How to Develop Your Teaching Skills as a Non-Native English Speaker


Hello, nice to see you. I'm waiting for people to join me and if you are joining please let me know if you hear and see me clearly. Hello everybody, nice to see you guys, thanks for joining. Don't be afraid to write down your comments. Is the sound and picture okay because I want to make sure that this stream goes smoothly? There are many people joining today, that's awesome. It means that today's live session is going to be interesting and will hopefully be useful to many people. Let me remind you of the name of the stream today. We're going to talk about how to develop teaching skills as a non-native English speaker.

If you are watching during the live session and don't have time to finish it with us, this video is being recorded so you will be able to watch the video when you need it. So let's start the session. Let me know where you guys are from. I have already got some comments in the comments box and I see that there are many people from different locations today, that's awesome. I am streaming from my comfortable home office in Yekaterinburg, Russia. It's quite cold today, but it's the middle of december so that is totally normal. Let me know where you guys are from and let me know what the weather's like today.

Okay, there are some comments from Tunisia, nice to see you guys. And people are joining from Egypt and Hong Kong, that's a beautiful city. I visited it once and I hope that I will be back one day. There are people from Russia as well, that's awesome, It's so pleasant to read it in Russian as well, thank you guys. Welcome from Algeria as well. So if you guys are ready to start let me come back to the point of today's presentation. Let me share my screen first and let me share today's topic. So today we are going to talk about teaching skills and the ways to develop our teaching skills as a non-native English speaker. It's a really tough question for many non-native English speakers, but it shouldn't bother you.

Let me introduce myself first. I haven't mentioned my name because I'm pretty nervous here. I have not had many chances to practice this stream so I feel a little bit nervous. My name is Liza and I am an ESL teacher and a TEFL and TESOL expert at ITTT. In today's session I'm going to tell you about teaching skills in general and I also want to share my personal experiences and maybe it will help you on your career path. Please let me know if you have any teaching experience or if you want to start teaching in the near future. So are you guys teachers yourself or are you about to change your career, let me know?

I also want to mention that today's session is provided by ITTT, International TEFL and TESOL Training and we are represented on various platforms. So if you are interested in any of the platforms, please join us and don't forget to like and subscribe as we share useful content daily.

So there are some comments from people who are just beginning teaching and that's really awesome. And there are also experienced people who are already teaching, that's really great to know that this video stream is important to various kinds of professionals. Let's go forward talking about the main topic of today. So the main problem in developing teaching skills is usually your background. Some people who want to start teaching have no educational background in the English teaching field, so how is it possible to start teaching? It's actually pretty simple, you have to work on your skills. And the first step is to take a TEFL course. This isn’t like a promo right now, it's obvious that as a person who doesn't have any background related to English teaching or even to English in general, you will need some basic skills to be able to deliver your first classes. And from my experience it's a great idea to take a TEFL course to get to know how to deliver lessons, how to plan lessons, and how to do it all from an academic perspective.

We suggest TEFL or TESOL certification as it's convenient, it provides modern methodologies, and it targets various groups of learners. There are many different certifications related to teaching, but not all of them target different types of students. There are young students, there are teenagers and adults, and they all have different goals in English learning. So as a teacher you need to make sure that you understand their needs and that you anticipate their possible problems. TEFL certification actually has all these points covered in the content so that's why I personally suggest you consider getting certified at the very beginning of your teaching career. Another reason why TEFL certification is important is that many employers around the world now require you to prove that you are a professional in this field. Basically, if you don't have any educational background related to teaching then you need to get at least this certification.

I can see the questions coming, I will answer them a little bit later during the Q&A session at the end of the main part of the presentation. Don't worry that I don't respond right now, just wait a little bit. I hope that you understand that and thanks for your attention. So the next point is how to develop your teaching abilities after the first part of your certification. Once you have got your primary teaching training it's a great idea to expand a little bit and here on this slide you can see several certificates that I have copied from my personal CV to show you how you can expand and work on your resume. So the thing is, don't stop developing after the primary training. You can be a teacher with a bachelor's degree for example, so it means that you have obtained some necessary skills at university, or you can be a TEFL certified teacher but it doesn't mean that you need to consider it as the only thing necessary. You need to also think about some further education and on this slide you can see several options.

So first of all after taking your primary TEFL certification you can for example consider taking some specialized courses. There are various specialized courses in teaching, it can be online teaching, teaching young learners, business english, exam preparation, and so on. Just think of your target students and try to anticipate their needs. If you want to work with young learners then maybe it's quite important to develop your teaching skills targeting young learners, particularly if you want to prepare students for some special exams. It's a great idea to take a specialized course and nowadays it's really important to be as flexible as possible. There are courses offering online teaching development as well and it's quite easy to find a course like that and to work on your self development.

My recommendation from a non-native English speaker point of view is to make sure that you work on your English as well. Sometimes we tend to overestimate our skills in speaking and writing, especially at the advanced levels of English. We need to stomach the idea that we are not English native speakers and we still have to practice. My personal suggestion is to pass IELTS or any other certification related to your language level. For example, last year I passed IELTS and I scored C-1 and realized that I have so many areas to work on. It was not just about me and my self-estimate, but it was also for the sake of teaching better and for the sake of understanding the language better. I believe that IELTS or other examinations like that can be just as beneficial as working on teaching skills. So let me know if you guys have taken IELTS or maybe Cambridge exams and what you think about language tests. I'm really curious because it's a really controversial question among English teachers. I've met many people who teach English and don't think they need to get a language test. Some people even argue that those kinds of certifications are not necessary at all. What do you guys think?

As for some other ways to develop your teaching skills. The easiest one is probably to start teaching asap. For example, if you are not sure about your teaching yet, consider volunteer teaching. Maybe find some students around your friends or maybe around your family members and offer teaching for free or for some small donation, it can actually help you to understand if it's your cup of tea or if you still need some more time to train. As for me, volunteer teaching helped me to start teaching online smoothly because I had no idea how to do that. Last year I just offered my friend to try to learn English online and it helped me as a teacher to build this understanding of how to structure the work online and how to deliver appropriate content and things like that. It’s really beneficial to work for free sometimes, but it doesn't mean that you have to do that for a long time. Try it out and figure out if it's for you.

Another interesting idea is to take a massive online course, if you know what that is. There are many providers like Future Learn, for example, who offer courses for free or for some fee. You can take a course in any field you are interested in at your own pace. I personally took a course in teaching English in early childhood and it was really interesting and very informative. I paid around $50 for the certificate delivery. I am also working on my teaching skills related to the youngest students as parents are usually concerned if their children's teachers are professionals and have some special abilities. So make sure that you work on your skills from different perspectives.

I suppose that is all for the main part of the presentation. Right now I'm going to share the 30% discount because today we have a special offer just for you guys. I'm about to send the link that will give you a 30% discount on any TEFL or TESOL course with ITTT. I am also going to check up on your comments and answer some of your questions, so if you want to know anything about English teaching career development or TEFL certification please write down your comments and I will try my best to answer you. There are some comments right now.

Is this training very expensive? And how can the poorest people pay?

That's a great question to ask. TEFL certification is quite affordable because there are different options for various groups of people. The main certification is the 120-hours course and it doesn't cost a fortune, so make sure you use the link that I have just shared with you. There are many different options, but it is affordable. You can take a TEFL certification online and work at your own pace or you can choose an in-class course or a combined course. In-class and combined course options are a little bit more expensive than the online certifications, but you don't need to be afraid of online TEFL certification because it consists of the same content as in-class certifications. The only exception is with practical teaching practice. A little bit later I will share the contexts, actually let me do that right now. So our main website is and if you use this link it is actually almost the same way to get to the website but this link contains the 30% discount to all courses.

Okay, here is a really long question, let me read it. It's hard for us to work as an English educator even in neighboring Asian countries even though we're graduates with an English language degree and a TEFL certificate just because we are not native English speakers. Because other countries prefer native English speakers and it's quite unfair.

Yes, I totally agree with this comment, sometimes it is difficult to prove that you are eligible to teach as a non-native speaker, but it shouldn't stop you doing what you really want. If you want to teach then consider teaching online, there are more options now due to recent events and there are more and more opportunities to teach online daily. It’s probably also a great idea to try different locations, to contact different employers, because not every employer is like that. Yes there are many uneducated people who state their mind this way, like we prefer native speakers, we prefer white people only and whatever but it shouldn't stop you. Just make sure that you work on yourself and you have a proactive mindset.

I'm a native speaker from the UK, I have a degree in English and history and another in psychology. I've just finished a 170-hour TEFL course with online specialization, what is the next best move?

I suppose that the best move being a certified teacher is to start looking for job opportunities and to start looking for practice. Today the best option is probably to start online teaching. You can also consider online training that is devoted to developing online teaching skills and working remotely. At ITTT we have this option, this year we have developed a special course in online teaching where we provide students with the skills necessary for teaching distantly and promoting yourself on the internet. So you can also consider how to start teaching online this way and make sure that if you apply for any courses you use this link that I have already shared.

Okay, the next question. I'm really interested in the massive online courses but I'm afraid that employers may not take them seriously. Is there a way to prove their legitimacy?

That's a good question, thank you. It’s quite tricky I suppose. So all massive online courses have different options, you can be just an observer or you can get certified at the end if you pay some fee. And you have to consider who is providing the course, for example, when I obtained a course in teaching English to the youngest learners the course was provided by the British Council and that organization is well known and reliable. So I suppose that if you show the certificate stating that it was provided by the British Council or Cambridge University it doesn't matter if it was taken online or in a real classroom. I can't show you the certificate right now but I am sure that they also provide a special statement which shows that the course was accredited or something like that. It is also worth asking if they provide a hard copy certificate upon successful completion.

Thank you guys for joining and thank you for asking your questions. If you want to know anything else about teaching English as a non-native speaker or if you want to know more about TEFL and TESOL certification, please let me know and I will try my best to answer. There are many people from various locations today and I am really glad to communicate with you and I'm glad to share my personal experience. I'm also really interested to know about you guys, so if you have already taken a TEFL course or if you have already taken maybe academic education, let me know. I also want to remind you that today we have a limited time offer with this special link. Save it please and make sure that when you decide to apply for a TEFL course you use this link, it will give you a 30% discount on any TEFL course from ITTT.

We have another question here. What are the biggest obstacles you've come across while searching for a teaching job with a TEFL certificate?

The most challenging thing for me was my origin. Unfortunately there are still many employers who are quite ignorant and I had to prove that I was not just a teacher from Russia, but I was a professional English teacher and it didn't mean that if I'm from Russia I am bad or I’m not professional. It is still a problem but I think these boundaries are now lessening because we get this opportunity to work online and online teaching is much more diverse. It's much more flexible and people choose the person first of all and then they choose a teacher. Let me know if I answered your question and also what you think is the best method when applying for teaching jobs.

Basically I got the same training that I'm talking about today. I took a 120-hour TEFL course and the main methodology suggested there was ESA: Engage, Study, Activate. In my opinion this is the best methodology as it is really easy to apply and it's flexible to use in real classrooms and online classrooms. If you understand how to adjust your teaching style then this methodology will be really beneficial and easy to follow. But there are other approaches to teaching and they just depend on your personal feelings and on your personal understanding of teaching in general. Some people for example still like to deliver classes using a grammar translation methodology which is quite old-fashioned, but with some students it still works. If you like the look of a methodology, try to implement it in your teaching and it will be totally normal because your students are not teachers and they have no idea how you get prepared and so on.

One more question. Do you also provide support to people who got their TEFL certificate from another company?

I would suggest you contact our managers on the messenger app and they will try their best to guide you in this question. If you need any specific instructions for example concerning jobs or maybe further training please contact us directly.

Okay, if there are no further questions let's finish today's session. I want to remind you guys that we are represented on various social networks and if you are interested in different teaching content and you want to get updates on TEFL training and certification make sure that you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. I hope to see you next time and I hope that this session was informative and useful and maybe it will help you to make your best decision to start working on your teaching skills as soon as possible.

Actually, we have a couple more questions. Would you recommend getting the Diploma in TESOL?

For those of you who already have a TEFL certificate, yes I would recommend it. If you have already obtained the basic training it's a great idea to dig deeper and expand the TEFL certification that you have already got. The Diploma in TESOL can be a great option, but if you need a little bit more guidance on that please make sure that you contact us and our manager will try his or her best to assist you.

What can I do if I can't catch up with the level of a native English speaker? In my case it is a listening problem.

The easiest answer is on the surface you have to keep practicing. I have mentioned earlier that we as non-native speakers have to work on our English abilities as much as it is possible. Even if we are at an advanced level we must try our best to get as much extensive listening as possible. My suggestion here is to choose your favorite TV show and just keep watching it, keep listening to it as much as possible, that's a good way to work out your problems. If you know that you have a problem you need to strive to develop your skills in this area, so if you have a listening skills problem work on your listening. If you are unaware about your speaking skills then try to speak as much as possible. There are many opportunities today because technology can help us to get closer to each other, so if you want to practice your English skills maybe it's a great idea to find a speaking body or even an English teacher who will make sure that you get a lot of extensive speaking practice.

If you guys don't have any other questions that is all for today. I hope to see you soon. I will have another live stream next week on Tuesday and if you are interested in any special topics let me know in the comments on our group or here and I will try my best to plan the next stream according to your needs. Please don't forget that we are offering a 30% discount today, the link is a little bit further down in the comment box. Copy it and save it and if you have already decided to take a TEFL course rush into this opportunity as soon as possible.

Okay guys so that is all for today and I will see you next time hopefully.

Bye, bye and have a great week

Register now & get certified to teach english abroad!