My Unexpected Discovery in TEFL Teaching
Teaching, Just like any other profession, is one of the most proficient professions in the world. It requires special skills, maturity, empathy, passion and most of all knowledge and learning personality. Imparting knowledge is beautiful, but how to impart an individual is very important, since the person, must turn out to be productive and successful.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Joseph B. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Value of Additional Education
My communicative personality and my knowledge in psychology and Linguistics make teaching a little more comprehensible. Over the years, I have taught various kinds of subject aside English Language and various Students and I found them all interesting due to culture, systems, approach, student’s personality, etc.
English Teaching is a field I undertook due to my love for students and the language. I have gone on to undertake some volunteer in assisting non-natives to learn or improve their language. I have taught the English Language in my home country and abroad and I found a great disparity among them. On this note, I would like to discuss my experience based on the differences in Students, Methodology, culture, various challenges and how it influences students studies.
What is TEFL itself?
First of all, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a complicated process because it comprises a number of elements where the absence or the weakness of anyone would affect the whole process. Al-Akhdar (2001: 1) says in this context: The success of a course of English as an FL depends on several factors; the methodology, the students, the teacher, and environment, etc.
I had difficulty understanding the whole approach in assisting students to learn the language in my earlier stages as a foreign teacher because it was quite different.
In EFL class there should be a proper methodology in place which has to be followed by good organization. The nature of activities and games students use in class should be more engaging and requires a great deal of organization in other for the students to understand the process of playing the game or participating in an activity. It took me a couple of experiences and consistent learning to understand this whole process. Unlike the natives where students live the language so games and activities are simplified in nature and explaining the processes involve are easier.
Also Read: How To Write The Perfect ESL Lesson Plan
Characteristics of the EFL students
Again, EFL students mostly depend on the teacher; thus with my experience. Students normally wait on instructions. In these classes, the student gets demotivated if they can’t comprehend what is being passed on by the teacher. I can say there are basically two types of EFL students, the practical student, and the engaged student. The former is active and does a further activity to improve on him or herself while the latter wait to draw or be engrossed by the teacher’s knowledge. The native students could possibly read, write, and understand. They mostly don’t depend on the teacher since they do further research on what is being taught or will be taught.
Also, the teacher in question in an EFL class requires proper training and an organized personality. The fundamental is this, Students don’t understand you, let’s say that’s the basics, the teacher must try to make them understand by initiating some necessary skills and activities before they can learn because without them understanding, the class becomes like any other communicative forum, unlike in the native country where students can consult other people or resources regularly.
As an EFL teacher, you need a very organized personality as to how you will carry out your activities for the students to understand.
Moreover, the institution and Learning environment also has a lot to say in the student’s ability to learn the language. Especially in the case of young learners, the institution must create spacious classrooms with educative information, for example, pictures. This enhances an appropriate learning atmosphere for the students.
My Unexpected Discovery
The most surprising thing I have learned in the class is that students need motivation and discipline. EFL students are very shy and lack the confidence to speak. I would say to some extent this has got to do with culture and the students’ personality. As a teacher I had to keep motivating them, sometimes I take them out to have a casual conversation, or eat something together. I made them my friend's whiles acknowledging the respect between students teacher relationship. I had a little problem with discipline with respect to adults. The young learners, I had to constantly keep them in check. I recently adopted the approach of making the most disturbing students my assistants, responsible for the organized and smooth lesson and that has really worked so far. In short, Adults lacks motivation, and sometimes are lazy whereas young learners lack discipline.
The most surprising thing I have also learned about myself, I have gained much knowledge and confidence as a teacher for the past few years. The students are my love and motivation for waking up every blessed day to know we want to learn something new. They have made me a better person, with good communication skills and an organized personality as well.
My teaching strengths as a teacher will be my charismatic personality and to work techniques into the classroom that promote learning and retention of the material. I am fortunate that my discipline, cognitive psychology, has many direct implications for effective teaching. For example, it has been established that information will be better remembered when it is tested rather than just restudied. Therefore, it is important to not only inform students of optimal studying habits but also build in opportunities for mock tests (recall and recognition) of knowledge during class. Directly pertaining to my research is the distinction between explicit and implicit knowledge and memory in Cognitive psychology II. It is critically important for students to explicitly learn the material so they will be able to assimilate.
Are you ready to teach English to ESL students?
In conclusion, I would say teaching, in general, is a learning process where teachers, students, and the institution as a whole learn to unlearn and also unlearn to learn.
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