What I’ve Learned About Teaching English

About this essay


In this portfolio you will find a summary of what I have learned through the lessons of the Course English Studies and Education: Communicative Language Teaching. Purpose of this essay is to demonstrate my knowledge on the course and to self-asses my competence in teaching English in years 4 – 6.

This essay is divided in 3 chapters:

  1. Perspectives on Global English and Interculturality in the classroom. In this chapter I focus on English as an international language and interculturality.
  2. Assessing English in Theory and Practice.

    Assessment of a year 5 pupil’s ability to speak English and a learners ability to write in English..

  3. Conclusion.

Perspectives on Global English and Interculturality in the classroom

Throughout centuries English has become the most important language worldwide. It is a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different. Dimensions of the spread of English are military, cultural, economic and scientific related.

Because of the migration of European citizens to the UK, USA, Australia, and New Zealand, English was the main language that was used to communicate.

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Also, the English colonization of countries like India, several African countries and Canada caused these countries to adopt English as a second language.

Nowadays English is taught as a second language in an expanding circle of countries like the European countries and Japan. Also, the world wide web is contributing a lot to speaking English. Clips on YouTube, gaming, movies and music also gets children involved in the English language quickly.

(McKay, 2002)

International communication is not about the native speaker ideal, but being able to communicate in English everywhere.

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  • Everyone should focus, both teachers and learners, on speaking English in such as way it can be understood and spoken worldwide.
  • The supposedly ‘native speaker ideal’ does not exist anymore, there are many accents even in Britain and the USA.
  • English communication has to be based on common guidelines and basic pronunciation rules, and allowing accents, which are simply part of the way people speak.


When we look at the syllabus for English in Sweden, we can already find the international perspectives in the introduction. Herewith it shows that English as an international language is very important in Swedish classrooms.

In the introduction the following is stated:

“The English language surrounds us in our daily lives and is used in such diverse areas as politics, education and economics. Knowledge of English thus increases the individual’s opportunities to participate in different social and cultural contexts, as well as in international studies and working life.” (skolverket.se, revised in 2018)

Since the Netherlands also is included in the expanded circle of English speaking countries schools in the Netherlands teach English. As of 1986 it is obligated to teach children English in the last two years of primary school (total of 8 years). Schools are free to have their own vision about English education and have freedom to choose how they include English in school. This means some schools offer English throughout all the years, sometimes two times a week. Others have integrated English in education on a daily basis. (SLO, 2017)

Intercultural Education

Interculturality is a social and political concept that expects that different cultures can exist alongside each other and can mutually influence each other, without disappearing completely. Important rule is that all parties involved respect democracy. Diversity is an important part of interculturality.

Interculturality does not accept limitation of fundamental human rights, even if native countries have other rules. Intolerance of someone’s sexuality, religion had no place in interculturality.

Since countries in Europe have a wide variety of cultures among their inhabitants and therefore also in the classrooms it is important to teach children about different cultures and traditions. If we look back at project-based learning, starting a project about different religions, like Islam, Christianity, Judaism, could be an idea to make pupils feel closer to interculturality. During a project like this you can make fieldtrips with the pupils or bring a guest into the classroom to tell about a specific culture. It is important to teach children to always be respectful when it comes to different cultures.

Assessing English in theory and practice

Dylan Wiliam says that there are 5 key strategies for assessing an assignment successfully. We, as teachers, should discuss the intention of learning with our pupils, we should be able to know what they already know, motivate the children by cooperative learning and let them know they are responsible for what they learn as well and last but not least, give feedback to the pupils about their learning outcomes.

I will now give a deeper insight about learning intentions and success criteria connected to an assessment. I chose these two subjects since they are related to each other.

For all children it is important to know why they need to learn, understand why they need to learn and at the end be able to do. The first 2 steps can’t be missed, children only learn if the subject is interesting for them. If I look back at my time in high school when I had to learn mathematics, I was trying to learn something without a purpose and this didn’t make me learn better.

If you start teaching a classroom without telling them the goal of the lesson in the beginning, they don’t know what is going to happen and they don’t know what they should be able to know or do at the end. During my practice days I got a lot of feedback about this from my mentor. He always tells me: “Start your lesson with telling the children what the goal is and how you are going to teach this to them.” If I start a lesson and tell my children after 5 minutes what the goal is, I already lost the attention of half of the children by that time.

Children need structure, they want to know what is going to happen and what they are up to. By giving children this information, they will get more confident. During the assessment for PBL we also had to make a rubric (a matrix for assessing an assignment success criteria) for the project. By not making this rubric by yourself, but discussing with the children what should be inside this rubric, you will get very excited children that really want to learn and become more successful. This because “effective success criteria” are linked to the learning intention(s). Success criteria should be discussed with the pupils and are being used as a basis for giving feedback to the children about their learning outcomes. (CEOF, 2013)

Catholic Education Office Melbourne says that when pupils identify with the success criteria they will be more focused on what they learn and that this gives them “ownership”.

In audio file track 02 we listen to the examination of year-5 pupils in English. In this examination they present themselves and talk with each other about multiple topics like: sports, clothes, movies, school, etc. They ask questions and give answers; the teacher uses this conversation to assess a pupil’s ability to speak English. I chose to assess the boy since I wasn’t able to hear some of the things that the girl said. During the assessment the children have to pick a card to decide the topic of what they are going to talk about.

The boy starts with presenting himself. He tells us his name, age (11 years old), where he’s from, that he has a sister and he tells us what his hobbies are. You can hear he is confident in what he’s saying. His answers are clear and I can hear him well.

I can hear the boy formulates good questions and his answers are made properly (“Yes, I have.” “No, I don’t”). Most of the time his answer comes in a whole sentence instead of just one word. He really knows how to express himself in English.


He does make some grammar mistakes. When he talks about his teacher he says: “When the teacher talk much” instead of “When the teacher talks…”. Besides this he makes some mistakes when saying the pronoun, he says “his” instead of “her”, another mistake is saying “she don’t” instead of “she doesn’t”.

At the end the boy has to tell us a few things of what the girl said during the conversation. Even though he was speaking in a different language and thinking about what he could ask and tell her, he also paid attention to what the girl was telling him. Besides this he has to switch from talking in his own perspective to the perspective of the girl. In this way we can also assess the pupil’s ability speak in the third person and this is related to grammar.

Overall, I hear the boy is very confident when he talks about himself. When he needs to talk in the third person, he needs more time to think and says “eh” more often. I can’t tell exactly what the reason of saying “eh” is, it’s possible that it’s difficult for him, but maybe he was trying to remember what the girl told him. Even though he makes some mistakes in his grammar, I understood everything he was saying. He is able to communicate in English when it comes to the topics of what was talked about during this conversation.

In the text I read about X favourite place in summer. There is a good structure in the text.

The writer starts with telling us where the place is and how they go there. Then he tells us what the house looks like and how many rooms it has. third, the writer tells us more about the area around the house, there is a sea and a swimming pool (bath). After, the writer tells about some activities they do, when they are at the summer place. At last, the writer mentions all the people that go the summer place and that they will bring their pets next time.

I understand exactly what the writer wants to tell us, but he makes mistakes when it comes to grammar, vocabulary and spelling words. Some examples are: fiveteen, bath, guneapigs, very many (tautology), hes parents, by our car, plock, it is its/I’ts, instead of it’s.


Throughout this course I’ve learned that teaching English is way more than just teaching children vocabulary and grammar. With teaching English, it is also important that we tell our pupils what English as an international language is and why it is really important to be able to speak this language. First of all, because we need the language to communicate with the world, but also to motivate the pupils in their learnings.

I started evaluating an English textbook for year 4 with Franzi and Claudia and realised that the book was wrong in many ways. There was one page that told us about EIL and the book showed us around in Canterbury, United Kingdom. Besides this, the children had to colour the British flag.

English is a great way to learn more about interculturality as well. By speaking English, we can communicate with the whole world and ask questions to a lot of people. What we learned about interculturality doesn’t just connect to speaking English in the classroom, but connects to all our time at school.

What I realised writing this portfolio is that a lot that we learned about taking assessments, was shown in our own lessons. During the materials evaluation, but also during the project-based learning lessons. We learn how to assess children in almost the same way we were being assessed.

I developed my skills as an English teacher and was actually able to have really interesting conversations with my classmates at home about this, since I developed a different view on teaching English.


  1. Ali Anthony Bell. 2016. Morocco World News. English as a Foreign Language – The “Native Speaker Ideal”. Retrieved from:
  2. https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2016/01/177404/english-as-a-foreign-language-the-native-speaker-ideal/
  3. Catholic Education Office Melbourne. 2013. Learning intentions and Succes Criteria. Retrieved from:
  4. https://cpb-ap-se2.wpmucdn.com/global2.vic.edu.au/dist/7/31021/files/2013/08/Corpus-Christi-LISC-July-2013-2dz21eo.pdf
  5. Dylan Wiliam. Clarifying, Sharing, and Understanding Learning Intentions and Success Criteria. Retrieved from:
  6. Dylan Wiliam Chaptr 3 Clarifying, Sharing, and Understanding Learning Intentions and Success Criteria.pdf
  7. McKay, S. (2002) Teaching English as an International Language. Oxford: OUP Oxford
  8. Skolverket. 2018. Curriculum for the compulsory school. Preschool class and school-age educare Revised 2018. Stockholm. Retrieved from: https://www.skolverket.se/sitevision/proxy/publikationer/svid12_5dfee44715d35a5cdfa2899/55935574/wtpub/ws/skolbok/wpubext/trycksak/Blob/pdf3984.pdf?k=3984
  9. SLO. 2017. Kerndoelen Engels. Retrieved from:
  10. http://mvt.slo.nl/thema-overzicht/engels-in-het-basisonderwijs
  11. Yvonne Leeman & Guuske Ledoux. 2013. Preparing teachers for intercultural education, teaching education. Retrieved from:
  12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1047621032000135186
Cite this page

What I’ve Learned About Teaching English. (2022, Apr 21). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/what-i-ve-learned-about-teaching-english-essay

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