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Practical TEFL Experience in a Non-Profit Organization

Practical TEFL Experience in a Non-Profit Organization | ITTT | TEFL Blog

For this essay, I have learned that teaching a second language can be challenging especially when teaching a younger group of students. Before taking the TEFL course I have had numerous experiences in tutoring and mentoring, which is quite different from actually being an English Language teacher. In the past, I have taught small groups that focus on one subject as well as one summer teaching an art class at my local Boys and Girls Club. Most of my personal teaching experience has been limited to small groups of four to eight students, who all speak the same language and are around the same level and skill of reading, writing, and math skills.

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

Practical Skills

The non-profit organization that I worked for a couple of years back, taught us some of the similar skills to teach that this TEFL course went over. I was very familiar with the lesson planning section of it and it was a surprise when I saw the template, which was very similar to the one I had used in the past. Lesson planning was a huge component in making sure that my students were on track with their learning, especially the readings and writings. Even though the groups that I had worked with all spoke English in school, they also spoke a lot of Spanish at home and to each other.

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In-Class Practice

While I did not teach them English per se, I taught them the proper grammar and writing skills needed to be at the fourth and fifth-grade level. Seeing as they did not always know the right tenses and had quite a bit of trouble with the irregular words, I had to make sure my lesson planning was intentional in the way that I taught them how irregular words changed when the tenses changed as well. It was easy for them to as -ed at the end of a buy or write, so what I did was I made sure that they listened to someone speak in the proper past simple tense and have them hear that buy and write changed to bought and written, respectively. From then on I learned that listening as well as having worksheets for them to see how irregular verbs changed was a crucial component.

Lastly, in that same program, we also learned a lot about classroom and group management; having warm welcomes and fun icebreakers were key. One of the most difficult aspects of teaching younger students especially those in elementary school is that they can become distracted or lose interest in things that they find boring.

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At the start of teaching small groups, I experienced younger students to lose interest or disrupt the class because they are bored. I find that it is important to keep it fun and engaging since they will need to have some sort of interest in making sure they learn the concepts. In my next phase of teaching, and teaching English as a second language, I plan to also keep it engaging. This TEFL course has given me the tools to think outside the box when it comes to keeping students engaged as well as outside resources that I can refer back to if needed.

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