In Vilnius Radvilų Gymnasium we were seven members of practice group: Evelina Brusokaitė, Raimonda Vilkaitytė, Sandra Purvaneckaitė,Tomas Jelisejev, Neringa Telksnytė, Ingrida Karpuškaitė and Agnė Radionovaitė. We had four practice teachers: Ramunėlė Šiaulianskienė, Vilija Ramonienė, Vaida Galkontaitė and Dalius Vyšniauskas. We had from the 1st to 4th gymnasium classes (1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 4c (b level)). All trainees had from 9 to 12 lessons a week. During our teaching practice we were working from Solutions, Enterprise and First Certificate Expert books. New technologies were also implied in the lessons such as a record - player, computers, projectors, the internet and so on.
Regarding the fact that our school was gymnasium, the proficiency of students was expected to be more or less advanced. We all had different classes (from 1st to 4th gymnasium classes). The level differed in every class. For example, Neringa and Ingrida had 4th class students but the level was low. Students were in level B and the general level of proficiency was quite poor. In contrast, the class 1a was a very strong one. The students` general level was not intermediate but remained an advanced one. The majority of students mastered the target language in all spheres (reading, writing, listening, speaking).Therefore, the level of proficiency different in every class. Besides the general level, the level differed within the class as well. There were students who could even hardly read, and there were students whose English was fluent and perfect within the same class. So, it was difficult to draw the general level of proficiency in Radvilų gymnasium.
We have decided that one of the main linguistic aims is to enable students to acquire basic language skills (speaking, reading, listening and writing). We tried to realise every aspect and make the lessons various and interesting. Another aim is to pay more attention to the English language usage than concentrating on the native language. We tried to speak in English as much as it was possible, for instance, in teaching activities we used only English language and encouraged students to use it as well, but when we were explaining grammar rules, so we explained it in English and then provided the explanation in the native language.
On the subject of class organization, so we had to plan carefully our lessons in order to run a smooth classroom. Also, we had to prepare extra handouts and think how to present them clearly and interesting because students pay attention to the instructions. It was important to present teaching procedures so that it would be clear to students what our requirements were. We set the ordinary rules to students, for example, when the lesson start students have to be in their seats ready to work or to show their homework so that we can mark. The aids that we used were visual (blackboard, handouts) and audio-aids.
We think that the most successful in our teaching were handouts (or additional activities). We provided various activities that were new to students. We frequently started our lessons with warming-up activities which were evaluated by students as interesting. Learners were engaged by these activities. Sometimes we felt that working in groups were not successful as we expected because not all the students were motivated to work, even if they were asked to join their group.
English teachers in Vilnius Radvilų gymnasium teach from two different books: „First Certificate Expert“, “Enterprise” and „Solutions“. First book is upper- intermediate level, the second one - intermediate and the last one- intermediate.
“First Certificate Expert”
This book deals with all of the four skills.
It consists of all three stages of teaching: The Activating stage involves preparing for new learning (an introductory stage). The Acquiring stage develops new learning (the critical stage). The Applying stage involves deepening what was learned by engaging students in complex tasks at a later time.
Forth formers in B level are also taught from this book. In this case this book seems to be inappropriate and too difficult. Teacher has to adapt the material for every single lesson.
For stronger students this book is appropriate. However, additional materials are often needed (grammar rules or activities).
This book deals with all of the four skills and consists of all three stages of teaching.
This book is clear and appropriate for students. Variety of activities helps students to learn English language in a fun way.
During our pedagogical practice we had a chance to see what personal qualities we have in order to be good teachers, but also we find out which fields of skill in teaching we need to strengthen too. First of all, we need to be better at explaining things, because sometimes it was quite difficult to explain clearly grammar rules and some instructions to the students. Second, we have to be better managers of time, because time is very precious thing during the lesson and a good teacher has to know how to use it wisely. And one more quality which we want to strengthen in order to handle teaching is to be more patient: always patiently explain unknown things and never scream or yell at the students even though they try to provoke your emotions.
Finally, after the review of the whole teaching practice, we offer our pieces of advice to the English Department. Even though, we are already in the fourth course, we were scared to appear in front of the class for the first time. We think that the practice itself should start from the first course in order to see what the matter is “working at school”. We think that to the majority of us it would help to understand if we want to be teachers or not. Speaking about the knowledge of English grammar and other technical things, for example, how to teach, we were satisfied; however we lacked knowledge about the classroom management (we needed to discuss more real-life situations which happen at a school). Also, we think we have to do too many paper-works. It is more useful to prepare for the lessons than to write reports.
All of us are satisfied with the mentors we had. They contributed to our good results, shared with us their experiences and helped us to prepare for the lessons.