This TEFL review is from Karyna who is currently teaching abroad. She is from the Ukraine and recently took our 120-hour online TEFL/TESOL course as she is a young teacher and wanted to gain a new qualification for your professional development. She enjoyed the course a lot and was able to use the new skills in her classroom abroad while taking the course. This way, she saw quick improvements in her teaching skills and, thus, recommend this course to all new teachers out there.
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 gives specific details on the types of groups that a teacher might come across with. The first type of group that it discusses are beginners. They are generally classified into five categories: absolute beginners, false beginners, adult beginners, young beginners and beginners without Roman alphabet. Teachers of this type of group should be aware of the students´ needs and adapt their teaching methodologies to these needs as much as possible. Working with this level requires patience and it is very important to have an appropriate pace that is not too fast as to confuse and discourage the students nor too slow as to undermine their abilities and take away the challenge that comes with learning a language. It is very important to speak loudly and clearly, do as much explaining as possible and use a variety of visual aids to support explanations. One of the most important habits is to avoid using the mother tongue of the students and encourage them to use as much English as possible.
The second kind of group that the unit addresses are students who receive private or individual classes. These classes will be structured to meet the specific needs of the individual student and thus, it will be easier to measure the progress of one single student instead of a whole group. In these types of classes, students are usually higly motivated and needs can be cleary defined in order to structure the content of the class. However, it can have certain disadvantages such as risking to lose the dynamism of the class and being prone to tiredness as all of the attention is focused on one student. In addition, some activities are harder to adapt to a 1 student class since they are designed to involve a greater number of students.
The third kind of group discussed in the unit are children. Teaching children is definitely a challenging task that requires a lot of energy and creativity, but it can also be very rewarding. Children´s innate curiosity, motivation and imagination are of great help to the succesful development of the class activities. Sometimes it is easier to get children interested in playing games and singing songs than it is with adults. Some skills that a teacher should put into practice when teaching children are using a slower and more clearly pronounced delivery, using a higher pitch and exaggerated intonation, using lots of repetition, doing as much reference as possible to the child and his/her context and life and finally, giving positive responses to the child´s utterances. They psychological perspective of teaching children is of great inmportance and will thus require a lot of patient repetition, positive encouragement and reward-giving from the teacher. It will also require a great deal of variety and creativity in regards to the planned activities, considering that the attention span of a child is much lower than that of an adult.
The unit introduces a third kind of group which are the students who want to learn English with a focus on business. The students of this type of class will be looking to learn English for a specific purpose, often related to their profession. Many teachers are afraid of teaching business English as they have the misconception that if they don´t have a profound knowledge on the student´s profession, they will not be able to help them. They type of language that learners need is usually in areas such as making telephone calls, introductions, presentations, etc. One of the biggest challenges of teaching business classes is that they will usually be very tired due to work and family matters and will often be distracted with phone calls or the need to step out of the classroom if their job requires them to do so. It is important for teachers to be patient and empathic in this case and add flexibility to their lessons, avoiding habits such as giving them too much grammar or having them do activities that are too complex and would be more suitable for students who don´t have as many responsibilities, are more energetic and have fresher minds.
The unit introduces the concept of the needs analysis which can come in the form of a questionnaire or can be discussed in conversation with the students. The purpose of the needs analysis is to get an idea of the past learning experience of the students, as well as their specific objectives. This will help the teacher prepare the content of future lessons in order to meet the needs of the students and teach them content that will actually be useful. It might be hard to cover all of the students´each and every need, but the teacher will have a good idea on what concepts to address in order to help them as much as possible.
The last kind of group that is addressed in the unit are the monolingual and multilingual classes. In multilingual classes, students are from different nationalities and English will usually be the language that they have in common. This is very useful since the students will be forced to speak in English. The variety in cultures also allows to have interesting cultural perspectives and ideas to encourage conversation, debate and participation. The disadvantage of multilingual classes is that the type of problems that students have with language will vary a lot and students will have different ways of learning. Monolingual classes on the other hand, usually take place in the studens´ home country and therefore, most of them will share a common mother tongue. The positive side of this is that they will usually share the same problems of understanding and therefore the teacher can tackle these problems more easily. In some cases, when students do not understand the explanation of the teacher, they can resort to the explanation of their classmates. The negative side of students having a common mother tongue is that they quickly resort to speaking it rather than using English because it is easier and they might feel strange to be talking to a classmate in another language that is not their maternal tongue.