The Most Important Take-Aways From a TEFL Course
First of all, I want to say how this course encouraged me to get further education and qualification because you will never know everything, simply it is impossible. But there is always an opportunity to evaluate and improve yourself especially in languages as there is a lot of new vocabulary every year and some changes which are sufficient for a language teacher to be aware of.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Margarita F. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
I would like to start my review speaking about the teacher’s personality.
The EFL teacher should switch between different roles appropriately such as manager, organizer, prompter, participant, tutor, facilitator, observer or monitor. The teacher’s role will depend on the type of activity and what we want students to achieve. Also, our teaching and complexity at which we speak will be determined by some factors: level of the students, age of the students, their motivation, even culture, and first language. For example, teaching adults differs from teaching kids: adults are more motivated and at the same time more nervous; young learners are more likely to absorb language from context, but they have a shorter attention span. So, as we see the teacher should use different approaches according to these factors.
The right methodology should comply with several conclusions:
students need as much exposure as possible, they need a certain amount of input from their teacher, anxiety, and stress need to be low for effective language learning and students should be encouraged to discover language for themselves. That is why Engage, Study and Activate method gives the teacher a great deal of flexibility, combines the previously mentioned conditions and allows them to achieve the best results in learning. Comparing to all other methods, ESA is the most effective one.
Classroom management is one more initial issue.
The teacher must be flexible and change the student’s role according to the activity. Eye contact, gesture, and voice can be used skillfully to hold the attention, to explain something without words or using your voice you can get greater effectiveness by different variations of your voice. All kinds of activities have their own place in the classroom. For instance, whole-class grouping allows students to interact with other class members or individual work helps the students become self-reliant. The class should be arranged according to available space, type of chairs/tables, age of the students, nationality and their personality.
Speaking about English grammar it is worth mentioning that if you consider yourself to be a good teacher, you have to plunge deeper because we covered only the essential basic grammar and, in my opinion, it is not enough to teach foreign students. Especially if the grammar is often said to be a tree trunk and branches of a language while vocabulary and functions are the leaves of beauty and variety. Let us summarize the basic grammar topics. They are Present, Past and Future Tenses; modals, phrasal verbs, and passive voice; conditional sentences, direct and indirect speech.
In teaching vocabulary, the most difficult thing is to select the appropriate words for every level and there is a special feature of human memory which is learner’s receptive vocabulary is much larger than his or her productive. So, the teacher should bear in mind these features and plan lessons according to them.
A balanced approach should incorporate all four basic skills: receptive – reading and listening, and productive – speaking and writing.
It is important to get students engaged by discussing the topic, showing pictures and so on. A good task should be realistically achievable. Speaking and writing are different in many ways, but they both are used for one aim – to communicate. Again, the good one teacher must create the need and desire, motivate his/her students to communicate. Accuracy activities are more likely to be concentrated during the study stage, while fluency activities allow students are creative with language and that is why are used during activate stage. The teacher has to create a comfortable atmosphere, try to overcome some hurdles and encourage student interaction.
As for me, planning lessons are really helpful and the best way to do this is to make some notes, decide on activities, stages of your lesson or complete lesson plan forms but will be built-in flexibility. Sometimes there is a need to adjust according to some situations or inability to do everything planned during the lesson and the teacher has to be able to improvise.
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To sum up, the good ESL teacher should know all aspects of teaching language, such as grammar, vocabulary, phonetics, methodology, methods, and techniques; also how to solve common problem situations and always teach with enthusiasm as a teacher’s mood influences the students a lot.
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