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Managing a Class as a Foreign EFL Teacher

Managing a Class as a Foreign EFL Teacher | ITTT | TEFL Blog

When it comes to managing a class, a teacher must be prepared to face many different challenges. This can be especially true for a teacher in classrooms abroad. In addition to teaching a subject, a foreign teacher may also have to worry about the cultural or social norms of a country they may be unaccustomed to, and other problems might arise from language barriers. An EFL teacher can better manage a classroom if they prepare for these in advance, and utilize the appropriate behaviors and routines while running the classroom.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate David H. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

The Importance of Planning Classes

Many challenges that arise in a classroom can be managed easier with effective planning. In an EFL class, a foreign teacher might want to give extra consideration to how cultural norms are used in the schools and classrooms, and how difficulties might arise in English from the native language. EFL classrooms won't run the same in every culture, so understanding your role as an EFL teacher and the school’s expectations of you is important to success in the classroom. With this in mind, it is important to effectively plan lessons to meet these challenges. For example, some languages may not use certain sounds in the English language, so it may be hard for speakers of these languages to learn how to pronounce certain sounds. Preparing for this in advance can help a teacher keep the class focused on learning and engaged in the lesson.

teacher in front of the class

Also Read: What is the Teach and Learn with Georgia Program for teaching English in Georgia?

Setting up Goals

Classroom expectations can be an effective way to establish how a class runs, and understanding how they should be modified to meet the needs of an EFL classroom can be an effective tool for classroom management. By giving the students clear and concise expectations, you can give them the tools they need to be successful in the classroom, and these can be made more effective with a level of understanding of what the student's expectations and cultural norms are. Some things to consider would be class volume, the resources the students bring to class, or how discipline is addressed. Understanding how the culture or the school handles these situations can help a teacher better prepare the students to have the tools they need to succeed in their classrooms.

Also Read: Who will my students be when teaching English abroad?

Cultural Habits

While running a class, it can also be easier to keep the students engaged and focused on the course work if an EFL teacher is aware of social norms that the students are used to in a classroom setting.

Since different countries often have different classroom norms, an EFL teacher might want to consider how that can affect the learning environment. What kind of gestures are used in the classroom is one example of this. As the teacher is running the class, what kinds of gestures the teachers use, how the teacher uses volume or emphasis, and what role the teacher has as part of the class are all examples of things to consider. These can also determine what kinds of activities an EFL teacher can run in the classroom as it might not be expected that a class follows certain activities that an EFL teacher somewhere else may use. Using techniques that are familiar to the students already can help both the student and the teacher more easily adjust to the class.

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Understanding how cultural norms and how foreign languages can change the course are important for an EFL teacher to consider when managing a classroom. Knowing them in advance allows a teacher to better prepare for overcoming learning difficulties and keep students engaged, helps establish strong classroom expectations to give students the tools they need to succeed and allows a teacher to better run the class familiarly so that students can better adjust to the learning environment. Preparing a foreign teacher for an EFL course can help allow them to be better classroom managers, and build a stronger environment for students to succeed in an EFL course.

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