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How and When Should a TEFL Teacher Adjust Their Teaching Style?

How and When Should a TEFL Teacher Adjust Their Teaching Style? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

English is one of the most common languages in the world. Knowing English can help people communicate with others from different countries and seek opportunities to have a better job or life. English can bring benefits to everyone, no matter how old they are. Therefore, English is becoming essential in many areas and more people, from kids to adults, are learning it as a second language. To help people learn English effectively, teachers play a significant role in their learning progress. There are many types of students and depending on their needs, ages, and personalities, teachers must learn how to adjust their teaching styles accordingly.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Ngoc S.

Different Reasons For Learning English

Some people learn English so they can talk to others while traveling, while others learn English so they can study or work abroad. Each individual situation requires a different strategy for learning English. At the start of the course or semester, teachers should identify their students’ requirements and use appropriate teaching techniques. For example, if a student wants to learn English because he or she is going on a vacation to America, teachers should focus on speaking more. They can teach students how to ask for directions, order food, or check in and out of hotels, by role-playing, listening to real conversations, or watching videos.

On the other hand, if a student wants to learn English so he or she can take an exam such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), teachers should offer their student academic materials that are related to the test to help them prepare better. Teachers should also focus on vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation by providing worksheets or assigning homework. Besides the requirements of learning English, age may also affect a teacher’s teaching style.

Also read: Why You Should Take Specialized TEFL Courses

Different Age Groups - Children

Students can be kids, teenagers, or adults. Each different age group requires a different teaching style. Motivation and repetition are important for young learners. Their English may be limited, and they may use their native languages when they do not understand, so teachers should provide clear and simple instructions. The biggest problem for teaching children is they are distracted easily. Teachers should be willing to make fun of themselves, show them pictures, play songs, etc. to keep their attention.

In contrast, teaching teenagers does not require a lot of energy, movement, or props like teaching children. However, motivation and clear explanations are significant. Although they often know English more than young learners, not all of them are eager to participate in classroom activities. Some students may use their phones to text or surf Facebook. Others may forget their coursebooks and refuse to do tasks. Teachers should have strong classroom management skills to solve these problems. In addition, teachers should build rapport with their students and find out what they are interested in. One helpful tip for teaching teenagers is teachers should also be their friends. Consequently, they can share things with their teachers and feel more comfortable in class.

Also read: 10 Tips When Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Children

Different Age Groups - Adults

Teaching adults is different from teaching children and teenagers. Therefore, teachers should adjust their teaching styles. The most important step of teaching English to adults is to identify their needs, so teachers can find topics that are related to their interests. One of the biggest problems is often students’ energy levels. Adults usually come to English classes after working all day, so teachers may make the material straight forward without fluff.

Teachers should not make fun of themselves to entertain their students as you might with young learners. Teachers can motivate them and make their classes interesting by using appropriate and educational games. Students who are similar ages usually are in the same classroom. Depending on their personalities, they can behave differently. Hence, teachers should adjust their teaching styles properly. The way they teach a good student cannot be the same as a bad student.

Also read: The 5 Best TEFL Games for Adult Students

Student Difficulties

Students can sometimes be reluctant, hyperactive, or even disrespectful. Each type of student requires different teaching styles. Reluctant students do not sometimes want to talk to other students or participate in class. Teachers should use a lot of pair work or role play to encourage them to speak. Reluctant students usually need more time to answer questions or complete tasks, so the teaching style should be fast, in this case, to develop students’ skills. For example, a student knows vocabulary and pronunciation well, but she reads very slowly. To enhance her reading skill, the teacher can time her when she is reading.

For hyperactive students who usually ask a lot of questions or like to move around, teachers should lower their voice to calm them down. Therefore, teaching styles should be slower in this case. In addition, teachers can pair hyperactive with reluctant students because they can support each other. When dealing with disrespectful students, teachers should remain calm and use understandable vocabulary to communicate with them to find out the reasons why they misbehave in class.

Also read: The 5 Most Common Types of EFL Students and How to Deal with Them

Are you ready to teach English Abroad?

Teachers have a lot of roles in the classroom and it is important to adjust your teaching style to maximize student output. A successful ESL teacher can inspire students to use English and show them how beautiful the language is. This is a meaningful job because an English teacher can help people to have a better life, education, or career. Most importantly a teacher needs to be fluid, attentive, patient, and above all else caring.

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