Standards 2 & 3
METAS DE APRENDIZAJE Y PLANES DE CLASES
The following document will refer to the decisions I took before planning a unit for my
students at The Pacific School in Chiguayante. These decisions were taken in terms of
school and students’ context. Also, at the end of this essay, I will reflect on the process
of planning my classes when it comes to strengths, weaknesses and challenges.
I must admit that whenever I have to prepare a class, and mostly when I have to decide
on how I will plan a unit for my students, I take into consideration their background
knowledge. When I mention ‘background knowledge’ I do not mean just previous
contents seen in English classes, but what they know about life itself.
After developing Standard 1, I realized I had a big challenge in front of me which was
the fact that I would not be able to use ICT’s most of my class, or that I did not have to
follow the national English syllabus and that there were some of my students who were
not exposed to the target language in classes, because the teacher spoke in Spanish
during class periods. In order to improve my student’s learning of the English language
and my performance as a teacher, I had to come up with some other techniques inside
and outside the classroom; for example, I dared to talk to my students in English when
teaching them a lesson and also when they talked to me during breaks. When it comes
to replacing ICT’s inside the classroom, I had to create flashcards, board games,
worksheets, drawing and do mimics. After a couple of lessons, I asked to some teachers
who had their own data projectors and I managed to get their consent to use them in
some of my classes.
Creating materials to develop my lessons was the easiest part of the job; maybe because
I like to create new things and I want my students to enjoy and have fun with the
learning process; I want them to learn English by discussing things they love and
appreciate, that is why creating flashcards, worksheets and Power Point presentations is
the most fun part of preparing a lesson.
When it comes to the hardest part of planning a unit or a lesson, I think that creating
activities that are suitable for all students as a group, as a whole, was the most
challenging part; this area of the process was the most difficult for me, because I have
students who are exempted of the course, others who are special needs students, boys
and girls who love English, and a group who feels that learning another language is a
waste of time. In order to face these adversities, I came up with the following plan: I
gave each of my students a piece of paper; they had to write the things they loved the
most, things they felt were relevant for someone their age to know about, and issues
they thought were interesting to talk about during English class. The results I got were
very diverse, from touristic areas around the world to superheroes. After taking notes
about their preferences, I classified the concepts they wrote into groups, and I prepare
lessons using those areas they wanted to discuss in class. The positive outcomes of this
plan were that my students got the opportunity to learn English by speaking, reading,
listening and writing about the things they want to discuss. In terms of negative
outcomes, some concepts were difficult to include in the lessons since they were too
odd for me to include them.
Thanks to the members of the special needs department at the school, I had the
opportunity to show them my activities, which they accommodated for students who
need support when learning; they gave me advice on how to approach to them.
Brown (2004) refers to the concept of Authenticity as a real world use of the language,
which for me has been a main focus when preparing the lessons for my students; since I
truly believe that when learning a new language, the purpose of studying that target
language should be communicating with other people in the real world; maybe
discussing global warming, having a conversation about a movie you saw last week, or
making plans for the summer break.
Kolb (1984) addresses learning as a process where concepts and experiences are
integrated, which is the main basis of my approach towards the teaching process; for
me, it is fundamental to take the student’s everyday experiences and beliefs as the step
one in my list of what to consider before developing a unit plan for my students.
Brown, D (2004). Language Assessment Principles and Classroom Practices. Longman
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and
development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.