The classes I take at IUPUI for the TESOL certificate are going well also. I take three classes, three nights a week, for three hours a night. This is not as boring as it sounds because my teachers are all excellent educators and they are very good at breaking up the time.
My Monday class is about the methods of teaching TESOL. This doesn’t necessarily mean what activities to do, but how we should teach and what we need to think about when preparing to interact with our students. For example, we read entire chapters about speaking slowly and annunciating. We also talk about topics like questions and discourse and how to adapt them based on your content and language objectives.
My Wednesday night class is linguistics. I am basically learning everything about the English language from how we make certain sounds to how we form sentences in our brains. I find this interesting, although Tim laughs at me when I use my linguistic knowledge. At the concert we went to a few weekends ago, Jonathan Coulton let out a small breath after he said [p]. Everyone laughed because it was so pronounced, but I explained to Tim the phonological process that was happening when he aspirated his [p]. The same thing happens to you after you say pan, but probably not span. You can tell by holding your hand up to your mouth and feeling the breath. Obviously, you can see how useful understanding these processes would be for teaching English. It also frustrates Tim when we play scrabble and I pull out a letter and say “Oh, a voiced, bilabial stop.” That’s a [b], by the way.
My Thursday night class is called Second Language Acquisition, and it is about how people learn a second language. We talk about what we processes carry over from the first language to the second (parents should always read to their children, no matter what language they are reading in!). We also talk about language learning styles and the emotions that go into learning a second language.
My classes are fun. I enjoy the reading, and I know they are making me a better teacher. I am even hoping to get my masters and teach in public schools with a program called Peace Corps Fellows after we get back. Anyway, I hope those are enough details for now! Let me know if you have any questions.