuracy.

    • #278880
      Oksana Novikova
      Participant

      Thank you, I’ll enjoy learning more about it:)

    • #291027
      nichol302
      Participant

      I learned foreign languages in the last century and at that time, we hardly spoke at all. And the first time we did listening tests was in the exam! I hope things are a little better now!

    • #299736
      katrinalindley
      Participant

      At school we learned a lot of basic items that were not particularly interesting for us. Where is the museum? I like playing football. Etc.

      • #303538
        noemi.ch
        Participant

        I strongly agree with Katrina’s point! Lesson contents should be appealing and meaningful to learners, otherwise, interest is lost and motivation drops.

    • #300332
      Gabi Kotlubaj
      Moderator

      Thank you for sharing, Katrina- this is a very good point demonstrating how important it is that what we teach in the EFL classroom is relevant to students.

      • #303894
        Terry Nickolls
        Participant

        I agree. There is nothing more difficult than trudging through a proscribed lesson which is of no interest or beyond the range of experience of the student (for example a young teen being asked to comment on experiences within the world of work).

        • #305635
          thinkelastic
          Participant

          I agree, if the student doesn’t feel the content is relevant and can be used, it will be difficult for him/her to focus on something not familiar and the student won’t see the point in making the effort. That’s why I think students exchanges are a great way to show students they can put to use their language skills and it will be useful for their future.

    • #303532
      noemi.ch
      Participant

      My learning English in school is similar to what others have already mentioned. The main focus was on grammar and use of English exercises, whereas the other skills remained rather overlooked. We did write compositions, but no writing strategies were provided, and regarding listening, we did listening comprehension exercises from the textbook, and every now and then, we would listen to a song, but again, no strategies were provided on how to approach such exercises.
      As for speaking, we did practice dialogues from the textbook, and sometimes we did role-play activities, but I don’t believe any of those actually contributed to our becoming more fluent.

    • #303534
      noemi.ch
      Participant

      I don’t recall phonology being part of the lessons. Although the teachers did demonstrate how new words are pronounced, there wasn’t much emphasis on it on a daily basis. The only feedback we got was after doing some speaking activity in class (if it was assessed), such as oral presentations.

    • #303570
      Gabi Kotlubaj
      Moderator

      Thank you Noemi and welcome to the course! I’m particularly happy that you identify learning strategies as the missing element in your experience as a language learner! One of our roles as a teacher is to help students become independent as language learners, so that they can take their learning outside the classroom.

    • #303890
      Terry Nickolls
      Participant

      Language teaching in my school was very poor. Repetitive tasks were intermittently presented by an unenthusiastic often absent teacher. There was no emphasis on spoken activities or pronunciation and a distinct lack of fun!

    • #303896
      Gabi Kotlubaj
      Moderator

      Thank you for this Terry! You seem to be the first person on this forum to mention fun and variety in the classroom;=) Repetition has an important place in the EFL classroom, but only as a means of language reinforcement; to ensure spaced repetition of language already learned, the teacher should design a variety of tasks- nothing kills student motivation more effectively than a boring lesson!

    • #305630
      thinkelastic
      Participant

      I mainly studied grammar, reading and literature, then some listening and speaking. We had a lector once a week and that was the main opportunity to speak and get an idea of the current language spoken.

    • #305840
      Elizabeth Pillolo
      Participant

      We were taught mainly grammar. There were a lot of reading comprehensions. Not much else.

    • #306718
      ele
      Participant

      I was taught grammar from a textbook. Homework would be exercises on the recently studied topic. There was no opportunity for listening except there was one lesson a week of Conversation with a native English teacher. Lessons were knowledge based and not much fun.

    • #321956
      yewande.olusore
      Participant

      I am currently learning German, I noticed there is less attention on listening. We focus more on Grammar and vocabulary.

      • #324108
        Gabi Kotlubaj
        Moderator

        This is probably because listening skills are often difficult to teach, in particular for new teachers. If you would like to find out more about why listening skills are often neglected in the classroom and how this could be changed, please watch ‘Teaching Listening- the Cinderella Skill’ Masterclass which you can find in the Gallery Teachers Masterclass library.

        https://galleryteachers.com/course/teaching-listening-the-cinderella-skill/

    • #322867
      monnahafez100
      Participant

      most classes were about grammar rules , no time for listening activities and too much TTT found in those boring classes.

    • #322876
      monnahafez100
      Participant

      most of English classes were about grammar and writing .

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