An Overview of The Many Teaching Skills in The Classroom
Teaching skills can be summarized in four key concepts: communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.
Of course, when describing these skills we aren’t just talking about teaching English but these skills can be used to prepare students in order to be able to express and communicate themselves independently and with groups in a globalized world as well as being capable to be adaptive, flexible and think creatively.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jorge P. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What do English teachers teach?
This might go beyond the basics of the English language classroom but teachers are not just teaching a language or a subject but the base to the student’s future. Practically no matter the industry students will work on in future they will need and use English to learn, to communicate, to sell, to buy, to train, to present, etc. At the beginning of the course, we have touched the motivation of students, for instance: future career prospects. From observation and experience over 20 years in 5 different countries, I believe it is not just future career prospects but the base to communicate in a global world. In order words, without proper skills, the chances are that your career prospects will be much narrower or much more difficult to do so.
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Role of the teacher
Therefore as we also visited during the course the role of the teacher is very important with special attention to being an Organizer and Model. Students, as well as employees in a company, need the presence of a leader. Someone that knows the skills, is self-organized and be able to well organize to pass on those skills onto his/her students. A strong teacher becomes that leader and will be seen by students as a model to follow that combined with the right motivation classes may be very productive and fulfilling.
The first question that arises is how to deliver a good class. Jeremy Harmer’s ESA method provides the most effective and most logical methodology for new teachers to learn and apply in the classroom. Engage-Study-Activate, ESA. With this method the teacher will first engage the students’ interest with games, music, stories, etc., basically to warm up the class by speaking English as much as possible. Teachers and students do not pay too much attention to mistakes, just to get themselves engaged in the class. It will be followed by a study activity where students will focus on the language and how it is constructed. In here the teacher takes control of the class and students will learn a topic followed by some exercises to check their understanding and reinforce the material, the main purpose is the accuracy of the language and grammar. The last stage of the class will be to activate what has been learned by using language learning as much as possible. Here we will focus on fluency and whatever activity used students need to communicate with no restrictions on language usage. There are of course variations to this method for instance boomerang or patchwork ESA lessons.
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Accuracy and Fluency
This brings up an interesting topic, the difference between accuracy and fluency. During a class we use different activities, some are concentrated on producing correct language and others are concentrated on allowing students to experiment and be creative with the language. Both are equally important and both will come in the lesson in different stages. We will find both also when teaching receptive skills, reading and listening, and productive skills, speaking and writing.
Following ESA methodology we will find more fluency activities in the engagement and activation parts whereas study part will be more focused on accuracy.
Every student will have natural abilities, some have amazing speaking abilities and listening skills and some are excellent at reading and writing. We will always find both types of students in the class so it is important to we cover all skills equally. It is true that majority of classes are focused on speaking and listening whereas writing might be the most neglected skill and we see that in the professional world regardless the industry many people are not able to write proper emails or notes causing confusions and misunderstandings. The new generations are moving to a message-based communication, emails, text, short message, etc. so writing skills must be covered during the course, inside or outside the class, as well as all the other productive or receptive skills.
The 4 Basic Concepts of Teaching Skills
Coming back to the four concepts of teaching skills, communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, here are some additional notes that I believe may be helpful for teachers as well as students during a class.
Teachers with good communication skills help students feel at ease in their environment. Teachers who are able to use both verbal and non-verbal communication help students understand what is expected of them and help build their confidence in learning.
Well-rounded assessments involve providing different types of projects and tests so that each student is able to apply critical thinking and evaluate their progression.
Classroom management helps create a place where students collaborate and learn. It involves knowing the students well and placing them into appropriate learning groups. It also involves having an efficient discipline plan in place that student understand. This gives a clear picture of the teacher's expectations.
Last but not least professional development challenges teachers to be creative and think outside the box when it comes to instruction and classroom management.
Also Read: Teaching English Vocabulary to Young Learners
Are you ready to implement your teaching skills in an ESL classroom?
Education is constantly evolving. Teachers who commit to the art of teaching find a more rewarding teaching experience and develop new teaching skills in the classroom.
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