Internationally TEFL

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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

C.R. - Korea said:
Things I wish I had known before starting the courseWhen I first started teaching English here in korea, I had no previous teaching experience. My very first teaching was with elementary school students at an academy for 2 years. Since it was a private English academy, my top priority and responsibility was to finish the course books on time. I was always pressed for time and had no time to play games or do activities other than studying. So, all I needed and used in classroom were the course books and accompanying audio tapes. However, I?d say I actually got into real teaching when I started working at a public primary school where there was more focus on conversation and communicative learning. At first, since I haven?t had any formal teaching experience or training, I had no idea how to manage the class of 30 students. Furthermore, I was hired as English native speaker teacher and I wasn?t allowed to speak their language. They had hard time understanding me because of the language barrier and also because I didn?t give them step-by-step instructions before activities or games. If I had used more gestures and demonstrated better, it would have been easier for students to understand me. Also, I should think of trying out different lesson methodology. Sometimes, I?d jump straight to study phase without proper warm-ups. And it?s been especially hard for first period class on Mondays. I should begin with an ice-breaking activity and try out various engage activities to bring out their interests and make the class atmosphere relaxing to encourage better student interaction and participation. Whenever I give instructions or explanations, I should always use short and simple sentences. Also, I should give a clear demonstration and it?d also be a good idea to involve the students in a demonstration. To check their understanding, I used to ask, ?Do you understand how to do it?? But I learned through this course that I can?t check it this way. Instead, I should ask them to explain back to me what/how they should do. This way, I could find out if they understood me correctly or not. Also, it?d be good to ask them more specific questions about each step, i.e. How many cards do you pick up? What do you do next when you?re done making a sentence?... For exercise, before handing out worksheets, I should remember to do an example on the board and elicit the answer from students. Also, in order to expose students to a variety of expressions and words, I used sometimes use language that is above the level being taught. And I could see more confused look on many students. As in the book says, I should remember to use the language that is below their level. Another point I?d like to address is on correction techniques. I used to think it?s important to point out and correct students? mistake on the spot because they may not remember what they had said later. I used to jump into a student?s speech to correct even during engage or activate stage. But I learned to wait till the end of the activity to address the problem and most important of all, I learned that I should encourage students to interact and communicate as much as possible, rather than correcting mistakes. Lastly, I learned a great deal of tips about teaching beginners. Sometimes, I tried to cover too many materials in the same lesson. Sometimes, instead of covering only one sentence format, I would go ahead and introduce its interrogative format. This may have confused the students in learning process. I think I should wait until after they acquired the language point comfortably and then introduce another format. Since my school doesn?t provide multi-level class system, having students of diversity of levels has been a biggest challenge for me. Those who can?t even write alphabets have difficulty participating in class/team activities while it hasn?t been easy to keep the stronger students from feeling bored, either. Currently, I sit students of mixed levels in groups. For pair activity, sometimes, I will try to pair strong students together and weaker students together for a change so that they will be working with partners of compatible levels. Also, I will prepare worksheets of 2 different levels, giving strong students more complicated and challenging tasks. I can?t wait to try out some of the things I learned from this lesson.