Tefl Course Essay

A good teacher is a facilitator and knows when to be firm and when to take a back seat. Generally, your teaching style will depend on what kind of person you are. It’s important to be as true as you can to the type of person you are otherwise you can come over as being quite false. Here are a few things to bear in mind when you are teaching, to help your presentation. Eye contact – make eye contact. It helps to keep attention and can help you get a feel for the students’ understanding. Also, a lack of eye contact can demonstrate a lack of confidence.

Don’t over-compensate though and forever stare into the eyes of your students as this could be misconstrued! Use gesture and facial expression – rocking your hand or screwing up your face to show ‘nearly, but not quite’, or cupping your hand to your ear to show you want the students to listen are good examples. However, be consistent with your gestures, and don’t be ambiguous since you could easily leave the students guessing as to what you are on about. Voice projection -? speak clearly. Also, try to include some expression and intonation, though don’t exaggerate as students might imitate you.

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Also, be careful not to speak too quickly or use language that is way beyond the students’ level. Movement -? this is good as is it draws attention, but too much can be a distraction. Don’t talk too much – if you are doing all the talking then there is less SST. Also, at lower levels be careful of too much instruction or ‘explanation’ as this could confuse students. Generally, you should grade the language you use in the classroom to suit the level of the students. Build rapport – the more you can do this, the more forthcoming the students will be and the more receptive they will be.

You can use warmers in the classroom or personalize activities, but above all remember the students’ names right from the outset, even if you have to rite down a seating plan and learn it before the lesson. If you use their names in the lesson, this will help you to remember their names. Giving instructions When you are setting up an activity, keep the ITT down to a minimum. The more instructions you give, the more likely the students are to misunderstand what you want them to do. The best way to give instructions is to give an example of what you want.

You also need to make sure you are not using any jargon or complex language. Also, make sure you are not giving them all the instructions at once. The greater the distance between you telling them what hey are about to do and them actually doing it, the less likely they will remember what they are supposed to be doing. Finally, always check that the students have understood. Don’t ask ‘Do you understand? ‘ since they will answer yes, even if they haven’t. Ask questions that test them: for example, ‘Hands up Bi’s’, ‘Are we sitting in pairs or groups? ‘, ‘Who goes first? Or even ‘What are we doing now? ‘ This is common sense, but when you first start teaching you can so easily spend ages explaining an activity, going over the instructions again and again. Put the instructions in your lesson plan when oh first start out; it will give you confidence and your activities are more likely to run smoothly. Using visual aids The board is your main visual aid and, as Often as not, your only one! You can use the board for: writing vocabulary and grammatical structures drawing pictures and diagrams sticking up pre-drawn pictures and cut-outs etc. Ames and activities You will use the board a lot, so remember to plan how you will use it in your lesson plan, what you will have and where it will go. It needs to be organized and neat. Also, be careful of drawing on the board – know your limitations. You don’t want to spend valuable lesson time on a drawing that takes five minutes and elicits one word. Use a flash card instead! Here are some tips: Try not to write on the board with your back to the students – they can’t see what you’re up to Engage students as you write on the board (get students to spell words, or speak as you write). Don’t write too much on the board as it can be boring.

Be careful with colors. Use dark colors for text and lighter colors for highlighting. Write as you would have your students write (No capitals, use contractions if relevant). Flash cards are an effective and easy way to elicit scapulars or show the meaning of new words. Don’t overuse flash cards in the lesson: firstly you’ll spend all your time preparing them, secondly; vary the visual aids you use. Also, you can get more than one word from a flash card. Hold up a picture of a train and ask: What’s this? (train), but follow up with more questions like: Where do I go to catch a train? (station); What do I need to get on a train? Ticket). Using pictures Pictures are a n interesting and focused way to lead into lesson The teacher begins with easy questions about the picture and then follows with ones that require the students to suppose something about the picture. The teacher can then lead into the topic of the lesson. The picture is therefore used to engage the students, to arouse the students’ interest and not as a test! So, keep it simple. Here’s an example. Teacher: What can you see in the picture? Student: A big, white building Teacher. ; What else can you see in the picture? Student: Trees, a road and some people in front of it.

Where do you think this is? Student: It could be in a county like India, perhaps it is the Tag Mammal. ; What do you think the people are doing? Student. ; They could be tourists visiting this famous site. Why are they there? They could be on holiday. ; Why do you think these people have traveled here? Perhaps to understand other countries and to have an experience of another country. Teacher: What other reasons do people travel for? With the last question, the teacher then moves away from the picture and onto the topic of travel. It is a good idea to prepare your questions before the lesson.

You should also be prepared for students going off at a tangent. If this happens, don’t worry, remember, it’s all about engagement. Have your questions prepared so you don’t get stuck for a question but don’t feel you have to use them all. We can also use pictures to lead in to a grammar lesson. Look at the teacher and student dialogue below. What grammar lesson is the teacher leading into? Teacher sticks the pictures to the board. Teacher: What can you see in these pictures? Students: I can see the Tag Mammal and the Statue of Liberty. Teacher: Which countries? Students: The first is in India and the second is in America.

Teacher: Has anyone been to these countries? Students: No Teacher: Which county would you like to go to? Students: I’d like to go to America? Teacher: Why? Students: less big, there are a lot of places to visit. Teacher: Tell me more about America. Students: Its modern, it’s hot, it’s rich, but things are expensive. [Teacher writes adjectives about America underneath picture 2 on the board] Teacher: Who would like to go to India? Why? Students: It’s different, it’s cheap, it’s very interesting… [Teacher writes adjectives about India under picture 1 on the board] Teacher: Which one would you like to go to and why?

Students: India, because it is cheaper and more interesting. Other visual aids Realize is just another word for objects, anything from a chair to a milk bottle. Like flash cards, objects can be used to elicit vocabulary or ideas and create a bit of interest. Just don’t overdo it and walk into the classroom with a huge sack of objects. POP (Overhead Projector) enables you to present while facing your students. One word of advice practice using one before you get into the lesson and make sure everything is working and that you have a spare bulb! Video is an excellent way to engage students and help them practice listening and speaking skills.

You may use video like you would a listening lesson or you could even use Mr. Bean, where there is no speaking. Organizing your activities We have looked at giving instructions, so let’s now look at arranging your class and your activities. You want to add variation to your lessons. You don’t want the students to always work in pairs or with the same partner, so design activities that shake things up from time to time. How you arrange your class will also depend on the size of your classroom and the number of students you have. Group, pair work or solo? LOL This should be used sometimes since it allows you to respond to individual differences in pace Of learning, ability etc. It Can increase the confidence Of the individual and some students relish the opportunity to show how well they can perform by themselves. It can also be less stressful for students nice they don’t have to perform in front of the whole class. It does, however, restrict possibilities for student-to-student interaction and group rapport. Pair work Pair work increases student talking time and student-to-student interaction, which is why it the preferred set up for a lot of teachers.

The teacher can monitor it effectively and it is easier to set up than group work. Pair work is also less stressful for the student than group work and you can even organize it so that stronger students can be paired with weaker ones. Try to make sure that pairs are mixed up from lesson to lesson. Apart from being quite noisy, which is fine if everyone is speaking English, you might find that some pairings don’t work. This is something you will be aware of when you get to know the students. Pair work does not have to be two students sitting next to each other.

Try ‘open’ pairs occasionally, where students talk to each other across the classroom. This can be a useful chance for other students to hear and for you to monitor the students’ accuracy and fluency. Group work Group work is from groups of three up to the whole class working together. Like pairs, this is great for SST and interaction. You can also introduce a sense of team and competition into the groups. If you have the whole class working together, it can be easier for you to control. You might find, though, that you get dominant students who do all the talking, so be careful how you select your groups.

If you are organizing groups of three or four, the set up and getting the students settled into the right place can be tricky, so plan it carefully beforehand. Seating arrangements There is no right or wrong way to arrange your class ; it’s more about the pace of the lesson, what you have in your classroom, the number of students and the time you have. You don’t want to spend your valuable lesson time re- arranging furniture. So, as part of your lesson planning you need to think about your activities, the movement etc.

Here are some common classroom arrangements: Keeping discipline It is important that you get a balance between exercising control and encouraging a relaxed, friendly atmosphere conducive to learning. If in doubt, start off being relatively strict and let yourself relax gradually. Doing it the other way round will be very difficult indeed. It’s also important to understand why a student is causing a problem, so you need to be aware of them rather than seeing the student just as a problem. For instance, the student could be bored, have family problems, peer problems or even be in the wrong class.

A lot of discipline problems are actually caused by the teacher. Here are some things to be aware of: 1 . Don’t appear careless, disorganized or unprepared. 2. Be fair in the attention you give to students. 3. Don’t take things personally. 4. If you make a threat, carry it out – be consistent. 5. Never lose your temper. 6. Treat the students as you expect to be treated. 7. Put time, effort, enthusiasm and interest into your lessons. Set rules and be consistent! You could even brainstorm rules as a class and the consequences or breaking the rules. Once set, be consistent with them.

Also, make sure the rules you set in the class are consistent with the school rules. It might be an idea to run your ideas Pasteur director of studies first. If all else fails More often than not, making the students aware that you know what’s going on can be enough, but try and do this humorously and with tact. It’s important to know what the disciplinary procedures are in the school, so you need to ask your Director of Studies. Don’t let the problem go on. It is better to deal with it right away and certainly don’t wait until you get angry and lose our temper!

You could try re seating the student, though this can often make him/her a martyr. You could try re organizing seating as part of an activity. Giving the ‘problem’ student more responsibility in group work could help. You could also try having a friendly chat. It might just be that the student doesn’t feel he/she is getting enough attention from you. Mistakes or Errors? Native speakers make slips of the tongue or pen all the time so we shouldn’t be surprised that your students do too. Mistakes are a matter of fluency; it is errors that need your attention as a teacher.

These errors might be caused cause: * The student doesn’t know what the correct form should be * The student believes what he is saying is correct * The student knows the correct form but can’t get it right How to correct errors and when to correct them is a little ambiguous, but one thing is for sure, this is one of the key roles as an English teacher. We have to be careful we don’t damage fluency, the flow of the lesson and the student’s confidence. What to correct It is key to correct errors that are to do with the target language you are teaching.

Also, correct errors that impede understanding and correct consistently repeated errors. When to correct During the presentation or practice stages of the lesson when you are presenting the language for that lesson. It is probably better to let students flow during the production stage of the lesson and feedback main errors after as a class. Remember in controlled practice the focus is on accuracy, and freer/production practice the focus is on fluency. The ability to correct themselves when they make an error or constant mistake is an important one for students to develop.

Encourage it and give them time to correct themselves – don’t jump in immediately to correct them, keen though you are to prove that you are doing your job. Most students (and indeed some teachers) seem to think that it is the teacher’s job to correct students errors and mistakes but this is not necessarily so. Yes, teachers can Correct their students endlessly but how will that help the students’ when they go out into the big wide world – who will be there to correct them then? It’s much better for the students if they get into the habit of listening to themselves when they are speaking and correct themselves as they go along.

Obviously they wont be able to correct all the mistakes and errors they make but they will be able to correct a lot of them. How to correct Errors are made by individuals and so correction has to be on an individual basis. As a teacher, you need to be quick and efficient, but don’t over-correct and be careful not to focus on one individual too much. Involve the class by getting others in the class to help out or do it as a class feedback session, focusing on just a few errors made by the class. Don’t simply tell them the correction; try to elicit it first so students are engaging in the language.

This is a more memorable experience and helps them to remember more. Sometimes though it may be more prudent to repeat the mistake correctly, his is called reformulation. This is good when the mistake has little to do with the focus of the lesson, so you don’t want to lose the focus of the lesson, but you also don’t want to let the mistake go. How do we actually correct in the classroom though? Firstly, get the student to repeat an error, just to make sure it wasn’t a slip of the tongue, “I’m sorry? ” or cupping your hand to your ear will do that.

Then, find a nice way to let the student know they have made a mistake, you’ll find a technique that suits you. 1 A facial expression showing doubt (a frown, raised eyebrow or a wobbling hand) 2. Saying the kind of error e. G. Tense? Or Word order ? (often combined with a frown). This draws the student’s attention to where the error is, and stops the student changing something which is right. 3. For higher levels you could ask a question to focus the student on the meaning e. G. Do you think you really will win the lottery? (No) So which tense do we use? 4.

Drawing time lines on the board is a good way to elicit self and peer correction 5. For pronunciation mistakes, you could show the shape of the mouth can elicit a correction to a sound (e. G. Showing pursed lips for the ‘SSH’ sound). 6. Sing finger correction to highlight the mistake 7. Using ‘echo correction’ by repeating the error with rising, questioning intonation, perhaps combined with a raised eyebrow to make sure your students understand you are highlighting a mistake 8. You could use a device (a buzzer or bell) or make a sound to indicate a mistake.

All the above, provide the opportunity for self-correction. If the student cannot correct himself, then ask the other students if they know. Peer correction is very effective, but peer-correction may not always work, it will depend on how receptive and keen they are. Some teachers simply correct the students homeless since it is quicker or as a last resort, but is not as effective as peer or self-correction. Finger correction using your fingers you can devise little gestures to help students out with identifying the error and suggest ways to fix the error.

This takes a bit of practice but is a very effective and quick way to correct spoken errors in class. Written correction The ideas for correcting written work is basically the same. Don’t over-correct and cover the homework in red pen. Try to put the errors back to the students and see if they can correct themselves. Like finger correction, help them out with some written clues. You can also take the main errors from written work and present it to the class by writing them on the board and students work in pairs to correct them.

Correction activities As a teacher, you can use your students’ mistakes and errors in activities. It can be particularly useful if you want to focus on common and repeated errors your students are making. Error race The teacher writes mistakes/errors from a previous activity on the board and students work in pairs to see who can correct them fastest, or they could race up to the board to correct in teams. Right or wrong The teacher selects of errors from homework or a previous activity and erects some of them and leaves the others. The teacher dictates each sentence and the students write them down.

In pairs, or individually, they have to mark down whether each sentence is right or wrong and for a bonus point they need to be able to correct sentences that are wrong. Error poker This is an extension of the previous activity. Students are given some money to play with (not real money of course). As groups or pairs they decide which sentences are correct and how much money they want to spend to buy them. The teacher then carries out an auction for each sentence. A sentence goes to the highest bidder. The winners are the ones with the most correct sentences.

Correction City The teacher writes mistakes on the board and the class corrects them, as a class, groups or pairs. Very little set-up and a quick way to focus on just a few errors/mistakes. Editing The teacher hands out or reads a pre-prepared text containing typical student errors/mistakes. Students then either circle the errors or shout when they hear them. It is better for students to circle or note down the mistakes and then feedback at the end since all students will get a chance to consider the mistakes and have chance to feed back.

Though, getting students to shout out when they hear an error can occasionally inject some pace, competition and excitement into the lesson. Feedback What do we feed back about? Feedback enables students to get a feel for how well they are progressing and where they need to improve. There are lots of areas you will need to give feedback on, including accuracy and fluency listening, reading, writing and speaking skills general progress behavior in the classroom attitude to learning Feedback How do we give feedback? The only reason we give feedback is to assist the recipient to learn and infinite from it.

So, as teachers, we need to make sure the feedback is relevant, concise, understandable and supportive. To achieve this it is important that your feedback is honest, though sometimes you will have to weigh up being honest with being encouraging. Furthermore, some students will be able to work on small snippets of feedback while others will be able to benefit from a lot more. You should also consider cultural factors and the appropriate of feedback. Some cultures may expect clear and direct feedback while students from other cultures may need to be treated with kid gloves.

Above all, we must not make the feedback personal, the best way to do this, is to keep it factual and avoid the use of adjectives. Consider the difference between saying, “Your grammar is awful. ” “l would like you to revise page 4 of the grammar section at the back of the book. ” Equally, you also don’t want to beat around the bush since with English learners at a low level may not understand the feedback. Cultural consideration Whereas, some non-British cultures see British as being dishonest and insincere because Of the British person’s use overly polite language. Instead of saying “That’s wrong” we may say ‘That could be better.

Instead of saying “Give me a pen” we say “Could you pass me the pen? ” When someone bumps into us, many of us will apologies! British culture has a long tradition of being polite by “softening” language, so that instead of saying “That’s wrong” it is far better to say ” That’s not quite right’. The use of functions can be a little perplexing to students from some cultures and is dealt with the next unit. As a teacher, we do need to be careful of our language, particularly if you are new to teaching in a particular culture or you are teaching a multi-cultural class. Giving and receiving feedback Giving feedback

In the heat of the lesson, it can be difficult sometimes to remember to praise rather than just picking up on corrections. Different teachers adopt different words and phrases to do this, it might be an “K”, “Excellent” or even a “Bravo”. You might also find that you repeat that word and only that word much more often than you realism. Positive praise is good and important, but try to be aware of the words you use and the frequency; an over-used “Excellent” loses its praising effect pretty soon. Try to vary your feedback Receiving feedback You may find that feedback from students will come in a variety Of Ways.

If oh are teaching business English, it will be formal in feedback forms from the company paying for the tuition. Otherwise you will need to be open and receptive and try to gauge how the students respond in your lessons. If they are quiet and reserved it could be that you have created a comfortable learning environment, if older students are bored it might be you have conducted an adequate needs analysis and are covering ground that isn’t relevant to what your students need to learn. Being open and receptive to your students over time in this way will help you plan relevant lessons and include activities that engage your students.


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