Emotions in teaching and learning – English innovative teaching
Since the topic of this paper revolves around innovative teaching, I would like to give a definition of what innovation is. According to Steve Jobs, “Innovation does not equate to starting from scratch. There are countless entrepreneurs, legendary ones even, who looked at that crowded marketplace and decided to recreate an ordinary business. Tom Monaghan (Domino’s) or Frank Carney (Pizza Hut) did not invent pizza. Ray Kroc (McDonald’s) didn’t sell the first fast-food hamburger. Leslie Wexner (The Limited) was hardly the first person to sell clothes to young women (his immigrant parents, in fact, operated a women’s clothing store). There were plenty of places to buy coffee before Howard Schultz (Starbucks) came along. Entrepreneurs and small business owners usually start the same way: with one small operation.” [http://www.allbusiness.com/steve-jobs-and-the-truemeaning- of-innovation-16700720-1.html]
Just like in business environment, innovation in teaching also does not apply to creating new phenomena but rather to using the ones that already exist and improving them. This is how I approach teaching as a tutor and learning as a student because, when learning languages, you should never say that your knowledge is complete. As we all probably know, language is a living entity, it changes through time and differs in many areas of our lives; yet, innovative teachers know that they learn at the same time they teach their students. In my opinion, many schools and teachers neglect the power of listening and, especially in Poland, teaching English as a second language but using it in class. It is very important to give learners the tools that would help them to “swim in the ocean of a language” since they will never possess the whole lexicon or master every grammatical intricacy.
In my classroom, listening and speaking English are the most important components because I believe that before any act of speaking and, later on, talking can take place, one needs to hear first, then understand comes and, finally, learners should be able to reply to the message. In addition to this, it is very important to incite curiosity among your learners so this is why I start with big questions and then smoothly move to the more detailed ones. This approach, at the end of the day enables students to see the big picture of every topic we take into consideration. I have been teaching for 7 years, I am now 25, but I listen to my students and alter some things just to their preferences. When we listen to songs, I usually ask them to draw a picture with associations and connotations that come to their minds while the song is being played. I noticed that it is a very good warm-up activity for any kind of discussion and works with all groups of students, because it turned out that it is easier for learners to speak when they do know what they want to say about a specific issue and, when drawing, they constantly think critically on the given subject. I also noticed that when emotions are applied in teaching and learning, students make fewer grammatical mistakes while speaking.
I will bring about some statements that I wrote down in my class, but it is important that I have not corrected the utterances.
“The song was very happy and I imagined a scene where people are very happy, they are dancing and playing different instruments. There is also an angel, because when I heard the song I imagined that something was flying up in the sky. What is more, I drew a couple of people who love each other and the scene was at night so that`s why there is the moon. A horse… Hmm, I don’t know why but I saw a horse that ran very fast.”
Pola Pawlikowska, 15 years old.
“They were singing about open door, time, a baby and the sky. I don’t know the movie from which this song is. The baby is happy, because the song is happy and the open door, it is something like Narnia, other world.”
Magdalena Mikina, 15 years old.
When we implement emotions into our teaching and learning, it becomes easier to speak and use the language because our learners know what they want to say. It is less difficult for them to put their thoughts into words, phrases and sentences when we want to find out about their real opinions on a given topic. During this lesson they were talking about the best time in their lives, but I also did this exercise during my Business English classes on the topic of Women in Business. I chose Beyoncé’s song “Run the World” and right from the beginning of the lesson all students knew what they wanted to tell me.
They make fewer mistakes when they are asked to explain their own thoughts and when the topic of the lesson becomes close to their hearts.
One more thing that I always do with my students, regardless of their age, is playing games; however, I choose different games for different proficiency levels and age of my students but I always bear in mind that my lesson must be serious – fun, not too serious and not too fun and I know that it works best. They enjoy learning and I enjoy being there with them and monitoring their progress which for me is amazing. To sum up, in order to be an innovative teacher, one does not need to make up any new curriculum but being an innovative teacher means listening to your students and reacting to their preferences. One needs to find out what works for them best and implement it in their teaching strategies. Education is two-dimensional – only by letting your students teach you something new, can you teach them any subject or language. There are no people that cannot be taught languages, they need to fall in love with a language, have a tool and the basis, so that they can discover more on their own. Last but not least, your students need complete immersion in a given subject, so it is not enough to teach them only one aspect of English, they need all of it, right from the start.