TESOL review from Polina


This TESOL review is from Polina. She is from Greece and recently completed our 120-hour online TEFL/TESOL training course right next to the beach at home. She found the course to be very interesting and learned a lot of new things. She is excited to use her new learned skills at the end of the year when she is going back to the capital city of Athens to work with new clients.

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.

This unit is based on two ESA demonstration videos. If I was a student in the first demonstration video, I would have felt intimidated and discouraged. The lesson was more teacher-centered and he also very remote. He used the phrase ?very easy? often. This can be very intimidating which would make me feel nervous about answering a question. The teacher could have engaged the students more. He jumped right into the lesson which can be confusing for a non-native English speaker. The students seem to have some knowledge of the subject area but lack overall confidence in expressing themselves. The teacher was more of a dictator rather than playing a role of a manager/ controller of the class. The way he responded to incorrect answers was very harsh and this could crush anyone?s self-esteem, resulting in a lack of motivation to learn. The students hardly participated in the lesson and this could be because of the teacher?s attitude towards them. The teacher also asks students their names very often during question time which shows a lack of rapport in the classroom. Students won?t feel comfortable with their teacher if the teacher does not show a genuine interest in them. This interest begins with knowing the names of your students. When a teacher knows your name, it makes students feel that the teacher actually cares about them and their learning. The teacher looked unfriendly and it did not seem like he was enjoying the class. He hardly made eye contact with the students. Moreover, the time he took to write on the board with his back turned to the class was too long. He should have used another method of getting the message across to students or providing that information on the board before the lesson. The students may become easily distracted as a result of this. On the other hand, the teacher?s use of voice was fair. Sometimes he was fast and not very clear but overall he was understood by majority of students. He followed a lesson plan which is good as it helps to manage time and maximize on the lesson. The topic of the lesson was clear from the beginning and he also gave additional information. He made good use of managing the class in terms of his position. This is shown when he stood while he addressed the class and sat while the students completed their worksheets. In terms of the phases of the lesson, the teacher seemed to be knowledgeable of the ESA method. In the engage stage, the teacher tried to elicit the modal auxiliary verbs from the students and after he gave examples on the board. In the study phase, he provided gap fill exercises for the students. In the activate stage, he instructed the students to create an animal and say what it can and can?t do. This allows them to experiment with the language. If I was a student in the second demonstration video, I would have enjoyed the lesson. I would feel comfortable in answering and asking questions. The teacher was very encouraging and he congratulated students for their efforts. This would increase my confidence and my motivation to learn the topic. The teacher greeted the students with a smile at the beginning of the lesson and this allowed him to receive their undivided attention. He started the lesson with a lot of energy which would make students feel comfortable and excited about the lesson ahead. He told the students his name and asked for theirs; this is good in building rapport in the classroom. There was greater student talk time (STT) than teacher talk time (TTT) in this lesson. He prompted the students during lesson activities and he also ensured equal participation. His back was not turned to the class very often which was good as this prevents distractions. He encouraged student-student interaction as the students helped each other. The video showed that the teacher used the strategy of pairing stronger students with the weaker ones. Gestures were also used a lot to explain the lesson. This was shown in his actions to explain what the different animals can do. This is a very effective strategy as students will be able to associate these actions with the animals. The classroom arrangement is a horseshoes and this shows that the teacher?s position is less dominating. This results in a more focused lesson and the students can easily interact with and help each other. The ESA method is clear and there is a smooth transition from one stage of the lesson to another. In the engage stage, the teacher starts with a game about animals to spark the student?s interest in the lesson. This game was used to drive the students? willingness to learn. The teacher then begins to show them pictures of the animals after the game. This is a very effective way to engage students. In the study stage, the teacher helped the students with pronunciation, provided gap fill exercises, asked the students questions and highlighted and drilled what they learnt throughout the activity. In the activate stage, the teacher was able to help students experiment with the language by asking them to create an animal and say what it can and can?t do. Lesson two was more effective as more effort was made in the lesson structure, the teacher was more engaging, he provided clear instructions and the lesson was more student-centered. The student-centered type of lesson is what is encouraged in today?s TEFL classroom. Although lesson two was more effective, it could be improved by allowing both students who are a part of the pair to speak on their animal. This will encourage greater equal participation.