The Main Principles of Building Confidence in the ESL Classroom
A learned language isn't something to be kept on a shelf, slowly collecting dust, forgotten like any other book or relic. It must be held close and treasured, and used so that it is an extension of oneself. For true understanding, all the aspects of a language must be carefully developed until mastery. There are diverse aspects to practice in every language; the inflections and accent understanding of listening, the pronunciations and cadence of speaking, the grammar and structure of writing. Despite all these various skills and the pieces that compose them, they all come from the same source and the same primary skill, one that transcends every tongue and paternal language. This is a talent that is just as important to teach as any other part of English. In addition to teaching the language, a great English teacher must build confidence in students.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Wyatt S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The beginning of the learning process
Before a first word can be ushered or a first tense understood, a student needs the confidence to take the plunge. A language is built on mistakes and countless errors that over time combine to show the students correct methods. It's scary to make mistakes, as it puts us in a place of vulnerability and discomfort, but that is the root of learning something new. Every day a student learning a new language hopes to push their boundaries and understand a little bit more. Confidence is the force that allows a student to keep pushing despite whatever discomfort or weariness lies ahead. Although whatever treacherous concept is challenging students, it is the teacher's job to motivate and inspire the student that may or may not have said confidence.
The first moment a teacher walks in the door on day one of a new class, the values of confidence can be installed within students. To an ESL learner, a teacher is more than someone that instructs a course. They are a role model, and their ability to project confidence and create an environment of learning helps students realize their full potential. Teachers are willing to create rapport with their students to help them understand that mistakes are essential. This is a key part of the learning process and includes some of the most valuable moments.
It takes confidence to learn a language and even more to apply and practice it. Every conversation with a native speaker has to potential to embarrass. The attitude of a confident speaker takes advantage of every opportunity to improve themselves. Every conversation is a lesson in pronunciation, every written paper a lesson in grammar.
A teacher being confident can help their students be confident. Creating a classroom with an atmosphere without fear helps even the least confident students excel. Every moment in a language learner's life won't be as comfortable as a classroom, but a teacher that inspires confidence inspires success.
Within an ESA lesson plan, a teacher can design the day to help the students feel comfortable to begin to explore their own inner confidence. A captivating Engage section of a lesson can get students into an English mentality and feel more comfortable in expressing themselves in a second language. Starting the day with a game or light activity gives students a sense of accomplishment for a task and prepares them for more challenging aspects of learning.
The English language must be looked at as parts combined to create a whole picture that incorporates countless skills and elements. The glue between these pieces and sections is the confidence within. These skills allow the pieces to merge and combine and create a fully powerful view. A language without implementation and conversation is a language without use and purpose. Conversations and presentations executed to give a learner of English a feeling of pride no test can provide.
Are you ready to teach English abroad or online?
The difference between a classroom and the real world of English depends on the power the student has to use the confidence necessary. It is the job of teachers to nurture and inspire confidence so that all may prosper.
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