Teaching English is easy as far as I am concerned, but learning it especially the learners is another part of the task entrusted to us, educators. I’ve tried different strategies to make it easy for the learners to learn English the easy way, but it didn’t work so effectively. However knowledgeable and skillful you are to hone the learners’ skills, they still fail to comprehend and apply the skills they need to learn. Based on what I’ve seen and observed inside the classroom, because their hearts and minds are not set out to receive teaching and learning, and despite of the fact that the lesson or skill is simple and easy to understand, still they could hardly grasp its content and apply the skill. However, in this article, several best practices below are shared that really work and somehow these can be adapt or used by other educators like me in their teaching English.
Here, students are paired. The purpose of this practice is to help the learner with learning disability (LD), a normal student but can hardly understand or follow the skill. On the other hand, the other member who understands the activity is instructed to help his partner learn the skill by patiently teaching the skill. Thus, both learn the skill not leaving the other member behind. This can be utilized in all the activities that the learners are engaging. Yet, make sure that whenever this activity is used, at least one member is capable to help out his partner.
The basic tool in understanding English easily is through vocabulary development. Students who have developed vocabulary skills are the ones who can express their ideas logically and meaningfully. By teaching students to love reading, to love vocabulary words honestly and conscientiously, at least five (5) words in a week for Grade-7; ten (10)words for Grade-8; fifteen (15) words for Grade-9 respectively, their vocabulary prowess will surely be improved. Of course, their attitude to learn will be of great help and this really matters a lot. This has happened to me and has been transpired to many of my students before and today. After learning the vocabulary words, the Tagalog translation, the parts of speech, students then are also tasked to use them is simple sentences and in their daily communication with their peers, schoolmates and teachers as well. By doing this again and again, students can improve themselves tremendously.
Cooperative Learning and Heads Together are synonymous in objectives, but the only difference is the number of members. In CL, the leader leads the other members to become leaders and be observant, too. And likewise be able to learn the skills as a whole. In this activity, no one is left behind because all members are encouraged to participate, know, and understand the task that is supposed to be learned and done. Thus, it’s an effective tool to be incorporated in the daily activities especially when differentiated activities are given. In this activity, be sure to monitor every group whether all members are working as a team and the task is also achieved. Next time around, let the other member be the leader too and so on and so forth.
As it has been observed and seen, many learners today can read, but they can hardly comprehend fully what they’ve read. This is how I see the learners as far as comprehension is concerned. However, a wise teacher always finds ways to improve this skill by giving them continuous reading selections that really fit to their level of understanding. A teacher must be assertive on this level. On this part, a teacher’s diagnosis is very crucial. Give only the learners what they need because if you give them a reading selection that is too hard for them to understand, that’s a waste of time. By using this simple practice, little by little, they can improve and hone their skills on comprehending what they read. Not only that, other parts of this comprehension have also been developed such as improving unfamiliar words using context clues, the denotation and connotation of words and many other more. Thus, their comprehension is enlarged and improved immensely.
One way to teach students on how to understand what the teacher is saying is for them to identify the word or sentence that the teacher or a student is mouthing silently. This is good for awareness of mouth position for most English sounds. By engaging students everyday, they would be able to familiarize themselves with different sounds and the meaning of words they have decoded. Let the students do this always as possible for self improvement. Tell them to apply this practice even during their free time as part of their daily routine. As saying goes,”Practice makes perfect.” It is sometimes funny but rewarding.
There are actually several more best practices that really work and I’m pretty sure you know what I mean. But then the above mentioned practices have so far been practiced and found to have been an effective tools to improve the skills of the learners especially teaching English the easy way. Let’s not forget-never stop finding ways on how to help our students improve themselves.