Ms. Sangiolo accomplished a professional goal this month by completing her 60- hour certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. As a next step to further her development, she has launched into the 100 hours of training/practicum.
Q: Why were you motivated to take this course?
It has been a professional goal of mine to learn more about how to effectively support English Language Learners. I know a personal strength of mine is to connect and engage my students, and that will always sustain me. Additionally, as a musician and educator, I feel that I am always willing to pursue a creative route. But at this point, I wanted something more. I wanted a methodology and an approach to ground me.
Q. What's the biggest takeaway from this experience that you've been able to apply to your teaching?
The ESA methodology stands for Engage, Study, and Activate. Engaging the students can include showing pictures, discussions, role-playing, prompting, and using questions to get the students thinking and speaking in English. The purpose of this phase is to get the student's attention and to share the meaning of words or topics that will be covered in the lesson. In the study phase, the teacher shows students new words and the correct way of using them. "This phase is also where any errors may be corrected and discussed in a tactful way. During this stage, the teacher can help students come to a better understanding of each subject so they can learn and move forward in the best way possible" (Dunsmore, 2018). In the last phase, Activate, students have to apply their knowledge. Without that, students are not prepared for a real-world situation in which to practice English skills.
Q. Can you share what it was like to be a student again?
Well, I think what made it so engaging was the amount of enthusiasm my instructor brought. Not only was she an expert, but she made herself accessible if I had questions and she was very willing to share resources that I can't wait to use at Rectory. I am actually going to meet with her over Spring Break. Also, my classmates shared their perspectives, cultures, and life stories with them. I loved that so much!
Overall, It was a joy and a really empowering experience. Each Monday I would come back after a weekend spent in the classroom and have new ideas that I could apply in my teaching. It was so rewarding! I honestly felt like a toddler sponging up new information.
Q. What did this course reaffirm about teaching English Language Learners?
Learning a new language is hard. It takes courage and dedication. I think that it is important for educators to put themselves in their students' shoes. I see how my students grow while being immersed in a new language and also a new culture--how they become more confident and comfortable speaking, writing, and responding to English. However, I know there are pressures and challenges, too. For many of my students, I think they are constantly balancing coursework while preparing to take the SSAT or TOEFL. I am glad that I have been able to support them through this as well.
It also reaffirmed how much I love working with international students. Every day I feel like I get to travel the world through my students.