My Experience Taking a TEFL Course with ITTT
The course was informative and comprehensive. Since I had a good grasp of the language, initially I thought I would go to the classroom and teach. But after deep pondering, questions crept up in my mind: What if I run out of ideas in the middle of the class? What if my students are not motivated? What if the lessons I provide are not effective? There is so much more to teaching. The list of my apprehensions went on, and that was when I decided to enroll in a course. After doing some research, I found ITTT with its internationally recognized TEFL/TESOL program.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Shalia M.
As a new teacher the course gave me the confidence that I needed to be effective. The introductory units dealt with the teachers’ behavior and the roles they play in keeping a lesson engaging and interesting to keep students motivated. The next chapter provided different methodologies that are being used in teaching and why ESA methodology, taking a little of all methodologies, is best suited for the purpose of teaching a new language. Classroom management the third unit discussed about how classroom arrangement and the effective use of voice and mannerism can be used to establish better rapport with students. The next unit discussed ESA further with Straight Arrow, Boomerang and Patchwork methods to suit different needs of students at different levels.
I consider ‘The Lesson Plan’ the meat and potatoes of the course and was aptly placed in the middle of the units. However, the chapter was too short. I was expecting to see an example of how a course material is transformed into a lesson plan. The opportunity of doing so presented itself in the task lists. Doing the tasks and taking support from the tutors proved very useful as it gave me the guidance that I required. In the lesson plan I found the timings set for each activity to be crucial and my initial concern regarding time gradually disappeared. Moreover, most of the chapters following unit 5 had at least one task where I was asked to create a lesson plan provided me with good practice.
At the start, I found the video lesson confusing as the same teacher was used for both the lessons. Similarly as there were no close up shots of the teacher the facial changes were not that apparent. However, after taking the quiz and watching the video several times significant differences could be noticed. The second video showed how the teacher’s mannerism, engagement in different phases, voice modulation evoked much more active response from the students. The teacher’s elicitation techniques, playing of games and actually being a participant created a relaxed atmosphere in the classroom. It also gave me ideas such as using pictures and videos to make it more interactive.
Receptive and productive skills
Chapters on enhancing the Receptive and Productive skills were very interesting as I was able to generate plenty of ideas on how make a lesson enjoyable. However, enhancing the productive skills of students especially, those who are beginners or at the elementary level would mean lots of careful planning and preparation time for the instructor. Accuracy would require a lengthy grammar and vocabulary lessons in the study phase and fluency would require lots of controlled practices if the students are to engage in creative activities in the Activate phase.
With regards to course books, at first I thought I would not be using any course book and I would plan the lessons and download content from the internet. After reading unit 9, I’m convinced I need course books. The advantages of using course books such as; they are an expectation of the students, graded for the level, balanced mix of grammar, vocabulary and skills work, tried and tested course syllabus, were some of the major reasons of such a decision. But to my dismay, I could not find any books in the local market that used the ESA methodology. After watching the video lesson I decided to get the ‘New Total English’ series. I could only get a glance of the material, but I am well aware that I need to adapt the course material with lots of research and creativity.
After all the preparation of the course, motivating students and imparting knowledge how do I assess the progress of my students? These were answered in the final unit of the course. Evaluation and testing are not only important for students but also for the teacher. Motivation levels of both the teacher and students are at stake: for the teacher how effective his or her teachings are and for the students to assess how much they have accomplished. Future lessons can be developed based on the tests given. I believe it is imperative to have a placement test when a student enrolls in an institution to assess the language level the student is at. Without one the student might find the coursework too easy or too hard. A periodic ‘Progress Test’ needs to be given to gauge whether students remember what they have learned and what they are having problems with. The tests will be balanced consisting of writing, reading, speaking, listening, grammar and vocabulary materials. Finally, for my self-satisfaction and gaining knowledge about their difficulties, the course will be evaluated by the students as well.
To summarize, I found the units rich in content for generating ideas. Elicitations and games would motivate students and get them to interact and be more involved in lessons. One thing I am quite certain is that the task list is crucial to the course. Without completing the task list, it would be quite impossible to do well in it. The video lessons are precise and provide good review of the main points presented in the written material. The course will be an invaluable resource for my future lesson preparation. All in all, I congratulate ITTT for doing such an excellent job on providing such an all-inclusive course on TEFL/TESOL program.
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