Professional Skills of a Great Teacher
Education today revolves more around encouraging the student to awaken their confidence, curiosity and desire to learn. A number of teaching techniques have emerged due to this change in education. In my point of view, the following teaching skills are essential to language teaching.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Rong L. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Confidence of Varying Activities
In coping with a foreign language, confidence plays a very large part. Students need to feel that they will be able to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real life and be able to tackle many different situations in a foreign language in a foreign country. It is up to the teacher to give the students its confidence, by providing plenty of opportunities for the students to practice what they have learned in as realistic a way as possible inside the classroom. But very often teachers are tied to a specific book and are aiming to get their students through an exam which tests specific items in that book. In this way, it's very hard for students to transfer their learning to real situations. So teachers can hold some activities which are related to real life to provide a transfer stage in the lesson. The activities can give learners a chance to experiment with their new linguistic skills, to be more creative. Activities can bridge the gap between skill-getting in the classroom and skill-using in real life.
Ways to Motivate
By using games, students learn without even realizing. Therefore, learning through games can be very effective and it is also a very useful technique to keep students motivated. By the way, the teacher should design games that are appropriate for their students, taking into account their age and knowledge, while making them attractive enough to provide extra motivation. One idea may be to encourage students to create quizzes online on a certain topic. Students can challenge their peers to test themselves and see who gets a higher score. In this way, students can enjoy the competition with peers while also having fun and learning.
Activities and games are useful and important, but teachers cannot only rely on activities. Good organization and the planning of a course in advance are key factors for success. It is very important that a teacher organize the lesson properly and allocates the time to cover it in its entirety. Students can tell a poorly planned class from a mile away and once they realize the teacher isn't putting in the effort, neither will they!
Evaluation and Praise
There are also some soft skills which can encourage students to be more active. First of all, it's necessary for teachers to manage any prejudices they may have and to treat all their students equally without showing their favorite ones so that everybody has an equal chance to express themselves. What’s more, teachers should pay attention to the way they speak. Words can also convey attitudes. And attitudes are conveyed by intonation, gesture, facial expression, and many other non-verbal means. Meaning is conveyed not only through language but also through bodily contact, physical proximity, orientation, bodily posture, gesture, head-nods, facial expression, eye movement, and even appearance. Also important are the non-linguistic aspects of speech itself: the speed at which a person speaks, how loud or how softly they speak, the pitch and the quality of their voice (whether husky, whispered, strident, etc. ), all these things contribute to the meaning of the actual words said.
Last but not least, language is used to communicate with others, so accuracy and fluency have equal importance. Teachers should give students practice with both fluency and accuracy (accuracy is the extent to which students' speech matches what people actually say when they use the target language. Fluency is the extent to which speakers use the language quickly and confidently, with few hesitations or unnatural pauses, false starts, word searches, etc. )
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All in all, teachers should organize and plan the lesson well, so that everything can go smoothly. Besides, some interesting appropriate activities or games can do lots of help in arousing students’ interest and confidence in learning. What’s more, using our voice well to make the class alive and treat all the students equally are essential as well. All the above hard and soft teaching skills are the most basic and important ones. I will apply all of them in my future classes!
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