Focus on Students: The Best Thing I learned from the TEFL Course
When I started this course, I was seeking a TEFL certificate as well as some tips for being a teacher. What I learned along the way is that to be a good teacher, your focus must be on your students. Of course, a teacher needs to have a certain set of skills to be able to teach, however, those skills in themselves will never make you a good teacher. This course taught me that a teacher needs to be less focused on themselves and more focused on the needs of their students.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Brandon B. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
From their very first lesson, a teacher needs to be establishing rapport with their students. A smile and a kind, patient attitude are great starting points. From there, teachers need to be genuinely concerned with the needs, wants, and interests of their students. Taking the time to ask students what their motivations are and what they care about is essential. Once a teacher knows their students, they can design their lessons in a way that engages their students and keeps them motivated. Grammar and vocabulary can be woven into topics that are relevant to the students thus making difficult topics more achievable.
Students’ language ability must be assessed accurately from the beginning and monitored closely throughout the course. A clear understanding of the students’ starting point allows the teacher to best meet the students where they are with content that will challenge but not overwhelm them. As the course goes on it is imperative to gauge how well the students are acquiring and retaining the content of the lessons. The teacher needs to be ready to adapt if the students are not progressing as planned.
Understanding Learning Difficulties
Several different factors can cause learning difficulties for a student. They may be reluctant to participate because they are shy or lacking confidence. They may be bored and have lost interest in the lessons. They may be struggling with the pace of the lessons and feel unable to catch up. It’s also possible that they have issues outside the classroom that are affecting their performance. Whatever the cause, a good teacher must be able to recognize a student who is struggling and look for solutions. Some issues are not within the control of the teacher, but a teacher should try and do everything in their power to help students succeed.
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Track of Progress
Making students aware of their progress and praising them for their achievements is one of the most important roles of a teacher. Learning English is an incredibly long and difficult journey. A teacher that comes alongside their students and cheers for them can be an incredible asset for any learner. Teachers can do this by giving ongoing feedback to their students. It is important to focus on what students are doing well and where they have improved. Areas that need improvement are not to be overlooked but must be brought to the students’ attention encouragingly with strategies for success. Correction must be done at the appropriate time and in an appropriate manner so that students feel free to explore using English and are not afraid to make mistakes.
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A successful teacher will always be focused on the success of their students. They need to be an advocate, a mentor, and friend. They must create an environment that is safe, welcoming and conducive to learning. A teacher will be measured by their students’ success.
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