On the 11th September 2012, we have presented an activity based on the principle of a method assigned in a language teaching context that is suggestopedia. Suggestopedia is the method used in an English language teaching where it might help in eliminates the negative feeling of student that they may have toward studying and thus help them to overcome the barriers to learning. Based on the feedbacks given by the lecturer and my friends, there are several strengths and weaknesses and some changes need to be improve in the activity that I would like to include in this reflection.
First of all, one of the weaknesses is we could not make the classroom brigt and colourful as our materials were not sufficient. I was assigned to prepare some posters according to the text used in the class. I had printed out some pictures of horses and sceneries of meadows so that the students could relate to the story and feel comfortable to learn English. I could have printed bigger size of posters and paste them in class. This is important as the learning is facilitated in a cheerful environment where the teacher organizes the classroom to be bright and cheerful.
Next, in this method, it is suggest that we need to use background music while the teacher reads to the students. We indeed used music suggested like Mozart’s Violin Concerto however the music was too loud and I myself forgot to slow the volume, thus the students lost their interest to what the teacher reads and focused on the music. We could have use different kind of music and we should pauses from time to time to allow the students to listen to the music. This is important as one of the objectives was to let the students acquire the English language in relax and authentic manner. We could have read the text in between two music where we need to read the text slowly, match our voice to the rhythm and pitch of the music. In this way the brain of the students becomes activated. For the second music, we could have read the text at normal rate and the students need to listen carefully. The students then should read over the text as homework.
Apart from that, during the activity, we could have included some hand-outs which have the text together with its translation as well as some notes on vocabulary and grammar which correspond to the text. What we did was we just read the text without giving the students anything to refer to and this makes the students failed in learning the target language.
On the other hand, despite the weaknesses, there are several strengths in the activity that we have carried out. During the presentation, we motivated the students with words like “just enjoy”, “relax yourself” and more to give the students the impression that learning English will be easy and enjoyable. In order to do this, I have done some reading on this method where a teacher should recognize that learners bring certain psychological barriers with them to the learning situation. Therefore by using appropriate words in the classroom may help the students to feel comfortable in learning English. Besides, we also initiated interactions with the students from the beginning of the activity. The comfort they had during the lesson also had a great influence to their feelings. This method could be realized if students are relaxed and confident, they will not need to try hard to learn the language. It will just come naturally and easily.
In addition, I found that we managed to respond to the students very well during the activity conducted. We led the class in various activities involving dialogues, for instance, through open-ended questions we gave the students to answer using simple sentences and at the same time we corrected their mistakes. I used the materials such as posters of horses and sceneries to let the students think and describe what they can see through those posters. Moreover, in this activity, we emphasized on vocabulary. Throughout the activity the students should be able to acquire large numbers on words in the target language. The use of open-ended questions is to let the students be able to respond towards the teachers while learning new vocabularies. I noticed that, the students were able to answer correctly and venture new words. Therefore this method is successful.
Furthermore, the choice of story was suitable for the young learners. We chose the story that have animal character in it so that the students could relate the story through the characters and learn the language in a fun way. While I was reading the text, the tempo of the music suited the situation in the story. At the end of the activity, the students need to pretend that they were the characters in the story and give opinion based on the question we asked. In this activity, I observed that the students tried to make up their own sentences and use the words they just learn to answer the questions. Though they did some error, I corrected them gently and not in a direct manner. I personally think that the correct choice of story can give a great influence to the students’ vocabulary and triggers them to use English in authentic manner.
As a conclusion, I think early preparation and practice is very important. Other than that, I should also do a draft and consult to the lecturer in order to have good quality of work. Throughout the whole process of completing the assignment, I noticed that, my understanding has improved and I feel like I could relate to the principle in which I could apply it in my classroom.