This is part of a series of interviews with fellow English language teaching professions to be published on this blog.
The interviewees are drawn from a variety of teaching contexts, in different countries and working with different kinds of learners. What they have in common is having experimented in some way with their teaching practice.
This is actually a very interesting interview for me, because elements of Community language learning (the approach Claudia experimented with) are involved in the project I am currently working on, and she lives on Lake Balaton in Hungary, which is not far from where the next IATEFL Hungary conference is being held!
Interviewee #4 – Claudia Molnar
1) Who are you?
I am originally from London but moved to Hungary 7 years ago. I have been teaching EFL/ESOL for around 16 years and completed my DELTA last year. I did the integrated Distant programme with a 2 week intro course in Budapest. While doing the course I was teaching at a local agricultural university (Pannon, Georgikon Kar) here in Keszthely. My students were and still are the professors and PhD students. I have been teaching at the uni for a few years now and additionally do some training work for a language book publishing house and some exam boards here in Hungary.
2) What did you choose to do for your experimental practice and why?
For my experimental practice I chose CLL (Community Language Learning) as this was a new concept for me and my group. Before I moved to Hungary I taught multi lingual groups and the challenge of teaching monolingual groups and sticking purely with L2 was very enjoyable however the concept of CLL and the use of L1 in the classroom was a refreshing approach for me. It was the assignment I enjoyed the most as it opened up a host of opportunities to try out new things.
3) How did you go about researching this area? Were there any sources you found particularly useful?
Apart from the books I also researched on the internet – I watched many YouTube videos :-).
English as a Global Language, Classroom Techniques and Richards and Rogers’ Approaches and Methods and Lightbrown and Spada’s How languages Are Learnt were among my faves.
4) How did you record what happened in the lesson? What were the most effective and interesting ways you found to document your experimental practice experience?
I actually video recorded the session – with the group’s permission. It was great for us to look back on and also the audio was necessary for the students to evaluate and develop their skills.
5) What happened? What did you find out about teaching and learning and teachers and learners by doing your experiment?
I think the main things I learnt were (over the entire DELTA actually) that there is a fine line between getting involved and interfering 🙂 Taking a huge step back is the most powerful teaching tool, furthermore giving students the opportunity to evaluate their own performance – in this way through video/audio recordings or through discussion – is invaluable for both teacher and students.
I have 2 children and we live on a hill over looking the beautiful Lake Balaton. We moved to Hungary 7 years ago. Prior to that we lived in London and I was an EFL/ESOL teacher, teacher trainer and academic and pastoral support manager in an FE college in North London. I now have a range of teaching commitments here in Hungary and am happier in my job and life than ever!