Teacher Education Reflection

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The quotation above inspired me to embark on this project as I have just been the protagonist of a highly profitable and unforgettable experience in the US over the months of January and February, 2009. At the American Language Institute (ALI), division of the College of Extended Studies of San Diego State University (SDSU), I had the privilege of doing the TEFL/TESL course of its Teacher Training & Certificate Program. During the training, I attended, observed and taught classes at the ALI, and I also joined some SDSU undergraduate program classes at the SDSU College of Arts and Letters. As a result, I came to the decision of picking out and applying some of the most relevant ideas and techniques learned or that had even been simply revised there, likewise sharing with my students the whole cultural background acquired throughout such period. The process consisted of writing a teaching journal (from August to November, 2009) as a means of having a place to record the discoveries, successes, and golden moments1, as well as to criticize, express frustration, and raise questions2 about the areas involved, which were the following: 1) Teaching culture (all levels): achievement culture (big C) and behavior culture (little c) 3; 2) Writing skills (Junior and Pre-teens): writing and editing short texts in class; 3) Reading strategies (Elementary 2 and 2B): guessing unfamiliar words from context; and 4) Pronunciation (all levels): tips on word/syllable stress and exposing students to a range of different English accents.. During the process, the main concern was to narrow down the investigation as I had too dissimilar topics to be explored. However, due to the possibility of continuing the investigation over the upcom... ... middle of paper ... ...ester(s), I plan to conduct an action research project to give myself a chance to be more critically reflective by moving away from the “how to questions . . . to what and why questions”5. The research question posed for the project is “How to raise students’ self-confidence in taking risks to effectively guess meaning of unfamiliar words/expressions in texts?” The proposed treatment is to train students on specific reading strategies to help them infer the possible meaning(s) of unknown words/expressions, and as a consequence, boost their confidence so that they become better risk takers and more efficient readers by knowing when they need to exert more effort to make sense of a text6. The findings, conclusions, and questions raised throughout the 2009.2 phase will be handy and of great value to guide me to fulfill the objectives proposed for my 2010 TDP project.
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