This TESOL review is from Ruba. She is British-Syrian and recently completed the 120-hour TEFL/TESOL course with tutor support. Choosing the tutored version of the course also allowed Ruba to receive a 50-hour course in teaching young learners free of charge. She enjoyed both courses as the material was well written and visually appealing. She also liked the FAQ page on the Website as it answered all her answers. On top of that, her personal tutor answered any question she had very promptly and she received her certificate within 5 days of completing the course program.
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.
The last unit talks about common problems and situations that teachers often face. The first situation discussed in the unit are first lessons. There is always a first lesson with each group that is taught and it is very important as it can have a lot of influence on the future relationship between the teacher and the students. In every first lesson, teachers should take their time to get to know the students. If the students don´t know each other, teachers should plan activities that will help them to get to know each other and will inspire friendship and comfort. First lessons are also an ideal moment to discuss the students´ motivations and interests and learn about their personal objectives. This will serve as very useful feedback to plan future lessons and help the students achieve their goals. Finally, first lessons offer a great opportunity to get a feeling on the students´ level and identify their strengths and their weaknesses.
The unit proceeds to discuss the topic of warmers. Warmers are a great method used by teachers at the beginnig of class. Many students will often come into the class feeling tired or in a bad mood and immediately starting the class with grammar exercises is bound to make them feel even worse. Warmers are usually fun and eganging short activities to get students thinking in English in a relaxed and enjoyable way.
One of the most difficult situations faced by teachers is having a group of students that are at different levels. There will always be students who catch on very quickly and some who have more difficulty grasping the language. It is sometimes difficult for teachers to find the right pace and the right material that will be suitable for all of the students. There are some methods that teachers can implement in order to solve the issue of varying language levels. One of them is to divide the class into the strong students and the weaker students and give different materials to each group. The material will cover the same concepts but will be suitable for each group´s level. The unit mentions another method which involves pairing strong students with weak students. Strong students can help by explaining unclear concepts or instructions to the weaker students. Both benefit as the weaker student receives help and the strong student gets to reinforce and review what he already knows. It is important however, to make sure both participate equally in activities without letting the stronger student overshadow the weaker student. Another method that the teacher can implement is simply not to do anything and give the same material to every student, allowing everyone to adapt in their own way. The only risk is that the weaker students might feel frustrated or discouraged. The teacher should be attentive to these students and encourage them to ask questions whenever they have not understood something.
An additional problem that occurs in classes of students having different levels is that the stronger students often finish the work early and are quickly bored when they have to wait for the rest of the class to finish an activity or exercise. Teachers can solve this problem by having extra material prepared for these cases. A good idea is to have word searches an other fun activities that are easy to do, don´t require additional explanation and are not introducing a new concept.
The use of the students´ native language in monolingual classes can sometimes be problematic for teachers. Students should be encouraged to use English as much as possible, but there are certain situations where they resort to their native language because they feel they cannot express themselves in English or they need to help another student who does not grasp a specific concept or instruction. Teachers can tackle this situation by using language that is appropriate for their level and giving very clear and understandable explanations. They should also motivate students to use English as much as possible, which doesn´t mean completely banning the use of their native language but encourage them to use it as little as possible. Finally, teachers should never respond to the students in their native language and never allow them to use it in speaking activities.
The unit also discusses the problem of reluctant students who do not seem willing to participate and speak during class, either for cultural reasons or for confidence issues. Teachers can resort to doing plenty of pair work in order to practice in a comfortable environment before asking the students to participate in front of the whole class. Using controlled practice is very important before expecting them to engage in fluent expression. Role-plays are also a helpful method as students sometimes feel more comfortable acting and speaking as another person than when they are speaking for themselves. Lastly, there is the method of using a tape recorder to get students to practice speaking outside of class in a comfortable environment and then obtain feedback and corrections after the teacher listens to the recordings.
Students often have trouble with listening exercises and activities and therefore, teachers prefer to practice other skills. It is a skill that should not be left aside and with time and a lot of practice, students will get used to applying it. The teacher must make sure to bring audio material that is appropriate for the group´s level and has a high quality of sound.