Positive learning experience
I have had many negative learning experiences, but at the same time I have had a good number of positive ones, that I have enjoyed and have benefited from greatly. Learning English as a foreign language at one of the clubs in my town back in Russia was, probably, the best learning experiences I have had so far. But what made it so positive? First of all, the motivation factor. I was 15 years old and very passionate about learning English.
I wanted to be able to use it for my career as a teacher and simply in daily communication with my friends, American missionaries. The ability to speak another language opened up a whole new world for me of a different culture, people, literature, films, music and mentality. I spent 2 years learning English at this club. I was bit apprehensive at the start as my school English classes were not effective at all and did not help me in learning English, giving me an impression that it was completely my fault that I could not learn English.
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But after a few weeks at this club I felt relief, pride and personal satisfaction as I made a steady progress and was getting a noticeable result. Secondly, the lessons were of a very practical nature. The communicative approach was used to help us learn more affectively. We were actively participating in speaking, writing, listening and thinking. The tasks were challenging, difficult but achievable. My learning was enhanced by the potential applications of the English language after the lessons in speaking with my friends.
Thirdly, the language we learnt was contemporary and up-to-date, so the learning was relevant and challenging. We were encouraged to learn English through reading books, watching films and even speaking to each other in English in daily life as the majority of learners did not have native speakers’ friends like I was fortunate to have. Another positive moment for me was that it was not a school environment. The atmosphere was relaxed and I did not feel an unnecessary pressure to follow any schedule. Our work was not graded and that alone was a very freeing point for me.
I could focus on actual learning and not worry about getting good or bad grades. And finely, the group of people that I learnt English with all consisted of highly motivated and enthusiastic people, who were very committed to learning the English language. The opportunity to learn from each other in the classroom increased my motivation and learning. Active involvement and co-operation in our group helped me to enjoy our lessons. a pupil at that point of my life. | Looking back now as teacher I cannot say those were the perfectly composed lessons.
I would have done many things differently if i had been a teacher of that club now. But it was certainly a very different experience from everything else I had as a pupil at that point of my life.
Negative learning experience
As most students, adults or children, I have experiences a number of negative learning experiences over my lifetime, everything from poor instructional methods to strongly influential teachers. These learning experiences have created impressions and preconceptions that added to the diversity of my classroom experience.
It is important to examine not only positive learning experiences but negative ones as well, to understand the influence that the past learning experience makes on the future learning. Most of my negative learning experience occurs in the first 2 years of the University where I studied the English language for teaching and translation purposes. Why do I consider that learning experience to be negative? First of all, in my opinion, the students’ needs were not properly addressed.
As a student I often felt very discouraged when I saw inconsiderate behaviour on the part of my teacher. Witnessing repeated problems caused me at some point of learning to question my major and even my aspirations for a university degree. I think our teacher was unaware of our interests, backgrounds and even anxieties. This knowledge would have helped her to make the class seem more personal and the materials more accessible. Secondly, the teacher failed to provide materials and resources that worked with all or most learning styles.
I am a visual – learning student. Often I struggled during the lessons to follow or recall information that was “heard” in a lesson. If I had been provided some visual aids when studying I would have retained more information. This visual tools would have improved my ability to store or and recall information more completely and effectively. And thirdly, the communicative approach was very rarely used, if at all during the lessons. Communicative language teaching makes use of real-life situations that produce communication.
Our teacher, unfortunately, rarely set up situations that we could encounter in real life. My learning was not motivated by real-life simulations and meaningful topics. We were learning the language out of context, both linguistic and social. Some situational context was still present though. We rarely engaged in class discussions when we could have shared our experiences and viewpoints. The teacher talked more and listened less. Because of my decreased responsibility to participate, I was losing confidence in using the target language in general. I felt less responsible for my own learning.
As a result, my grades were low, so was my self-esteem. My damaged self-esteem caused my negative learning cycle to progress. I missed quite a few classes. I lacked motivation for any classwork and became withdrawn. This negative learning experience was probably one of the strongest. It did get better in the next three years of the University. Maybe because we the teacher changed or I was somehow able to remove the barriers to my learning that and had been put in the first two years of the University. been put in the first two years of the University. |
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