In chapter six of the skillful teacher, Brookfield (2006) indicated the importance of using a mixture of teaching and communication approaches with our students. He said that lectures should advocate at least three different approaches or modalities. We can accomplish this by introducing a variety of visual aids, guest speakers, web broadcasts etc.
Teaching technical programs to ESL students in the Middle East requires flexibility, patience and creativity in the classroom. Many of my student have a hard time staying focused during a (required) four hour lesson. First of all they culturally have a difficult time keeping still and away from their phones, secondly listening to me lecture for that amount of time mentally mind boggling. The “fix” to this problem is to use different communication approaches during the lesson.
A few weeks ago, I spent a couple of days reviewing all the components that makes up an instrument air system. In order to achieve this, I broke down each component separately and came up with different ways for my students to learn. E.g.; Filters are a component of an instrument air systems. To maximize their learning I started off with a lecture to ensure they understood basic filter fundamentals. Next they watched a YouTube clip where they learned about filter installation. Then I took them to a workshop where we dismantled a filter together. By coming up with these different approaches I was able to speed up their learning, make the class more interesting, and maintain their interest level.