The TYLEC program makes me keep examining what I haven’t noticed before and what I should do before and while I am teaching. Through the process of preparing diagnostics and assessments, I understood more clearly my role in the classroom and how I can make my teaching more effective. I can be friendly to my students, but I need to earn their respect as a teacher and not try to be their friend. Motivating students to learn is the most important thing. I see from the course that this is achieved by creating an environment to challenge the students and engage them in the learning process. I realize more clearly my role in the classroom and how I can make my teaching more effective.
Ultimately, the TYLEC has made me a much more knowledgeable teacher and has helped me add to, grow, develop (and at times, reappraise) my teaching practice to better meet the needs of my students. Another important benefit this course has provided my teaching practice is that it has given me the impetus to push myself outside of my comfort zone and innovate more, as I knew that I would be given valuable feedback on any new methods or materials that I had developed.
Although I have years of teaching experience, I know there is so much more that I can learn. On the first week of the course, which was the input sessions, there was a lot I had to learn and to absorb. The tutors were really helpful, showing us, the participants, the correct paths of the course and guiding us all the way through. During the input sessions, I learned about interesting and fun activities that I could use in my lessons in order to help learners. For example, the obstacles exercise where, in turn, one of my peers was blindfolded and the rest of us had to give directions to help him/her to navigate past all the obstacles to reach the finish line. This activity increased my awareness of using authenticity in my lesson. I asked myself if I was using textbook language more than authentic language. The course was harder than I thought it would be, but I must say that I have learned a lot from it, and I will continue to develop my teaching skills and to improve the areas that still need working on. I am glad I participated on this course with my colleague as we are now able to discuss our lesson plans and activities and adopt the things we have learned from the course into our lessons. I honestly believe that we teachers are often like scientists; we keep on experimenting until we get a good result. I would definitely recommend this course to others as, although it is tough, the rewards are well worth the effort.
Teaching practice was the most challenging but inspiring part. The tutors enlightened me a lot and all of their comments really led me to think more. In TP1, I found out that I did not engage learners to a deeper level of thinking and was teacher-centred. TP2 showed that I had to work on modelling and eliciting. After these two TPs, I realized that even though I had read these terms (student-centred, modelling, elicitation) several times and knew the definitions, I did not actually apply them to my teaching. Therefore, I followed my tutor’s advice to observe experienced teachers, from whom I finally understood how these terms were performed and what it meant by my tutor to have fewer stages but still increase the cognitive challenge.