The Place of Teaching Skills in ESL Education
In our everyday life we try to teach someone something, as in life we use different methods to explain something to someone, it is the same for a teacher. We spend every day as teachers and learners. We don't have to be students to learn and we don't have to be teachers to teach.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Medha R. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The source of learning doesn't have to be one human giving a lesson to another; it can be something new we learned from a book, the internet, a newspaper, etc. However, we owe it to another human being that we have within us the capacity to teach, it can vary from a life skill to a life lesson.
The way we deal with a student is similar to how we would deal with another human being. We take the time to listen to what they are saying, we help them when we feel they are going down the wrong track, and most importantly we don't demoralize them in any way.
Through the TEFL course, I have learned that there never exists one fixed way of teaching.
Three fundamental principles should be followed and beyond that, it is dependent on the skills of the teacher and the students to develop a method of teaching which would be most suitable to all. The three principles being listening to the student, guiding them, and motivating them.
However, a teacher must have a basic teaching method down so that when they are just beginning in their career they have a tried and tested method to fall back on. It is the same for experienced teachers- when they are teaching topics they are not completely sure of, they have something to refer to; it is unfair to assume that just because they are the teacher, they know everything.
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Society is always developing, what would have been applicable even 10 years ago may not apply today. Teachers must stay up-to-date and their classes always remain relevant. An ESL teacher shouldn’t be teaching students using material that was published in the late 90s, language has changed leaps and bounds since then and it would be detrimental to their education.
Without learning teaching skills, teachers will not know what are the available various teaching tools. No two students are the same, and therefore what could be difficult for one student to understand could be easy for another. More importantly, it would be a good guide for teachers to understand what method of teaching works for which students. If the teacher’s original method of teaching doesn’t work on a student, the teacher has the option to use other methods that they have learned.
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Learning teaching skills may also help standardize the quality of education. When a teacher is taught how to teach, it is not only the subject that they will be teaching that they learn. Teachers also learn how to provide positive reinforcement to their students, how to inculcate values into their students, and lastly what all teaching methods exist, which work, which don’t.
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