Although there was a time when it was not uncommon for people to teach the English language without any relevant training or qualifications, it is now largely a thing of the past as most employers realize that being able to speak a language fluently is not the same thing as being able to teach it effectively. This move towards suitable training has led to the development of TESOL certification courses that have been designed to provide native and non-native English speakers with the skills and knowledge required by anyone who wants to earn a good living in the classroom. Here we take a look at what a TESOL course actually teaches you?
English grammar and how to teach it
For many people the thought of understanding and trying to explain the different areas of English grammar is somewhat daunting. The average native English speaker will often struggle when asked to explain the difference between an adverb and an adjective, or the present simple tense and the future perfect. This is a common occurrence as native speakers are not typically taught the mechanics of the language, they generally learn it organically. However, non-native English speakers are often at an advantage in this area as they have usually had to learn English grammar in some depth when learning it themselves.
Whether you choose an in-class or online TESOL course, you will spend a good deal of time learning about the different parts of speech, the tense system, and a wide range of other grammar subjects. Once you have developed a good understanding of these areas of the language you will then learn the best ways to present them to your future students whose native tongue might well work in a very different fashion. The grammar section of any course is highly important as having a solid understanding of this subject is integral to your future success in the classroom.
Lesson planning and the ESA method
Once you have developed a good understanding of English grammar, you still need to learn how to structure and present your lessons or you will find life in the classroom very tough indeed. Lesson planning is a vital skill to learn, especially for first-time teachers, as it provides a clear strategy for the lesson and a path towards achieving the goals set out for that day's class. A key part of any TESOL course is learning how to go about planning your lessons and how to adjust accordingly when things don’t go exactly the way you intended.
All ITTT courses are based on the ESA method of English language teaching that has been developed to produce strong results in a short period of time. ESA stands for Engage, Study, Activate, which is how you will be taught to structure the lessons that you will plan and deliver. The Engage stage allows you to get the students warmed up by introducing a short activity. The Study stage is when you do all the actual teaching of the day’s chosen subject. During the Activate stage the students get to practice everything they have learned during the lesson. Being confident about how to best plan and structure lessons is one of the top skills needed when starting out as an ESL teacher.
Once you are confident you can plan a good lesson and you are happy to tackle grammar subjects, what do you do about controlling disruptive behavior in the classroom? Classroom management subjects form a large and very important part of every TESOL course as it can make a massive difference to your performance as a professional teacher. By the end of your training you will have learned a wide range of techniques that allow you to comfortably control the dynamics of the class without using any actions that might jeopardize your rapport with your students.
Evaluation and testing
How and when to test your students is another vital part of an English teacher’s job. Checking the progress of each student on a regular basis is very important as this can play a large role in the individual motivation of every class member. Every teacher has a wide range of tests and assessments in their armory which can be utilized at different times during the length of each semester or school year. During your TESOL training you will learn how and when to introduce each test to ensure it is used most effectively for you and the entire class.
The subjects mentioned above are all good examples of the topics covered in every good quality TESOL certification course. However, each course will also cover many other subjects that you need to be aware of before you start teaching. These will include how to select and produce appropriate teaching materials, how to best utilize technology in the classroom, and how to teach unique groups of students. Once you have reached the end of your course with ITTT you will have gained all the basic skills and knowledge needed to make a confident and successful start to your teaching career.