In vs At - English Grammar - Teaching Tips

 

This video covers the difference between 'in' and 'at' when used to indicate a location. They often cause confusion for English learners as they both refer to a location in a sentence. However, 'in', as a preposition of place, is usually used to talk about the position of someone or something inside large places such as countries, continents, big cities and similar, while 'at' is used to refer the position of someone or something inside small and unimportant places such as villages or small towns.


Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

Unit 19 takes a close look at the types of classes that the EFL student teacher might end up working in. The first group we looked at was Beginning EFL students and those students fall into five basic primary categories: Absolute Beginner (students with no English at all), False Beginner (some limited English but only able to produce simple structures), Adult Beginner (Adult beginners are generally quite motivated), Young Beginner (may lack motivation, often in academic settings, do tend to pick it up faster), Beginner Without Roman Alphabet (will need extensive work and patience regarding basic literacy and alphabet/language skills, will need a lot of writing and reading practice). Beginning students have very specific needs but the most important is that you know your space/classroom & culture, take great care to be aware, visual, clear, realistic, patient, pace yourself and the work and to be engaging. What is key to most if not all EFL level courses is that the instructor does not use the native language except as a last resort. A teacher must be flexible, informed and patient and help students find ways to work together and help one another, particularly with beginners. It is important to not over-correct, to pay attention and to treat students as individuals. When dealing with beginning students, adult or young it is critical to be generous with praise and encouragement and to keep the classroom a positive space. Teaching Individual Students is a rapidly developing field in the EFL instruction world. One-to-one lessons are very popular with highly motivated adult students, often in the business world, though there is some individual instruction with younger students. The advantages of one-to-one are specially focused study geared to student needs and custom information and tools. Lessons are much less formal and there are a few language activities that are impaired (group work, role play). Another issue that troubles instructors is fatigue. Instructors can use some of the the same basic tools for materials (crosswords, stories, the board) and must be as adept at maintaining focus. However, the one-to-one dynamic enables teachers to form relationships with their students that can nurture greater success for their students. Teaching children is the most common platform and requires special skills. It requires a teacher who will speak slowly, with precise pronounciation, be willing to be exaggerated in action (mime) and language. They must be willing to be playful, get on their students level and to experiment with varying tools (music, art materials, toys etc) to get language across. Above all they must be patient, positive and ?in charge? of the environment. They must maintain discipline while remaining thoughtful, even handed, connected with and fair with all their students (never have favorites etc). Again, they must speak in English in the classroom ? especially so with children. Business English for Specific Purposes (ESP) takes the EFL teacher into a range of environments. It can be the one-to-one or within an in-company corporate type of setting or within an in-school group. The range of students (clients) is enormous and can range from young adults to working professionals at every level to profession specific communities. A student teacher will find him/herself teaching one on one or in far-flung classrooms in office buildings to people who have just completed (or are beginning) a long shift at their work. Students are often tired as it must fit around their employment or their real lives and their success in your classroom is often very connected to their progress professionally. Attendance is a challenge and motivation can be hit or miss depending on how dedicated the employee is to their company and their companies requirement for English study or in regards to their own desire for their own personal goals. Adult ESP (English for Specific Purpose) students require special focus on the part of the teacher. The EFL teacher in these situations will meet personally with their students to evaluate their needs, assess the challenges and determine the student?s individual goals. While traditional EFL class students will take an assessment to determine their skills the student with specific goals requires a Needs Analysis which is a very specific kind of questionnaire and interview to determine how best to give the student success. In addition, the ESP classroom will most often cover very industry specific vocabulary (for example, working with a group of hotel workers, one would cover hotel, tourism related vocabulary) and if it were a hotel worker who works primarily with promoting the hotel they would also receive vocabulary specific to marketing. If the teacher were to interview (needs assessment) a young hotel worker who wanted to move up from working in the laundry to being the person who does the marketing, then the needs assessment would enable the instructor to gear the lessons towards the goal. When working in the business learning environment with ESP students and workers it is critical that the teacher keep the focus in the classroom, keep accurate records, never gossip and to keep the course relevant to all the students in the classroom. It is important in any professional environment, but especially so when teaching in the business environment, to maintain and operate in a very professional way. Follow through with your appointments, keep records, be disciplined, organized and focused. With all students in every learning environment it is critical that the instructor know their students culture, be thoughtful of their experiences, personal lives, challenges, skills, academic strengths and struggles. As an instructor you are dealing with individuals who have real lives, frustrations and successes. As a teacher I want my students to learn and to thrive in the learning environment and to that end it is best to see beyond the classroom as well as within it. It is also important that all teachers know their environment and know what works best for them as a teacher. A happy teacher is a good teacher and a happy teacher makes for successful and inspired students.


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