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Essay Question For Trinity Cert TESOL Application

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  • newbgold
    Participant
    2 September, 2015 at 13:03
    • Total posts: 1

    Hi everyone on this board. I am a new member, and I am new to TEFL programs as well.
    I live in the United States and I am currently applying for the TEFL course Trinity Cert TESOL taught in Prague through Oxford Seminars.
    I am confused about the essay question and what they specifically they require me to write.

    Essay question
    A language learning experience you’ve had*
    Write 180 to 250 words about an experience you have had learning another language. You can talk about the teacher, the materials, the methods used and whether it worked for you and why.

    Are they asking me about how I LEARNED a foreign language as a STUDENT? Or are they asking me how I TAUGHT a language to foreigners before as a TEACHER? I know that in some languages, LEARN and TEACH mean the same thing and are used interchangeably.

    If it is the former, do I need to describe how I learning a foreign language at school. I learned French as a second language when I was in high school. But that was almost 15 years ago, and I forgot most of it. I forgot the techniques that my high school French teachers used as well. I recall that my teacher used cassette tape recordings with spoken French in class. But I am sure that multimedia and interactivity in teaching had greatly changed since then. So, for my essay question, do I need to describe my personal experience of how I learned French when I took it in high school?

    Or do I need to describe my prior experiences teaching English in a classroom setting? Unfortunately, I have not taught English yet, but I tutor Math and Physics. If they ask me about teaching a language (as opposed to learning as a student), can I talk about my experience teaching Math and Physics?

    There are TEFL applicants whose only language is English and who never took another language in school. How would they write this essay if they never learned a language in a classroom setting?

    Also, how much detail do I need to go into? How specific should I be? Do I need to give specific examples of situations in classroom? (Ex: my French teach told a story, and that is how I learned new French adjectives) Do I need to focus on techniques? (Ex: French teacher used illustrated flashcards to teach nouns, but used organized tables to teach verbs)
    What are they asking for?

    dan
    Moderator
    2 September, 2015 at 16:23
    • Total posts: 770

    Are they asking me about how I LEARNED a foreign language as a STUDENT?

    Yes.

    Or are they asking me how I TAUGHT a language to foreigners before as a TEACHER?

    No.

    If it is the former, do I need to describe how I learning a foreign language at school.

    Yes, that would be the best example, unless you have learnt a foreign language since.

    I learned French as a second language when I was in high school. But that was almost 15 years ago, and I forgot most of it. I forgot the techniques that my high school French teachers used as well. I recall that my teacher used cassette tape recordings with spoken French in class. But I am sure that multimedia and interactivity in teaching had greatly changed since then. So, for my essay question, do I need to describe my personal experience of how I learned French when I took it in high school?

    Yes – the example you gave about using cassettes is a good one. See if you can think of more examples like that of how the French was taught – what did the teacher do, how did he/she do it (methods) and what materials did he/she use (like your example of the cassettes). Then try and think about whether or not you found all those things effective and why. Did the teacher’s manner have an effect on you? Do you remember one teacher more than others? Why? What did you think about learning by listening to cassettes? Do you think this was effective, or could there have been a more effective method? Did you have a lot of opportunity to speak (with the teacher, other students)? Was this helpful and why? Or did the teacher spend all the time at the board writing out grammar? Was this useful? And so on…

    Also, how much detail do I need to go into? How specific should I be? Do I need to give specific examples of situations in classroom? (Ex: my French teach told a story, and that is how I learned new French adjectives) Do I need to focus on techniques? (Ex: French teacher used illustrated flashcards to teach nouns, but used organized tables to teach verbs)

    These are good examples to give. You’re thinking along the right lines. Remember though that you only have 180-250 words – it’s not much. So you need to be very succinct, but also make sure you cover all the points (teacher, materials, methods, whether it worked for you and why). If you have too many words, perhaps just give examples for a couple of the points, or make each example shorter…

    Hope that helps.

    Dan

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