"The long and winding road
can lead to your door."
– Paul McCartney
I.) What were your expectations before taking this seminar course?
I was intrigued with the idea of working with academically focused learners in the CLIP program, but somewhat apprehensive because this new classroom environment would be quite different from the COPE environment in which I had a great deal more independence and control; in contrast, in the CLIP environment I would be observed constantly and be more under the control of the mentoring teacher. Additionally, the CLIP academic requirements for students would, indeed, press me to be more spot-on with my knowledge of grammar – not just reviewing and brushing up on it, but knowing how to teach it effectively in the EAP milieu. To be sure, teaching my first CLIP class was nerve-wracking, but I liked the challenge of getting the Ss interested and involved; however, actually experiencing their involvement in my LP and listening to the buzz of their group work activities was encouraging and heartening. I must add that when not teaching, I learned a huge amount by just observing my mentoring teacher and following along with the various handouts and activities she gave me.
II.) What is at least one important Big Idea you have learned that you can apply to your future teaching?
An important “big idea” is engaging Ss interest from the git-go; that is, capturing their attention and hooking them into what needs to be learned. Interest and intrigue connected to a well-planned lesson can be contagious among Ss and provide a kind of class cohesion as they tackle a worthwhile lesson in pairs or group work. Of course, such a lesson is possible with good scaffolding (and more scaffolding), good modeling (and more modeling) and lots of elicitation with minimal teacher talk.
III.) What professional goals have you set for yourself within the next two years?
I am most interested in working with a Community-Based population and, perhaps, even with low-literacy or SIFE learners. Additionally – due to my considerable theater background – I plan to use many elements of Readers Theater to teach ESL which combines all 4 skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking into each lesson.
IV.) What would you like to know more about?
I would like to know more about Assessment. I also plan to continue my own private study of SIFE and low literacy which all teachers of ESL should have a practical and working knowledge of.
V.) Share any other thoughts you’d like.
CLIP is an excellent and worthwhile program. For me it was an invaluable experience, and I learned a huge amount of helpful and practical teaching information. In the future, however, it would be helpful if mentoring teachers could be a little more on “our side” in terms of interfacing with us more effectively and communicating more specifically how they view our role in the classroom.