The Most Impressive TEFL Course Takeaways
The key things from this course for me can be summarized under the following topics: teachers and learners; theories, methods, and techniques; teaching a new language, and teaching special groups.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Ewa T. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
People are all about connection. For a teacher to be able to teach effectively and students to get the most out of a course learning English as a foreign language, is for students and teachers to connect. Therefore, a teacher needs to show her passion for teaching and build a good rapport with her students. From my teaching experience, I was able to build a strong and good rapport with my students, As a result, I find that they tend to be more attentive in class and enjoy the class better. It is also important for me to take a personal interest in my students' interests, likes, and dislikes. I've been teaching young learners and teenagers for the past 10 years, in both small groups (with 2 to 10 students) and one-to-one private settings. There are both advantages and challenges in teaching both groups and I've enjoyed teaching both. The course materials and videos served as a reminder for me on the important things to keep in mind whenever I'm teaching.
I find being a teacher not only allows me to share my knowledge and experience in language learning with my students, but I've also learned a lot from them too. I used to teach part-time at a language training center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After my relocation to Shenzhen, China, I continued to teach at language training centers and also started to provide private one-to-one lessons to teenagers and adult learners. My adult students are mostly stay-home moms who are preparing themselves for traveling abroad and accompanying their children to further their studies in English speaking countries. Most of my students are absolute beginners and false beginners. They had a hard time remembering the tenses and their usage as well as new words and phrases they picked up in class. Therefore, they need to practice using them through drilling exercises and role-plays.
I have also been invited to provide business English training to companies in a couple of industries, running English training workshops from time to time. I must assess my learners' needs and expectations for me to deliver an effective training course based on what they need, what their organizations think their employees need. I find it rewarding when the learning goals of the said workshops are achieved and my students feel that they have acquired new language skills to help them improve their communication skills at work.
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Furthermore, the various theories, methods, and techniques shared throughout this course are extremely useful and insightful. I've made some minor changes to suit my students' level and learning needs, they enjoyed them very much. I wasn't exposed to the ESA methodology before, after learning about this approach, I find my lesson planning more effective and systematic. My lessons are now more systematic and effective when I plan it more concisely and decide beforehand which activities and materials to use during the engage, study and activate phases during my lessons.
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Teaching a new language like English in China and other Asian countries can be both fun and challenging at the same time. Because I was also exposed to the Chinese language growing up as a Malaysian Chinese, I am fluent in my students' L1 here in China. In the first couple of years of my teaching here, I tend to use both languages and translate the words and phrases my students find it hard to understand in class into their native language. I find it counterproductive and my students' progress in learning is slow. After completing all 20 units in this course, I find that perseverance is key and that it is important for me to use only English during my lessons. This would help motivate my students to speak in English as well. However, this would require time for them to get used to it.
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