Unit Design and Justification
Teaching a very diverse group of students in terms of their skills and abilities as well as their needs requires one to employ a wide range of techniques so as to ensure inclusiveness. Hong Kong is a metropolitan city with people coming from various backgrounds. This diversity in terms of culture, language, has infiltrated in to the mainstream education system in the city. Most of the mainstream schools also have students with special needs who need special care to ensure they benefit from the education system just like other students. As an English teacher in the city, with a diverse group of students, I have to develop strategies aimed at ensuring inclusiveness in my teaching approach, more especially because a majority of the students in the school speak Chinese and English will only be a second language to them. I have to create a good learning environment for non-English speakers as well as those students with special needs to feel comfortable throughout the learning process and benefit from the education albeit their differences. Education should be a uniting factor in such diverse mainstream schools where people from different backgrounds come together to share ideas, knowledge and learning experiences.
English as a Second Language (ESL) students are those that experience one or more learning difficulties in understanding English in order to use it for their educational purposes. These students are often expected to compete other learners who are proficient in the English language, a challenge which is often very difficult for them. Besides, most ESL students have some form of learning disabilities that make it very difficult for them to get the best out of their education like other students within the same age group. Consequently, these children need a lot of help in terms of handling their school work, expressing themselves, behaving well in the school environment, and organizing themselves among other forms of assistance.
Language is not only a mode of communication between human beings but also a way of expression of our personality. Language gives one the capacity to convey ideas about a great variety of things at times there is difficulty in clear expression of states of emotion or events. I have come to learn and observe that in many cases non-native English speakers speak and write English to a far higher standard than native speakers. Everybody makes mistakes and at times we find ourselves excusable situations where we find it hard to spell accurately or we are hampered by our accent. Conscious perception and sensitivity in language is enhanced through language awareness. By increasing language awareness we are better able to understand, appreciate and use the language effectively.
We are able to learn concepts through examination of our language structure and use. Language awareness can be increased through various activities which include; correct use of grammar, utilizing errors to detect problem, indulging in tasks that develop our ability to deal with language analytically. When language awareness is put into action in the class room it implies that all such theories of learning and teaching and activities that make language more accessible and more alive are made available to the learner. It is not only enough to make learners aware of language only but to make it more interactive and culturally aware.
Language can be expressed in written or oral form. Oral language involves a one on one communication between individuals in a far or close proximity. Written language is the expression of ones thoughts and feelings through a medium. Written language is the most fascinating form of language expression. In our generation social networking, texting and email have taken the place of phone calls.
It takes great skill and consciousness to become a good writer. Unlike spoken language writing is a complex process and involves a number of stages. Pre-writing is the first stage and it involves the collection of ideas and piecing them together on a rough sketch also known as shitty draft. This is the followed by actual writing where the writer becomes more logic in presentation. As soon as they are done writing revision follows and here the writer adds, rearrange, remove and replace necessary or unnecessary information. The last stage of this process is editing. While editing the writer proof read their work to fine tune and avoid mistakes. Here, they check for clarity, punctuation, spelling and grammar.
Curriculum structures reflect acknowledgement of learner abilities and in-depth understanding of the classroom environment. A learning environment is setup in a manner that facilitates the instructor`s agenda for his/her students. Instructors are challenged to maximize result through modeling a perfect teaching environment. Such a task requires psychological and physical talents, modeling an effective classroom environment demands scientific professionalism. Students respond to different environments differently because of emotional and physical comfort, minor details such as color, lighting, and gender sensitivity can have major impact. Where students feel appreciated and respected they achieve greater heights of success.
Improving a learning environment requires that a teacher remain keen on evaluating existing system. An in-depth understanding of a classroom environment exposes weaknesses and highlights potential strengths. Methodological actions of instructors or physical setup either support or deter the working environment of a student, neutrality in not likely to occur. To study environment one looks for symptoms of success or other performance related trends. If students achieve positive results a system is encouraging studies; however, if a system is producing results but repelling students it requires review. Student retention rates also reveal whether a classroom environment requires further improvement.
Teachers can achieve highest standards of student assistance through treating each participant as an individual persona with unique needs and emotional responsiveness. Referring to students as composed of different people allows instructors to achieve emotional connection with individuals. This means that students feel free to reach out teachers where questions and challenging issues arise. The student teacher relationship helps teachers tackle matters of age difference as learners are encouraged to view life from abroad perspective where they do not exist in an empty environment.
Another important aspect of managing education in for children in primary schools in Hong Kong is to involve teaching assistants. These are qualified individuals who assist children engage in their learning activities in the classroom during a lesson. They often work very closely with the teachers in charge of the subject and always try to make sure the pupils enjoy leaning in a safe and caring environment. As such, the teaching assistants have a significant role to play in helping children learning a new language to adapt easily and understand the instructions being delivered in class. Essentially, the role of teaching assistants entails preparing the classroom for lessons to begin, listening to children and engaging with them, supervising group activities in the class, carrying out administrative duties during the lesson, identifying inactive children and reaching out to them.
Teaching assistants are professional individuals who help the teacher in executing various responsibilities in the classroom. They are also known as education assistants (EA) or Teaching Aides (TA). In Hong Kong, the TAs are a very valuable resource in the learning process, working collaboratively with teachers to support children on group, individual or a general class level. The teaching assistants are highly skilled individuals and are considered as an integral element to the success of education and attainment of desired educational goals for all students. Usually, a teaching assistant works under the direction of the subject teacher, who has the ultimate responsibility for the learning process in the classroom.
The Teaching assistants play a crucial role in both the planning and the execution stages in the learning process. They often collaborate with teachers in planning and preparing for the lessons and availing the necessary learning aides. During the lessons, the help the teacher in managing the classroom to ensure the students concentrate on the lesson and that they get the help they need in terms of reading and writing assignments.
Furthermore, the teaching assistants help the teacher in managing classroom activities such as group discussions, physical activities, and interactions among the students. Therefore, the teaching assistants are better placed to manage the behavior of the students and form better professional relationships with the students. This is important as they will advise the teacher on the abilities and capabilities of each of the students in the class.
In conclusion, the classroom environment reveals a social setup which can be manipulated to yield fruit. Whether a teacher invests on emotional or scientific talents to help students achieve higher education goals, sole purpose of all education instructors is to sponsor academic excellence. The classroom environment is used to foster relationships, where teachers setup proper systems learners are socially enlightened and inhibit empowering character. Teachers can achieve a welcoming and success-oriented classroom environment by respecting diversity, through the application of teaching techniques and modeling of an empowering environment.
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