United Arab Emirates
Ministry of Education
I spent six months as a full-time English Language Teacher at Al Dhara Secondary School for Girls in Hatta, United Arab Emirates. This school is located one hour southeast of Dubai in the foothills of the Hajar Mountains, bordering Oman. I taught 9th and 10th grade Emirati students in the Advanced Science Program (ASP). As an ESL teacher, I created student-centered lessons, incorporating differentiated activities to reach the varying skills and abilities of my ASP students. Previously, I underwent two months of teacher training to prepare for culture assimilation and multicultural pedagogies in the UAE.
“A country’s greatest investment lies in building generations of educated and knowledgeable youth.”-Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan, Founding Father of United Arab Emirates
Advanced Science Program (ASP)
The Advanced Science Program was designed for the highest performing students within Emirati government schools. The curriculum is a focus on science and math topics, with English as the medium of instruction. It was my goal, as a teacher of 80 ASP students, to bring fun, enlightening science topics blended with English lessons in listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
- Lesson Plans
- Interactive Notebook
- Student Projects
- Differentiated Activities
The Ministry of Education dictates the curriculum for government schools, thus, these are lesson plans create by the United Arab Emirates MOE. With that said, as a creative professional educator, I was given the autonomy to modify what and how lessons were delivered in my classroom.
The interactive notebook is a tool used to strengthen student learning (the input) through increased student participation (the output). I used the notebook every class period to promote active engagement; students had to sort, categorize, and implement the new knowledge in creative ways, so no two student notebooks looked the same. Content included lessons like grammar notes, vocab, video notes, word puzzles, game activities, etc. I also printed out supplemental materials (brainstorming activities, reflections, drawings, figures, worksheets, etc.) and ask students to glue these in their notebooks, too.
A second reason for keeping an interactive notebook is that it provides a reference for each unit, particularly for unit reviews. The notebook also served as means of communication between teacher and parents. In my experience, students had enjoyed maintaining an “English” interactive notebook so much that they tried creating one with other subjects.
Lastly, the interactive notebook offers a unique measuring tool to assess student progress. The notebook, beginning with the first lesson of the unit and continuing to its conclusion, can be used to assess performance and growth in students’ understanding.
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Every STEAM project blends a common approach and focus in each subject. With this project, students were asked to team up and create an invention that will be poster-presented in front of the class. As the mediator of this project, I tried to allow students’ interests lead the way as naturally as possible to let them organically explore, play, and try new things.
ESL teachers must tailor their instruction to meet the varying needs of individual students. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment, the use of ongoing assessment and flexible grouping makes this a successful approach to instruction.
- When using station teaching, consider the following:
- what subject, unit, concept, or skill you want to cover at each station
- how you can challenge students’ varying abilities
- how to motivate students to use L2
- how much time is needed per station
- what behavior management strategies will be put in place
Literature Project: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Literature Project: Little Women
Each student has an obligation in the development of a quality learning environment. Following classroom rules and expectations has fostered respect for self and others.
To create an effective learning environment, I have assigned a handful of students the following roles:
- Project managers: Lead group work and keep others on task
- Peace keepers: or what I like to call, the “shusher,” maintains a quiet , calm, positive atmosphere
- Arabic boss: ensures that English is always spoken and will intervene with Arabic translation as necessary
- Teacher helper: passes out papers, writes dates and objectives on board, and other duties as assigned
Southeast Missouri State University
Intensive English Program
For two wonderful months, I taught ESL for the first time in summer 2016. SEMO’s Intensive English Program prepares English language learners for success by providing linguistic instruction, cultural orientation, and critical thinking skills.
For a newbie ESL teacher, I was lucky enough to have small classes and hard-working students in both my Grammar 2 (beginner) and Writing 5 (intermediate) classes. This required developing curriculum and writing lesson plans designed for transnational learning strategies. Not only did I want to teach my students English, but I wanted to prepare my international students for the necessary skills in American universities.