How I like to teach

 

My teaching style is structured and thorough.

 

I usually start with a 5-10 minute recap of the key content of the previous session (e.g. new vocab and grammar points). I check how much the student remembers through informal questioning, quizzes, etc. If this process flags anything that has been forgotten, I refresh their memory and make a note to test that content again in the following lesson.

I then ask the student what they've been covering at school (or, in the case of adult learners, what they've covered in their independent studies). I ask the student if there's anything in particular they want to go through in the lesson. I am always happy to adapt or postpone my own lesson plan if the student flags anything that clearly merits more immediate attention.

For exam students who have already covered much (or all) of their course (e.g. a late-stage GCSE or A Level student), my 'syllabus' for lessons is determined wherever possible through translation exercises, so that I can see first-hand which grammar points most urgently need revision, whilst simultaneously giving the student crucial translation practice. This means our syllabus evolves organically, and is continually tweaked to keep in line with the student's current learning needs.

During the translation, I ask the student to note down each unknown word as it is encountered, and together we devise a memory trick which will help them to recall the word in a quick test at the end of the lesson. The student and I will then pick a grammar point which stood out in the translation exercise as requiring the most immediate attention. We will dedicate some time to that topic, making some notes together, and the student's understanding is then tested with some reinforcement exercises.

 

At the end of the lesson, we spend 5-10 minutes recapping all the new vocabulary and grammar which was covered, and I typically set a manageable 'mini homework' for the next session based on what was covered in the lesson.

 

The aim of a mini homework is purely to keep the student's new knowledge fresh. I recognise that most school students already have many demands on their time, so I always keep homeworks brief and 'to the point' — i.e. the work must serve a useful purpose and link to our lesson. I also take a steer from parents (and students — see Ethos), and am happy to avoid setting homework entirely if they feel it is simply not manageable to fit it in.

Every lesson is of course different, and tailored to the student's requirements, but I find this approach (or a similar one) works in the vast majority of cases. I consider grammar to be crucially important, but I treat it as a means to an end as opposed to an end in its own right (see Ethos).

 

Above all, I strive to make my lessons fun and enjoyable. I love my subject and want all of my tutees to love it too.