A new-fangled experience has begun. The entire idea of presenting my first teaching portfolio was exhilarating, but perplexing. The initial step was to comprehend what a teaching portfolio is. An account of an instructor’s main strengths as well as teaching achievements is a teaching portfolio. It depicts an instructor’s documents and resources, which jointly imply the extent and quality of an instructor’s teaching aptitude (Rodriguez-Farra, 2006). By understanding the meaning of a teaching portfolio, I began documenting my experience taking into consideration the role behind the portfolio. I present my work by first explaining the thought process that preceded decision made.
This portfolio presents my E.L. seven-year career as well as my experience as a master’s scholar in King Saud University’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching Methodology. I feel confidence that I was successful in my portfolio presentation and that it will merit your approbation and approval.
My portfolio will include the following:
My portfolio will consist of: introduction as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s education policy and educational goals at the intermediate stage.
The objectives of teaching English in Saudi Arabia and in the intermediate stage were: course of action before lesson preparation; lesson one: planning, analyzing, worksheets and teaching aids; lesson two: planning, analyzing, worksheets and teaching aids; references; appendices and C.D. for the demanded records.
According to Sivananda (n.d.), a Hindu spiritual teacher, one ought to put his or her intellect, mind, heart, and soul even to their smallest acts since this is the secret of success. I anticipate that it will suffice in reflecting my active and industrious character. I hope that it will be an evidence for my self-progress as an instructor and an educator as well as my abilities to contribute in the development of the learning process.
The procedure preceding lesson preparation:
The procedure preceding lesson preparation included the rationale of choosing the Qur'an Memorization School in Al-Muzahmiah. There are several reasons for the choosing of the school. Firstly, although, the school was quite a distance from my residence, I chose it due to the fact that I had the requisite familiarity with the school environment after working there for a whole year; and a cordial relationship with the school’s administration besides having some background information regarding the students.
The objectives of meeting the school’s head teacher were to handover the announcement correspondence and clarify the rationale of my call to the school; moreover, I had to check the availability of the computers as well as the conditions of the machines with regards to their validation.
The purpose of meeting the English teacher
The objectives of meeting the English teacher were: select the suitable class. Other than this, I wished to choose the appropriate lesson for me to teach. Finally, I would like to get an overview of the students’ performance in the subject as well as their abilities. Besides meeting the English teacher, I had to meet the students’ advisor.
The objectives of meeting the students’ advisor
Firstly, I wanted to analyze and understand academically weak and strong students and to comprehend the students’ behavior. Indeed, I wished to get knowledge on the students’ academic abilities in order to fathom the requisite measures and criteria in which I would base my teaching. Apart from understanding the academic abilities of the students, I would also know the students’ special abilities in the academia through the indirect interaction with the students’ advisor. Finally, I had to meet the students themselves.
Objectives of meeting the students
On my visit to the school, I was accorded a warm reception that made me acknowledge and develop a close liking for the company of the students. In fact, owing to previous engagement in school activities with the students, there was positive reception of my visit’s intent. This aspect was a indication of the students’ readiness to hear from me.
The Following is the Procedure and Activities that I Used When Teaching the Whole Class Using the Discussion Method
The Learning Context
I had mixed feelings after I was assigned the task. In fact, I felt it as truly, a challenge that I had ahead of me. However, despite the fact that I was happy to be at the school and practice teaching, I was still apprehensive and nervous. The professional qualifications were not the challenge as I had successfully qualified as a professional in the field of teaching. However, it was an immense challenge since I had to prove my credentials as an E.L. teacher and to demonstrate what I had gained from my master's study at the department of Curriculum and Teaching Methodology. This projected me to yet another challenge as the proving of my credentials was not an easy task. All in all, I got a reprieve of the challenge by undertaking a lot of research. To achieve this, I laid down the strategies on how to synchronize my work on a step-by-step basis.
Indeed, I felt perturbed by a series of questions racing in my mind. For instance, I was wondering how I would present my work in the context of my students and the clients in general. Additionally, I was disturbed deciding on the physical content of my work. This was important to me as it would do great to portray my professional qualification in the field of teaching. In order to address these issues among others, I had to undertake extensive research on the topics and the entire baseline.
Initially, I had to choose a school. To begin with, this was not a hard task for me and therefore did it at the peak of my comfort. This was further aided by the fact that I was previously working in the Qur'an Memorization School in Al-Muzahmiah near Riyadh city. I considered the school to be mine and fit for the application of the task as far as my profession was concerned. In fact there were quite a number of schools around where I lived. However, I opted for the school. This was facilitated by a number of factors. For instance, since I was a resident of the place, I had familiarized with it owing and had a prior knowledge of not only its working profile but also its immediate environment.
Furthermore, I understood the social-economic conditions of the population and had developed a positive impression about the school. To further my entry into the teaching platform at the school, I expressed to the head teacher, Mrs. Na'asah Al-Qahtani the concept of my responsibility. On hearing this, she welcomed me and promised to offer her support to me in order to make my stay there successful and worth in addition, there were some additional E.L. teachers in the school including Mrs. Jawza'a and Fatimah who advised me to handle the First Intermediate Grade (FIG) students who were active and industrious. Indeed, Mrs. Fatimah, a close compliance was also handling the class and agreed to reschedule her classes to suit my itinerary. In summation, I was familiar with the principal, E.L. teachers as well as the students. This gave me an incentive to work in the environment which did not only offer me an opportunity to demonstrate my professional qualifications but also
To effect my new schedule, I opted to reorganize it and embarked on understanding the students' performance. From my point of view, a teacher should seek to understand his or her students to bolster their interaction. I inquired about the performance from Mrs. Fatimah who assured me that the class was a good one. The perfect person to ask about that was Mrs. Fatimah. She assured that the whole class were active but did not stop short of recommending a few students who needed my attention due to their extroverted nature. Ruba, Lama, Futoon and Kholood exhibited exemplary performance, while some like Diba and Mariam needed my undivided attention. She warned that Warda and Rinad were rather loquacious and impish students.
I had gathered enough information concerning my students, but I thought visiting the student's advisor was necessary in order to comprehend their social-economic background. The other teachers were of great assistance to me in my terms of service. Mrs. Tarfah for instance provided me with the requisite information. I got relatively positive response but she urged me to discipline Warda and Rinad, as well as to encourage Mariam to participate in class activities, since she was rather introverted. On the other hand, Mrs. Fatimah gave me a student's book and a workbook copy then left the school for home very optimistic about my new role.
In my preparation for the first lesson, which was to be tackled through discussion method, I selected the topic from unit six ‘My House’ from where I prepared my lesson plan. Although, I had known a lot about the students from their teachers and the students’ advisor, I thought it was important personally to visit the students and scrutinize their performance and explain my objectives to them.
The following day I was impressed by the warm reception of the students. Indeed, I was not ready to waste chances. I took it to myself and engaged the students in an oral test which helped me to gauge their abilities. Through the test, I realized that it was indeed a great problem in the understanding of the English language by the students. Consequently, it was hard for students to get instructions in English. As a result, they kept on asking for the Arabic translation of the latter. Since it was all of new phenomena to me, I sought Mrs. Fatimah’s involvement who informed me that she was facing the same hurdle too, since there had been a major overhaul in the teaching fraternity due to unavoidable circumstances. I had to figure out how to counter this challenge.
Besides the language barriers, there were other challenges and problems in For instance other than the incompatibility due mismatch of the language, the resource room was rather small and could not accommodate the students. To counter this challenge, I decided to use the classroom. I realized that I had forgotten to verify the availability of computers. Lesson planning would incorporate my abilities, comprehension, skills and the necessary information I had gathered for the class.
With a vivid understanding of the objectives I intended to accomplish, I moved on to lesson plan, since a good lesson plan is a road map that helps you carry out the all-important task of setting goals and describing how you will reach them (Shrewder, 2006). The introductory step in any plan is deciding on the key objectives. According to Reed (n.d.), “This one step, choosing a goal and sticking to it, changes everything”. Setting good quality objectives is a major challenge.
Objectives should be selected circumspectly, bearing in mind the broader goals in the unit and relating them to the broad-spectrum objectives of teaching English at the intermediate level in Saudi Arabia. I intended to apply the discussion method in the first lesson. I had to recognize well the nature of this strategy in order to apply it productively in class. The discussion method is one in which students and the instructor exchanges their thoughts to comprehend the topic fully. This may be a whole session or a part thereof. I was interested in discussion method and was persuaded that improving interactive skills in the classroom would bolster my teaching skills. The title of the lesson, “My House”, was associated to rooms of the house. The lesson contained two parts. The first was presenting the new terminologies while the second was conversational. My main objectives were: articulate the new words properly; spell the new words appropriately with an 85% accuracy level; write the new words in tidy handwriting; discuss the pictures through yes or no questions; describe their houses suitably; dead a conversation and answer questions arising from there; appreciate the blessings of Allah for safety and living in good houses as well as express opinion, agreement and/or disagreement.
Having clear objectives in my mind, I began thinking about the most appropriate way to accomplish them. Benjamin Franklin (n.d.) said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Therefore, I was very careful in taking every step. The power point presentation methodology I used in my classes was convenient due to its ease to create, obtain and modify. Again, they are versatile and a great asset to any classroom (Fisher, 2003). I thought of different ways to enhance the discussion and present the title of the topic in a different way. I presented three pictures (a house hey, a tent and a caravan); later, yes/no questions followed.
Then, I presented the new words using power point presentation. Color flashcards help bolster the student’s reading and writing skills by helping them spell words correctly. Vocabulary flash cards are useful in enhancing vocabulary learning and can play an important role in teaching and learning of vocabularies (Komachali, 2012). Although, I used discussion method, which emphasizes on listening and speaking skills, I did not forget to focus on the writing skills by writing the new words on the board and revising some handwriting rules. The four LLSs are vital to turn out proficient users of a language (Akram, 2010). After discussing the new words I distributed a work sheet to check their comprehension and to encourage them to use some verbs that they already knew in sentences. This was done in groups.
The students then read the new words and answered the questions that followed. They later role played in the conversation between Maher and his friend from the teaching aids. Then, I asked oral questions. I did not forget to play a tape for the conversation as it provides students with recorded samples of native speakers' pronunciation and intonation (Al-Khuli, 2006).
The affective objective for the lesson was to appreciate the great blessings of Allah for safety and living in very good houses. The lesson was accompanied by the audio-visual aid such as the You Tube videos. Playing YouTube video on the themes of homeless children in India helped the students comprehend the centrality of Allah’s blessings. This also mounted high the understanding of the students as they were able to capture the various aspects of spoken English which was a strange language to them despite their close proximity to the Anglo-Saxon speakers. Indeed, these aids enhanced higher understanding of the subjects and the roles played by different figures of speech. This helped them to understand how important it is to give thanks and be grateful unto Allah for the provision of security and good houses and so they had to appreciate and be thankful to Allah through the decoded theme of the audio-visual components of the videos. Indeed, instructors should encourage students to relax through music, laughter or games (Jane, 1999). The inclusion of some funny pictures in my presentation was instrumental in creating a good learning environment since they enjoyed and participated actively. At the end of the class, I gave homework from their work books.
Analyzing Audio Recording
Generally, the whole lesson was good and the students were enthusiastic and active. However, the students’ inability to construct complete sentences hampered the effectiveness of my class. In the fifteen minutes recorded from my lesson, I will present our discussion on YouTube videos and then we played a simple game as review activity of the lesson. I chose a venue where we discussed a video about homeless children in India, because teaching is more than pumping information in the students’ minds. Building the student's personality is the greater goal.
Indeed, it takes a whole personal perception of the ideal means of passing knowledge from one individual to another in the learning context. Furthermore, I chose this section of the period to debate on the audio-visual on the topic of the homeless children and families in general in India. This multiplied the understandre we discussed a video about homeless children in India because I believe that teaching is more than pumping information in the students minds. It has a higheing of the students and beefed up their eagerness to understand the concepts behind Allah’s creation. Furthermore, my lesson was based on the appreciation of the lords blessings for the students who had good shelters nd plenty of food supply besides keeping them safe from all harm. This issue dominted my lesson but I found it captivating and the studens were very eager to understand the events of the audio-vision on and as the events unfold. Indeed, this placed high emphasis on the wider scope of the objectives of analyzing the various aspect of English in the Saudi Arabia which in particular aims at, ‘Enabling the Islamic faith in the same student and made an officer for his behavior and his actions, and the development of the love of God, piety and fear in his heart.
The affective goal for my lesson (Appreciating the great blessings of Allah as being save and living in good houses) was achieved by adding this part in my presentation. This emphasized the broader objective of teaching English to students in the intermediate grade in Saudi Arabia, which is, “Enabling the Islamic faith in the same student and made an officer for his behavior and his actions, and the development of the love of God, piety and fear in his heart". After discussing the lesson and new words, I wanted to check my students' comprehension though in an exciting way that might please the girls and encourage them to participate. I presented an activity that could be considered as a funny game. I called it the title, "Say if the picture is T or F”. Games are useful tools in teaching English. When I explained the activity I noticed how much the students were excited. Therefore, I demonstrated how to play the game since it is crucial for the students to be thoroughly aware of what they are about to do (Sharma & Barrett, 2007).
I presented the first picture and asked them to look carefully. The first picture was showing a bathroom with a bed inside. Once, the students saw the picture they shouted excitedly, “Me, teacher! Me, teacher!”. “It is wrong”, said Gaida'a. I asked, “What is wrong about it?” I was happy that “Mariam” who was a very calm student was very excited to answer. She answered in Arabic, but I encouraged her to answer in English. Then, she said “It is a bed". I replied, “There is a bed in the bathroom”, “Can you put a bed in the bathroom?” I asked. “Do you sleep in the bathroom?” They shouted: “No”. The activity was very entertaining and pleasurable and it was noticeable from the students' performance.
After I was through with my first lesson using the discussion method, I felt contented with my work. The students were very excited and did not hesitate to ask when the next class was scheduled. I liked their active participation as well as enthusiasm. However, although we all seek perfection, some weakness may appear. Self-evaluation is, therefore, essential for self-development (Herrell & Jordan, 2004).
I did my bit in planning for the lesson and in setting my objectives, but whether they were completely accomplished or not is difficult to ascertain due to the failure to eloquently express them in English. Otherwise, they were capable of answering the yes/no questions. Nevertheless, I encouraged them to speak in English as this would bolster their language skills. Time management was also tricky. Many activities and the power point presentations were a little bit long, so forty five minutes were not enough and I needed to ask the teacher who had the next period for ten minutes from her class time. Otherwise, I hope that this experience will help me to move a step further in my career as a teacher.
The Following are the Procedures that I Used When Teaching the Class as Groups Using the Problem Solving Strategy
Having completed my first lesson, I had already finished the first part of my task, which was teaching using the discussion strategy. The second part of the task was teaching the class in groups using the problem solving method. My responsibilities were simultaneously easy and complicated. Getting to know the students more closely and interacting with them during the first lesson, made me understand each of my students well. The second method involved dividing the class into discussion groups. Having previously interacted with them, forming the groups was rather simple as it has had been identified as core to prerequisite for viable interaction (Herrell & Jordan, 2004). Indeed, I was conversant with their individual differences. This gave me an upper hand in addressing the various challenges in the understanding of the subject. On the other hand, a number of reasons complicated my work.
First, the students were not familiar with problem solving strategy, which affected their performance during the lesson. Secondly, there was the inadequacy of vocabularies. Last but not least was the challenge of finding the appropriate lesson to use the strategy. In order to mitigate these challenges, I began taking practical steps. I started by asking Mrs. Fatimah to find me time to see the students and explain the new strategy to them, which they were very excited about.
To deal with the second problem, I prepared a key with pictures for some words that might be useful. In my opinion, it would not be wrong to leave the students use their mother tongue, which was Arabic, which facilitates acuity of understanding. I also announced that we would have a new concept dubbed the “Web Quest”. I explained the concept to the girls and they were very eager about the new experience. I asked them to give me their e-mail in order to send them the link later.
Sadly, I could not find a suitable lesson to match the strategy, so I had to create my own problem. I selected lesson two from the same unit "My House". It concerned a family dwelling in a beautiful house, which they liked very much. This inspired me due to the theme of my problem. I divided the students into groups and assigned leaders. I also checked the availability of computers. According to this strategy, I had to manage timely more aptly. I needed two lessons for the learning activities. Therefore, I explained this to Mrs. Fatimah who considerately agreed to schedule two periods for me. Before I commenced the lesson, I kept my promise since I had previously promised to give presents to the students to reward them for good performance and motivate them in class participation.
Due to the centrality of lesson planning in teaching, I incorporated the experience I gathered in my first class. I combined the strategy of group work (cooperative learning) with problem solving method, which involves teachers imparting the students with collaborative skills in order to tap their effective collaborative seizure of tasks (Larsen-Freeman, 2011).
I chose a passage in the same unit “My House”. We read and discussed the passage and then moved on with problem solving. The objective was that by the end of the lesson, the students must be able to: pronounce the new words correctly; spell the new words properly with 85% accuracy; write the new words in neat handwriting; read the new passage wordlessly for five minutes; scan the passage to find the answers for the questions in the student’ book; describe the problems of Al-Ali's family; employ the problem solving skills to solve the problem; express opinion, to agree or disagree as well as partake in the group discussion (Al-khuli, 2006).
I started by reading the passage and used a power point presentation to discuss the comprehension with pictures and to explain the new words. The students spelt the new words as I presented them. A student then wrote the vocabularies on the board. After that, the students in groups tried to answer the comprehension questions about the reading. I explained the scanning strategy to find answers for the questions. In order to refresh the students and motivate them for the next part, I played YouTube video for a lovely song about “My House”. Songs are able to change the repetitive mood in the class and with the soothing effect of music; indeed they enhance class environment besides developing the students’ language skills (Lo & Li, 1998).
The second part of the lesson involved problem solving. This was rather challenging since I had never applied it before. Another problem was that I could not find an appropriate lesson to apply the new method other than the passage. The passage was about a family living happily in their beautiful house in Asir. I composed a story about Mr. Al-Ali's family who were a big family living in a small apartment. Besides that, I designed a power point presentation to present the story. Since my students were considerably young learners (age 11-12), I preferred to use storytelling, because using issues in the native countries or culture can boost young learners' in the connecting with English as they relate it with their background (Shin, 2007).
In the first six slides of the presentation, I presented the story of Mr. Al-Ali's family and described their situation. I also provided colorful pictures for illustration. Then, a new slide appeared presenting the question:
“So, what do you think is the problem of the Al-Ali family?”
The question requires time for brainstorming. “Brainstorming is a process for developing creative solutions to problems" (Osborn, 1963). The students gave as many ideas as they could and then I listed them. Later, I let the groups to discuss the ideas and decided, which the main problem was: consequently, it was identified as, ‘They are not happy in their house’
On a new slide, I stated four reasons for this problem namely: A big family living in small house; the house was untidy; there was no garden and lastly, children sleep in one room (Arnold & Jane, 1999).
Each of the four groups discussed one of these reasons. I then distributed a worksheet on which they wrote their ideas. In order to keep the groups organized, I asked one student from each group to be a writer. At this stage also, the students would use brainstorming and the writer should write down all the ideas. The students had ten minutes for discussing the problem given to them. Then we came to the following stage, selecting the best solution. Here I will visit each group and I will ask one of the girls to read their ideas loudly. After that, I will discuss each of these solutions with them. Of course, the whole class will be engaged in the discussion.
After discussing all the possible solutions, which the students suggested, which I sincerely felt that they were outstanding, we came to the last stage in our lesson, stating the best solution for each of the given problems. The groups then wrote down the best solution for their problem on the work sheets. Surely, I told my students that the problem solving process still have two other stages: implementing the solution and evaluation, but of course we cannot apply them in our present lesson.
The students’ ability to understand the language was indeed serious and rather demanding a serious attention. The undertone of the same prompted me to take further measures to ensure that the students are able to carry out the procedures of problem solving which was initially discussed in English. Therefore, after preparing for the lesson, there was still a point that I had to be responsible for. In fact, I was not sure that my students have the ability to carry out the process of problem solving using English as the mode of communication, since they were still beginners and that they were not very much used to converse in English.
No doubt, I would encourage the students to use the terminologies they knew and to employ them in the conversation, but I thought that I should do more. I designed key words sheet with pictures to provide them with some words, which I think they will need. Also, I decided to give them the freedom to speak in Arabic, because considering their level of proficiency and that they were not familiar to the new method (Akram, 2010).
Indeed, every accomplishment has to be estimated in order to evaluate the goals achieved and the achievement of the set target. To achieve this, I designed a rubric to evaluate the groups at the end of the class where a copy would be added to the appendix. This gave the students incentive to perform assessment of their understanding in the language and the entire class activities. As a further assertion, I gave the students a piece of assignment for their homework. At this point in time, I thought of employing a new idea. This new wave of thought arose from my character.
I am a big enthusiast of technology and its significant impact in teaching languages. Consequently, I designed a web quest which was one of the exciting things I learned in the CLL course-web quests. A web quest is an activity involving a research which requires users to gather information with the aid of the web (Sharma & Barrett, 2007). Web quests may prove to be a bright initial step towards incorporating technology instructions (Zlatkovska, 2010). The title of the web quest was, “Houses Around the World" and the students were supposed to complete an assignment of collecting pictures of houses around the world and to learn names of new countries in English.
Analyzing the Audio Recording
Using the data- show, I presented the problem of Mr. Al-Ali's family. I had explained everything about problem solving method in the previous class, in order to save time. Before presenting the story I asked the students to focus and write down notes besides encouraging them to come up with smart ideas; I also told them that they can use Arabic in case it is difficult to express their thoughts in English. After I finished telling the story and checking their understanding, I started with the first step of problem solving, stating the chief problem. I asked: "What is the main problem of Al-Ali's family?" Previously, I had divided the class into four groups.
I asked each group to discuss the story in a minute and try to enumerate the major problem. I moved to group one and asked the leader, Lama to choose someone to answer. She pointed at Futon to answer for the group: "It is a small house." I accepted the answer but asked them to think more about the main problem. The answer of group two was: "there is no garden", but they chose Amal to answer who preferred to speak in Arabic but I accepted that. Group 3 had chosen "Norah" to answer: "the house needs to be tidy", she said in Arabic too. Manal from the same group was very delighted to answer and I was glad with that.
Consequently, I let her answer. She said, "No garage". The last group chose Deba to answer in Arabic too. She said, "the house was small and they were sad." I was fast to accept the response and asked her to repeat: "sad", I said, “Al-Ali family is not happy in their house and this is our core problem. We all conceded that it was indeed the main problem. The overall perception of the class performance was indeed good. The students were appreciative and expressed their optimism in the performance of the subject work.
We moved to the second step where we began stating reasons for the problems. I told them to think of some reasons that made them unhappy with their house. After a moment of heating dialogue, came the brainstorming time, where I accepted all the answers. However, I tried my very best to translate them into English, whenever it was given in the native language. The students were not very conversant in constructing English sentences. Ruba said, "no garage" in English. I repeated in complete sentence: "There is no garage". "Rula" in Arabic said "untidy", I translated: "They are untidy". In Arabic too, Warda said, ‘also one room for the children.’ I accepted her answer and said: "the four children sleep in one room".
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Other challenges arose from the students’ inability to construct English statements but generally, the students were very active, despite the trouble in constructing sentences in English. As a motivational speaker I kept encouraging them to say what ever came to their minds, even in Arabic from which I would teach them English by rectifying the mistakes they made in their native language. Amjad said: "Hadeeqah" in Arabic and I encouraged her to say it in English because we learnt the word “garden” in the previous lesson.
I appreciated every answer given with respect to my query. For instance, she said: "no garden" but I appreciated her answer. Alia'a said, "They have no money", I said, "yes,” they do not have money to buy a bigger house". Ruba said "there were no enough rooms". I was very happy with the ideas of my students. Then I said, "Now, we know what the main problem is and we have found reasons for it." Another slide showed the four reasons for the problem: a big family living in small house; the house is untidy, there was no garden and also the children slept in one room.
In order to fit the group and be more vocal, I had to speak Arabic in order to check the students' comprehension, since it was their first time to practice the problem solving method. Despite their being not very eloquent, I congratulated my students and told them that they were indeed smart. From there, they could help the family to solve the problem. In addition, we had to think of solutions for each reason. To further assess their understanding, I gave each group of the students a work sheet, where each had one of the reasons which the groups were going to discuss. Additionally, I gave ideas for possible solutions. The groups would do the first bit of the worksheet and then subsequently discuss their ideas. I encouraged them to work together and to write the answers either in English or Arabic. After a ten-minute interval, I began discussing the ideas from each group with the entire class.
Group one had the problem: ‘a big family living in a small house.’
Although my students were not doing well in expressing their ideas, using complete sentences in English, I was glad to listen to their brilliant ideas. It was my job to say their sentences in English. I hoped that the class was longer so that I could let them repeat the sentences and write them down. Ragad from group one read their first suggestions: “Change the balcony in a room.” Kholud: "The father can have another job to gain more money."
We discussed every idea with the entire class. They said, "the first one was ‘good’ but the second one was not easy for everybody." On my behalf, I was happy to see my students think tactfully. Alia'a gave different, but a good idea, “they should sell their old things to make room in the house". We discussed the six ideas from the groups. One student then said that this was the ideal solution: "Change the balcony in a room." Group two had this problem to discuss: "The children sleep in one room." The students came up with great ideas. The part which I liked most was when the students were trying to defend and support their ideas and convince others that theirs were the best responses.
I encouraged them to give any idea that crossed their minds and then we could discuss it. They finally decided that the best idea was similar to group one's idea: "Change the balcony in a room for the kids". Group two included Mariam and Suhaila, who were very calm and this really impressed me to see them contribute their ideas and participate in the group discussion. Group three problems were: "The house is untidy and not clean". There was the presence of funny but relaxed atmosphere; there were pearls of laughter and jokes and this made me really delighted. The class resolved that the best solution was giving chores for every member in the family to help the mother. Group four identified, ‘there is no garden’, as their problem arising from their group.
Some ideas were strange but I had to accept them because, when we are trying to unravel a problem, we should contemplate of any answer then we sort them (Hirst, 2002). Manal said, "children should work after school to make more money to buy a bigger house." May be this idea is strange to our community but then, it works in other places. Supplementary ideas are easy and very applicable. Every idea counts. Nada said: "The father should take the kids to the play park". In general the whole lesson was exciting and full of pleasure.
After my second visit, it was time to think about the entire class and evaluate my performance. In general, the lesson was very good and my goals were well accomplished. My lesson had two parts: a reading passage and application to problem solving methodology. In teaching the reading passage, I applied a lot of the tips for teaching and reading skills that I learnt in the Teaching Methodology Course. I noticed that my performance in teaching reading had highly improved. The next element of the lesson was challenging for both the students and since it was my first time to apply the problem solving method in my classes. For the students, it was their first time to practice the new method.
The step problem solving method was applied effectively in the course of the lesson. The students really enjoyed the group work and were very imaginative in their discussion. I asked them after the class about the lesson and they told me that they were very happy. We cannot deny that any work may have weaknesses (Welty, 1989). Similar to the first lesson, the students could not clearly articulate their opinion in English, since it was a new method to them. Nonetheless, I was trying to ensure that they comprehend totally the method and therefore I had to use Arabic a lot during the lesson.
The use of Arabic as the language of communication in teaching English may be considered a weakness in my performance as an E.L.T teacher, but I was coerced into using it. The students’ inability to communicate effectively in the English language forced me to use their native language in order to cross knowledge of the ‘strange’ language into the students’ domains. Students in the set up above had been highly influence by their native language which made it extremely hard for me to use English as the primary language in my teaching task.
The other problem that I faced was the classroom management, while maintaining cooperative learning from the students. Attending workshops and seminars would help me develop the required skills. In my second lesson, I averted the time management problem that I encountered in the first one. I knew that the lesson was lengthy, since it had two parts so I pre-arranged the itinerary to have one period for each part.
In conclusion, the lesson that I attended in line with my presentation was a benchmark that did not only help me in re-defining my ability to consolidate students’ knowledge of the language, but also a milestone in making the students develop a positive perception towards the language. It was indeed fabulous and worth my time, while the general experience was just wonderful to me. To be precise, the experience made my interest in the language too, to rejuvenate and I strongly believe that this is tradeoff between the students’ passion and the fear they carried with them over time with regard to the language.
Throughout my teaching, I used the modality of translation from the native Arabian language to English. This proved so effective in the context of the students since they were native speakers of Arab. Indeed, I was very grateful for my acquaintances in the learning institution for their assistance and worthy cooperation. The entire task was demanding which made the work more exhilarating and pleasurable. I worked tirelessly to realize the goals that I had prepared adequately at the commencement of the task. I am very glad that I realized most of my objectives besides impacting positively on the students’ ability in the language. This did not only motivate me but also added my vigor in my new profession. Indeed, my lessons were characterized with a high level of creativity on both the students and I.
The success of the lesson was credited from the freedom and tolerance in order to guarantee exchange of ideas. Use of technological aids power point made my presentation even more effective. Despite the challenges from the inadequacy of knowledge base of the students with regard to English language, the entire lessons were credited with success. The students were also optimistic about their accomplishment of the language.
Furthermore, with regard to the above aforementioned, my lessons were characterized by a ‘heap’ of challenges, especially due to the students’ inability to communicate effectively, especially in English. Despite the challenges I encountered, I am glad to report that the overall perception towards the language was positive and perhaps one of the very successful sessions in my teaching profession. Consequently, the students’ reception was indeed great and the overall effect was rather charismatic. With such a mindset, my session can be summarized up with success. It was indeed such a great experience!
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