So today I decided to let you know a bit more as to what my Masters is about. Obviously as displayed next to my name it’s in the department of Education and is about Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Most of the modules that I chose take place at the School of Education buildings which are located down the University Road and are outside the university campus. Most of the rooms look like proper school classrooms where we used to attend to learn English, the walls are decorated and the seating arrangement is suitable for students to work in groups. But the Leicester’s School of Education buildings are not what I want to talk about in this post.
At the beginning of the previous term, our tutors told us that we are required to enroll on a foreign language course for only the first term as a part of the course. All the fees were paid by the MA course and at first I was a bit confused as to why attending a foreign language class would benefit me in my course, but as soon as our tutors explained us the whole scenario it sounded perfect.
The plan goes like this: each MA TESOL student attends a foreign language class of their choice once a week and is required to keep a learning diary. You might wonder what a learning diary is, well it’s what you would describe as “keeping a summary of every lesson”. After each lesson we had to write a word entry of a maximum 500 words with a summary of what happened in class. We were free to write whatever we wanted as long as it was relevant to the lesson. My diary entries varied from how the teacher corrects errors in class to what materials and resources she uses, how the learners seem to cope in class or even what activities the teacher used in order to teach us new language material. We had to write a total of 10 diary entries. I chose Portuguese and the teacher was so energetic and helpful that it made it a memorable experience. During this term we will all discuss our experiences and compare our diary entries in the seminar sessions for the Reflections on Language Teaching and Learning module. We will also do classroom observations and at the end of the term we are required to write an essay based on all the data that we collected.
The main benefit of keeping a learning diary is that it helps you understand your own learning but also the learning process of teaching. It benefits to understand how learners acquire knowledge and makes you reflect on your own beliefs about teaching. It doesn’t require much time to do it and it’s an effective technique not only for students who will be teachers in the near future but also for actual teachers as it helps them reflect on their teaching.