Educational Aims and Methodology for UKCE teachers

UKCE aims to equip students with the ability to express themselves successfully and confidently in English in variety of situations and settings.
Whether a learner needs English for work or pleasure, we endeavour to provide them with language courses that suit their needs and make learning an enjoyable experience.

Learning Principles and Beliefs

  • Our aim is that students will be able to use the target language and understand its structure.
  • Students will practise in appropriate social-cultural situations and learn about body language.
  • Our methods are essentially communicative with an emphasis on speaking and listening skills. There is a balance of grammar, lexis, pronunciation/phonology and discourse type activities.
  • Students learn effectively when they are stimulated and a variety of stimulus will be implemented by teachers including DVDs and music.
  • Learner autonomy is encouraged in order to help students develop an active, independent learning style. Teachers should aim to reduce teacher talking time (TTT).
  • A commitment to on-going needs analysis and regular assessment of students to provide relevant lessons and an awareness of progress made. Students will benefit from 3 progress tests and an end of course achievement test coveringwork from the previous 12 weeks.

The UKCE syllabus

UKCE caters to a variety of students with diverse needs. To satisfy those needs, UKCE has devised its own 12 week syllabus. Our syllabus is based on the fundamental understanding that the communicative approach that predominates in ELT is sound. The syllabus covers a range of active and passive skills, weekly vocabulary and grammar topics. At UKCE we aim to deliver up to date lessons and encourage our students to not just learn a language, but to also live it. Therefore the syllabus also includes sections for modern relevance, phone usage, songs and newspaper articles. Materials will be regularly updated and added by Lara to suit class and teacher needs and to further engage students.

There are further plans, subject to risk assessment, to integrate class trips into the syllabus with exercises for students to complete during and after the trips. This follows our belief that learning takes place in and out of the classroom and provides opportunities for students to interact with native speakers and bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world.

The design acknowledges that existing course book resources have merit. The aim of the syllabuses is to supplement one primary course book per level with targeted references to other material that is available in the teachers’ room. This is an ongoing process that requires the co-operation of teachers to report gaps in the supplementary material. Once they have been reported, this is followed up by Lara with orders for new books or creation of new materials.

Principles of Teaching

As methods of learning and teaching change, so too does the role of teacher. At UKCE we place emphasis on learners taking responsibility for their learning and our teachers acting as leaders rather than controllers of learning.
UKCE teachers should endeavour to be up to date on contemporary methodology and techniques in order to equip their students with the skills they need to succeed in English. To help teachers achieve these aims, TD sessions are offered twice a month and off site TD sessions are paid for by the school to encourage teachers to continuously develop themselves.

Every lesson and every student is different, but a UKCE teacher can help further learning in a myriad of ways and can act as facilitator, mentor, coach and guide to:

  • Provide learners with resource materials such as extra worksheets and access to the school library.
  • Providing learners with opportunities to test out their learning by means of school trips.
  • Giving learners feedback on their progress by means of progress tests and tutorials.

One of the most important roles of the teacher is to promote independent learning. There are a number of practices you can build into your teaching to encourage independent learning during every lesson. These include:

  • Giving students choices so they can reflect on their own interests and preferences.
  • Encouraging pair work/group work so that learners can learn from each other.
  • Collaborate with students to set shared learning goals.
  • Encourage self and peer correction before work is handed in

We encourage teachers to follow the principles of Active and Independent Learning.
The key concepts of Active Learning are as follows:

  • Students should use new ideas and information – learning by doing;
  • Students should engage in discussions;
  • Student activity should be meaningful, interesting and useful;
  • Students should interact, co-operate, take risks, express individuality, and have fun;
  • Students should produce independent ideas;
  • Students should not be afraid of making mistakes;
  • Teachers facilitate learning, establishes clear learning goals, manages classroom activities, corrects mistakes if hindering fluency, acts as advisor and co-communicator

How to ensure your students benefit from your lessons

Two key principles for ensuring students benefit from your lessons are variety and flexibility. Teachers should offer their students with a number of different types of activities, materials and interaction patterns to cater to different learner types.

Teachers also need to ensure that the materials used in class provide a balance of skills and activities. The need for balance is also a motivational consideration. Good lesson planning is the art of mixing techniques, activities and materials in such a way than an ideal balance is created for the class. In a GE class there will be work on the four skills (although you may come to a decision about the relative merits of each skill) – presentation, controlled practice, roughly-tuned input, feedback and communicative activities; different student groupings also need to be used.

It is also important to peruse students’ needs analysis forms (NAFs) and be so flexible with the adopted syllabus that your lessons reflect the needs of the students. Gauge the activities to students’ learning objectives, their interests, motivation and ability; ensure the lessons are fast-paced with a frequent change of activity, orientation and interaction patterns. The UKCE syllabus is there to help teachers deliver a well rounded course to suit students’ needs; however, continuous enrolment may lead to the need to negotiate the content of the syllabus with your students to ensure that the goals of both long and short term students are met.

Teachers should regularly check the ratio of long- and short-term students in their classes (by means of a class profile and the class register) and plan accordingly. Teachers should aim for grammar and accuracy with long term students and task based fluency with short term students. Language functions can, and should, be taught and the themes/ topics provided in the syllabus should be utilised to introduce and expand on these functions.

Recycle the material only when the profile of the class has changed diametrically but review the material on a regular basis using supplementary materials and ask Lara for help acquiring/ making any extra materials you may need.

How does continuous enrolment impact on the delivery of the School’s syllabus?

Continuous enrolment should not impact the delivery of the syllabus too heavily. While a teacher can expect to have trial students in their classes on Monday- Thursday, a student may only enrol on Monday or Tuesday (exceptions may allow for a Wednesday enrolment if a student had their trial on Tuesday and wishes to start immediately). When a student enrols, reception will send an email to the teacher to allow them time to prepare for an extra student in the class. Tara will direct any new students to your class and should introduce them to you. Please note- if a student arrives and is not on the register, you must send them to reception. This applies for returning students as well.

The UKCE 12 week syllabus is based on one core course book which every student studying for more than two weeks is expected to purchase. Should you have a student in your class that has signed up for less than two weeks or a trial student, loan course books of every level may be taken by the teacher from the office. This is to ensure that all students – long or short term- are equipped with relevant class materials and avoid disruption to other students and the teacher.

Keeping meticulous records of work is very important as it allows the teacher to inform the student of which units of the syllabus have been covered and which units of the book the student may need to catch up on. Records of work also avoid long term students repeating the same activities, but allow for review and consolidation activities so students who may have missed that part of the syllabus have a chance to absorb the material by virtue of performing different tasks and working with their peers who may have already covered the material. Teachers are encouraged to be flexible and cater for students’ learning goals whenever possible; this may mean providing a new student with extra homework to catch up.

When a new student arrives, written and oral placement tests are administrated to check on their learning history and current ability. Should you feel a student is at the wrong level, please wait for the student to do a progress test at that level before determining if the student should advance to the next class. Progress tests are completed in weeks 3, 6 and 9 of the syllabus, therefore any level changed should occur in the following week (in weeks 4, 7 and 10).

Practice of Teaching

It is your responsibility as an English language teacher at UKCE to:

  • Teach all classes as per the timetable.
  • Establish clear learning goals for the students and display these goals in your weekly outcomes.
  • Prepare work and materials appropriately to the highest possible standard.
  • set and mark homework
  • Liaise regularly with the DoS/ADoS/Academic Support and co-teachers regarding the progress of students.
  • Implement the action plan suggested by the DoS following any lesson observations.
  • Keep daily records of student attendance. These will be checked by Tara.
  • Be aware of absenteeism and late arrivals procedures.
  • Keep daily records of work up to date and legible. Ensure page numbers and exercises used are specified.
  • Reference all materials used (book title, name of author, publisher and year).
  • Complete risk assessments for off-site lessons.
  • Be punctual.
  • Attend teachers’ meetings every Friday (only for morning teachers).
  • Participate in TD sessions and attend 2 off-site TD sessions per year.
  • Keep the staffroom and classroom tidy.
  • Adhere to the dress code and behave appropriately in class.

Setting and marking students’ homework:

You are expected to set homework for your students at least three times a week in order to assess their progress and understanding of material covered in the lessons. The homework you set can be any of the following:

  • written assignments
  • Cloze exercises
  • Worksheets
  • Reading activity/ comprehension
  • Grammar activities
  • Vocabulary activities etc.