Skills of the Top-Notch ESL Teacher
Throughout the course of this TEFL course, many factors were discussed that can lead to potential success or failure within the ESL classroom. One factor that was constantly highlighted was the teacher’s attitude and ability to build a good rapport with their students. Student engagement skills are vital for motivating students. Teachers in a classroom should develop a relationship with their students where the students can be comfortable in his or her classroom environment.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jheanelle M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Circumstances Supporting Rapport
For that relationship to happen a teacher needs to possess the right attitude. To successfully impart knowledge to their students, teachers have to be able to engage and connect with their students. In order to do that, they have to possess the right mental attitude; without positive attitudes and perceptions, students have little chance of learning proficiently, if at all. When teachers have a positive attitude and take great pride in sharing what they know, the student will also be more receptive to hearing it. For example, if the teacher is excited about teaching the students, then naturally the students will be excited about learning. In contrast, if a teacher seems to have little or no interest in the subject matter or the students, the students might reflect the same attitude and show a disregard for whatever is being taught. When students are comfortable with the teacher then they will naturally want to please them and if they are comfortable in their environment then they are more open to learning opportunities.
Solid Subject Knowledge
However more is needed, than just a good relationship with students. The primary reason students attend any Educational institution is to gain knowledge of the subject matter in which they are being taught. Therefore teachers should develop the skill of engaging and connecting via an interesting presentation style. This is especially true when teaching a foreign language. Many young learners do not have a clear purpose or reason in mind when studying English, therefore, some lack the necessary motivation. When teachers vary their presentation styles as well as use interesting activities that make the lesson fun and educational, students might be more willing to participate and because the process is more enjoyable students might also have an easier time retaining information.
Good Communication Abilities
Teaching is a form of communication so another skill teachers should possess is good communication skills. They should be able to communicate concepts such as those related to grammar in a way that is easily understandable to the students. The ability to share knowledge is equally important as the knowledge itself. Teachers may have an extensive knowledge of the subject area being taught but if they are unable to explain it effectively then it is useless to the students.
Also Read: Why is English Important in Business?
Adaptability is also another skill teachers should master. Teachers should be ready to adjust if the needs of the student's changes. Different students learn in different ways, and some lessons require unique teaching tools. Learning how to adapt to fit the needs of the students, so that everyone can learn optimally can take some experience and practice in a classroom setting. This is something I can personally attest to. During my teaching career here in Japan I have faced the challenge of learning how to differentiate the learning needs of each student. Every student is different and what works well for one student might not work well for another so I had difficulty creating material that would be able to engage all students and ensure active participation in class. For example, during my time as an Assistant language teacher, I usually taught classes of up to 40 students who were all individuals who learned in different ways and I quickly came to realize that one size does not fit all. Some students were able to quickly grasp new concepts while others needed more time to understand the material.
Interesting Teaching Materials
Finding the right material that would engage my students required me to be conscious of the needs of each student and be ready to modify my teaching and communication style if I realized that a particular approach was not effective. I had to try to vary my presentation style and lesson content with each class. I found that some classes learned well by engaging in games and interactive PowerPoints while some preferred the use of worksheets with question and answer. This TEFL course has provided teachers with a variety of useful suggestions for activities such as songs, dramas, and role plays and so on and how each one can be successfully utilized.
These suggestions also help with developing another skill which teachers should have within the ESL classroom, creativity. Many ESL courses will provide a textbook. However, these can often be very dull and not in line with the interests of students. Students especially young learners as this course suggest, learn best when they’re doing something fun and interesting. Therefore teachers should be creative in their approach, finding novel and enjoyable ways for their students to learn.
Teachers should also have good classroom management skills. A teacher’s ability to organize and prepare for the lesson well is a huge contributing factor as to whether or not the lesson will be a success. Good classroom management includes time management, maintaining discipline in the classroom, creating a classroom arrangement that is conducive to learning and maintaining discipline and striking a balance between teacher talking time and student talking time. In conclusion, there are many factors that can contribute to the success of the classroom. A teacher that possesses the needed skills can have a great impact on the lives of their students and motivate them to continue learning both inside and outside the classroom.
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