The Consequences of My Personal TEFL Experience
I began my TEFL/TESOL experience not having had any prior teaching experience. Therefore, teaching was something that I was learning step-by-step, reading the units and using Internet resources for additional examples when needed. Even though there is no straightforward answer to this question, the ITTT course taught me that being a teacher is so much more than just transferring knowledge to someone else.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Sofija A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
It helped me pave my path of self-discovery as a teacher. There were many areas in which I felt I was strong in theory but lacked the practice. This course has been visual and based on real teaching examples, and showing another side of teaching, far away from the typical frontal classroom teaching I was used to, which made teaching feel almost palpable, making this journey a genuine pleasure.
Also Read: Games in the Classroom: What are EFL games?
Modern Teaching Methods
One very, if not the most important TEFL teaching approach is preparing a student-oriented lesson using the ESA method. Never having taught, nor never having seen it, creating lesson plans which are student-oriented was an area I was particularly struggling with, especially at the beginning of the course. However, achieving smaller feats throughout the course helped me shift my lessons from more teacher- to more student-oriented.
Such feats include using more concept checking questions instead of own explanations, students giving feedback on their partners’ answers instead of repeating their own, using different classroom arrangements for students to be able to use the language working together, getting students to determine particular forms and meanings of the target language on their own, etc. Nevertheless, teaching is always a learning curve and I am motivated to hone my teaching skills in this direction with every lesson I give. Another area I feel I have become more competent in is some practices, such as using concept checking questions. Using these questions has become easier over time. I have learned when it is appropriate to use them, how many to use and how to formulate them better for which I have gotten a good response from my students.
Also Read: How Learning Languages Help Me In Teaching
Although this journey of self-discovery has helped me become competent in certain areas, there are some other areas that even now require additional work. There are many areas in which I can improve my teaching skills, though one development aim that troubles me the most is creating appropriate tasks suitable for student-oriented lessons or the level. Even though my lessons have become more student-oriented, some of the tasks I have created did not quite match this profile. One instance is starting a discussion in the engage stage with me, the teacher, as the focal point rather than creating a poll or a similar exercise where the students can discuss the topic without any teacher involvement.
Effectiveness of My Methods
Additionally, in my last lesson, I created an exercise where the students needed to determine the form and meaning of the target language on their own and later in pairs, however, the task was above their level which I did not notice and anticipate during the lesson planning process. This made it much harder for the students to finish up the task, it took much more time than anticipated and made the lesson seem dull. This, for instance, could have gone smoothly if I had a task in context with pictures or a gap-fill exercise as my peers mentioned in detailed feedback. Though the same mistakes have not been repeated, this pattern seems to appear in exercises that I have never seen, used or created before.
The ITTT online course has been immensely helpful in guiding me to my self-discovery as a language instructor, however, there is still much to be improved and honed after the course. One way in which I plan to improve and develop my knowledge is to refer back to the materials I have obtained from this course and to visit different websites and books that offer materials from experienced teachers and websites recommended by this course. Teaching is a never-ending process, but taking this course has made me more knowledgeable and more confident, having started with no teaching experience whatsoever.
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The TEFL/TESOL course gave me many things, but the one I cherish the most is the self-discovery to my teaching style and confidence, because it is we confidence that we push ourselves to always grow and become better versions of who we are and what we know, and that is the greatest gift of all.
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