So I’m going to teach oral English to Chinese natives. I’m not a teacher, and have never taught before, however I have always had a strong interest in how languages are taught and learnt. For the last 2-3 years I’ve been living in China, doing data analysis for a British solar power company. Recently I’ve become a little disenchanted with work, and my interests have shifted to my long standing hobby of language. I genuinely want to see what it’s like to teach someone a foreign language, and since I’m living in China now seems the perfect time.
I’ve always felt that in any undertaking, you should aim to bring something to it that others cannot, do something original, add to the pool of knowledge and not just copy what’s been done before. Whether I can do this with teaching I don’t know, but I can at least play to my strengths in order to give it my best.
You can usually split things any number of ways, but for the moment let’s assume there are just two sides to education: (1) The course/content structure, ie order in which things come, and (2) The way the course/content is delivered, ie skill of the teacher. Since my university degree and working life have consistently focused on theoretical aspects, and since I lack any teaching experience, I’d definitely lean towards (1) as playing to my strengths, so it is in course design that I feel at home.
This does beg the question, “Do I think I can design a better course than what is available already”. To which my answer, perhaps arrogantly, resounds: Yes.
I’ve not seen all language courses, but I’ve never been bowled over by any of the ones I have seen (with one exception). In contrast I can recall and name hundreds of individually fantastic teachers I’ve seen; this leaves me feeling that I can contribute more to the cause of improving course design than I can to developing new teaching techniques.
So my strength should be in theoretical aspects, and within the teaching world I believe there is most room for improvement in course design, so I thoroughly intend to send all my energies in this direction. After I’ve written a course, I’ll naturally want to put it to the test. Living in China and surrounded by Chinese speakers, most of which are eager to learn English, I’m hoping the guinea pig stage should be relatively simple!
My intention then is to write a new and original course, and then begin teaching. In my next entry I’ll go into more detail on plans for the course itself.
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