The classes I teach are multilevel and invariably include students affected by family crises or conditions which affect their ability to concentrate, participate, interact and, finally, learn. It is not a rare occurrence that the behaviour of such a child disrupts the work of the whole class, which either leads to the isolation of the child by his or hers classmates or a situation which is not favourable to learning. As a teacher of a foreign language my task is to improve students' competence in communication, which means the lessons I teach are interactive. As the moderator of interaction I need to be a skilled communicator, especially with disruptive students, and know how to meet their needs in order to steer their energy towards learning and away from disruption - if I do not understand the underlying reasons for a student's behaviour, it is impossible for me to do my job well. I have also encountered a noticeable amount of violence and an equally striking lack of empathy among the schoolchildren I have taught so far. As a teacher I need tools to tap into the sources of empathy in order to prevent violence to the best of my ability in order to make the schools I work in and, ultimately, the society I am a part of more amiable. My third role consists of tailoring learning materials to students’ needs, which brings me back to identifying students’ needs.
I have extensive knowledge of teaching English to speakers of other languages methodology theory as well as linguistics relevant to it, however I only possess basic theoretical and some practical insight into what ADHD, autism, bullying, mental illness and family trauma can do to a child's ability to learn. That makes me a skilled professional in the field of teaching English to an average learner, but leaves me wanting with respect to learners with all sorts of special needs. The course I have applied for covers themes such as effects of trauma, domestic violence, abuse, neglect, etc. on learning, overcoming learning blocks, and also offers fresh ideas on how to asses children and gives ready-made classroom activities which can help with dealing with conflict and behaviour management. University education, internship, cooperation with school counsellors and all of the workshops and lectures I have so far attended have helped me to make do in reaching difficult learners, but none have offered such an extensive insight into the topic and as such, I believe this course will make me a more confident and knowledgeable teacher and my students happier learners.
Hopefully I haven’t bored you by now. The whole point of me publishing the two paragraphs is making clear what I want to achieve by going to Pilgrims and writing this blog. In my application I promised to disseminate the results of my training online. I did so for three reasons:
- …what I learn becomes visible to others and the communication with the inhabitants of the blogosphere always enriches the learning experience,
- I like writing a blog because it usually results in me learning far more than I imagined I would…
- …and I’m rarely able to make myself write one, unless I create a situation in which I MUST write it for whatever reason.
So this is my homework, for the next three weeks at least…
Hopefully I won’t be the only person finding it useful. ;)
All my love,