iTTi South Africa Interview

Amber Ryne iTTi South AFrica TESOL TEFL

iTTi South Africa, CEO


Cape Town, South Africa

Amber Ryne

“…people thanked me for being an inspiration and giving them an experience that has changed their lives forever…”

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To be honest, this career chose me. I didn’t foresee myself becoming a teacher, but knew I would always follow a path in communications and business. After teaching abroad for some time and accumulating great understanding and experience physically teaching English, I recognized the role in which I would want to play within this industry. I decided I want to involve myself more in the process and training of excellent teachers that can represent the iTTi standard of Education world wide. I am interested in the evolution of education and would like to be a part of its direction.
I truly believe that a great teacher is defined by specific traits and characteristics or you could say PERSONALITY. Because a teacher needs to be able to have an extreme level understanding for every individual in the room. So, in motivating someone to become a teacher, I simply highlight the ‘teacher qualities’ the person has and help them envision themselves in this role. I try to break down any specific stereotypes people THINK a teacher should be and show them that great teachers come from being themselves, unique and relatable. I help my prospective teachers to understand where they would fit into the market as a teacher and instill confidence in their abilities. I also share personal stories, as this makes prospective teachers feel more acquainted to me and feel they can trust my word. 1. Breakdown doubt in their mind. 2. Replace it with confidence and excitement!
Wow, where to begin! Well, after every 4 week TEFL Course, I would need to say goodbye to my class that had shared so much time and personal experiences together. We became so much more than a course. I always remember how shy and reserved everyone is on the first day compared to the tears that are shed on the last day. The main reason this resonates with me is because at the end of the course, these people thanked me for being an inspiration and giving them an experience that has changed their lives forever. The impact you make on lives is what you will remember for life.
I was taught about a variety of different teaching methodologies and approaches that could be adapted and used when teaching, focusing primarily on the Direct Method with the Engage, Study, Activate approach. I belive that all methodologies hold some value and importance. They can all make a great impact depending on HOW they are implemented within the class. I think the Direct Method is the most effective with regards to teaching English, as it allows autonomys learning – which I believe means learning for life. This method doesn’t allow the student to depend on Grammar Translation or spoonfeeding. They are encouraged to practice and participate in the target language. I believe this is more beneficial than translation strategies, but do not believe it is the only methodology teachers should apply. We cannot limit ourself to one method as teachers.
I utilize many different methodogies and approaches! I teach my English learners using the fundamentals of the Direct Method as my base and I adapt and personalize my approaches based on my learners goals, interests and abilities. My methods are effective, as they encourage the learner to stay engaged and participate. My method encourages the learner to think and apply themselves in the class and challenge themselves. I feel that the direct method also helps limit bad behavior in the class, as the student is aware that they are expected to communicate in English and not their L1.
My teaching style is exactly what the student in front of me requires. Therefore, I would say my style is extremely adaptive. I don’t believe that I maintain one specific teaching style. Every student requires something different from me, in which I need to meet with their personality, English proficiency and abilities. I mostly try maintain a fun, encouraging and caring style of teaching. I understand that it is intimidating learning a second language, so teachers therefore need to be patient and encouraging. But, I find that incorporating a more enjoyable and comfortable environment helps my students to open up and feel confident to communicate with me. My style becomes more outgoing and engaging when teaching younger learners and obviously differs when teaching older students. I believe in evaluation and progress and being extremely rewarding in their progress. I adapt my teaching style according to how I see my students progressing. Just to end this question off, I believe that if you as a teacher believe you have 1 style of teaching, you will never allow yourself to grow and become stronger as a teacher. There is no one perfect methodology or style of teaching. A teacher needs to be adaptable to all styles and methods. Teachers need to keep their minds open to change, new methods, experimenting with teaching styles etc. Evolve, adapt, grow.
I am a loud and visual learner. Reading and speaking out loud to myself while learning works great for me. I enjoy using visual stimuli, so that my learning is long lasting. Videos, images and color help me to feel more exited and make the process easier to relate to.
It can be challenging to rectify bad speaking habits that the student has already formed. Once errors are ingrained into the students speaking pattern, it is very hard to remove that habit from the learner. As an English teacher, you will teach students who have been taught by previous English teachers and held different standard or methods to what you do. If the learner hasn’t been corrected, these errors could be ingrained for life.
I feel that this is a very broad question, as different ages struggle with different things in their learning process. Young learners struggle to maintain engaged, due to their shorter attention spans. Teenagers encounter a phase in their lives where they lack self confidence and find it hard to speak comfortably to teachers. Adults reach a learning plateau in which they feel they know enough of the language and almost reach a learning barrier that can be difficult to overcome. I find that after so much experience in teaching, I no longer encounter massive struggles in my teaching, but understand now when I need to change my style and method until it suits well with the student at hand. Getting very young learners to speak in full sentences by themselves can also be challenging at times.
Online teaching: laptop, headset, Webcam and teaching platform. In class: TV/projector, laptop, internet
A teacher that realizes we are living in the 21st century. Everything is evolving and everything is constantly being improved, new strategies, new technologies, new approaches. . A 21st century teacher needs to be open to all of this and be eager to evolve with the time. Teachers can no longer expect one method to fit all in the 21st century and need to acknowledge that every student is their own individual and has differences. 21st century teachers need to be brave and ready for massive change within this industry.
I feel that 21st century students are eager to learn and know it all, but don’t enjoy the process and journey. They are very impatient and almost want to attain all the knowledge without putting in the hard work. A 21st century student focuses on working smarter and not longer/harder.
I see A.I infiltrating the market and creating opportunities for both teachers and learners. The impact of this intelligence has the power to refine and take education to the next level. This is such a vast subject and I am sure there are many avenues that we could find pros and cons. Overall, I see the benifits exceeding the cons. For example, AI having the power to match a student with their perfect teacher, by analyzing both the teacher and student and coupling the perfect matches based on the student needs and teacher strengths. Even going as far as matching students and teachers with the same interests so that it is easier to relate with one another. This intelligence will enhance learning like never before.

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