What are the Best Teaching Skills to Implement in the ESL Classroom?
As a teacher, one often adopts a range of roles in the classroom or online class to successfully execute a lesson and ensure confidence and security for the students during the lesson. Some of these roles include a prompter or facilitator, tutor, participant or observer, controller, or manager. With the roles listed above, a teacher needs to understand which role is adequate and beneficial for the circumstances that emerge. Along with varying roles to take, personal qualities play a very significant role in the classroom setting and rapport that’s created with the students. Personal qualities are the traits and characteristics of an individual that navigate them through life, often reflecting on the way they handle different situations. English teachers must consider what it means to be a good listener, timeliness, positive personality, and the ability to adapt to various situations.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Ryley M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The importance of teaching skills
Teaching skills are very important in the classroom, in a sense of leading and managing the students. A teacher’s tone/voice and physical presence translates with how the students react and respect them. This all includes arriving on time, dressing appropriately and professionally, and specific gestures and eye contact with the students. This helps to ensure the participation of students, making sure the students understand instructions, aiding in the process of who’s speaking, and overall maintaining the appropriate discipline.
Body language is a great skill to utilize in the classroom, especially when teaching lower or beginner students. This is a great tool to use to clarify, give deeper meaning, provide visual stimulation, and overall reduce the amount of ‘teacher talk time’. A teacher’s voice is one of the most influential tools they can use, however, there is a fine balance of how to use it. By reducing any shyness or quietness and establishing stronger rapport with the use of happiness and excitement in your voice, while establishing control, clarity and again, overall positivity.
Understanding the classroom style
As a teacher, another skill to have is the ability to understand what classroom style is most beneficial for your students. This can all start with seating arrangement depending on the class size, activity, student personality, or type of furniture available to you. Understanding that there are many options such as orderly rows, horseshoes or circles, or even separating the tables. This will allow for better success amongst the students and the way they work with one another, view the teacher and provide a sense of equality within the classroom. Not only does this benefit the students but it allows the teacher to be better organized, maintain appropriate control of the students, and allow more hands-on during the study phase of the class.
Arranging the classroom
In addition to the way a teacher uses their skills to arrange a classroom, there are necessary skills in understanding how to group together or apart from the class as a whole. Whole class grouping allows for more organization, a more efficient way to control the class, and this creates a sense of acceptance and inclusion for the students. Other ways of grouping the students will acquire a knowledge of the level of students and their personality to allow group work, pair work, or solo work as well. Group work and pair work decreases the amount of teacher talk time and allows the students to work together and learn other ideas from different students. Allowing students to work in groups or pairs creates a sense of trust between the teacher and the students and encourages the teacher to use their observation and participation skills by giving a little control over to the students.
Furthermore, it is vital as a teacher to have the right techniques to ensure equality among all students in the classroom and also have the finesse to give individual attention. It can be a challenging task to keep all students on task and involved during the lesson, however, by using the above skills and knowledge listed above, there should be very few issues making this happen.
One of the most important teaching skills is knowing when teacher talking time is important verses when student talking time is important. An active teacher should understand the fine balance of providing the right amount of teacher talk time to explain the rules and syllabus, present instructions to successfully execute activities, and the overall present new model and language structures. However, there are many circumstances in the classroom where teacher talk time can become unnecessary and lead students to the array. This stems from over-elaborating things and not keeping them simple, not using different props such as pictures or other tangible examples. As the teacher, one can ask the students to re-explain the activity or work with partners to speak out loud with one another why the teacher simply observes.
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Overall, establishing strong teaching skills will only benefit the teacher and their students in all aspects. By using the skills above and many more, a teacher will be able to create a strong and healthy rapport with their students that will motivate them to come to class and pursue a future with the English they are learning. Dedicating time to your students, showing a genuine interest in their lives, having a good sense of humor, incorporating a wide range of activities, having the skills to properly manage bad behavior, and essentially providing a positive outlet for students of all levels and abilities will make you a great teacher.
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