Fernando is originally from Buenos Aires but spent the past 12 years working in the United States. As he has now returned to Argentina, he wants to become an English teacher. In his TESOL review he shares his thoughts on the center in Buenos Aires. He learned a lot regarding teaching techniques and lesson planning. He is confident that he can now lead his own classroom and is excited to start working as an English
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.
Whether you are an experienced tutor or about to undertake your very first lesson, you want to make a positive first impression, get the student underway on their learning journey, and lets face it ? schedule follow-on lessons.
The purpose of this blog post is to give you pointers and things to think about to get the most out of the first lesson.
1. Preparation, preparation, preparation
Find out as much as you can about the student and their problem before the first lesson. Confirm the subject and topics they need help with, the level, exam board and syllabus. Remember to ask them to bring all relevant course materials such as textbooks to the first tutoring lesson so that you can work out together exactly how much course content you need to cover.
Remember to agree a firm date, time and location. It doesn?t hurt to call them the day before and confirm that the lesson is still going ahead.
2. Create the right environment
Arrange for a quiet place for your lesson, somewhere with no distractions like television. You need to be able to sit alongside the student. Remember to bring all of the teaching materials you need ? also bring extra stationery, just in case the student forgets to bring some of their own.
3. Put the student at ease
Start off by introducing yourself. Tell them about your background and explain why you love your subject. Be professional and friendly, and remember to remind them that you are there to help them and that literally no question they may ask is stupid or silly.
Get them to tell you something about themselves, maybe their families or things that they like and enjoy outside of school. If they are interested in football for example, you may be able to weave this into maths lessons, so keep your ears open.
4. Establish what?s the problem
Is your student excellent at humanities but daunted by mathematics or the sciences? Are they quick at solving mathematical problems but not so great at expressing themselves? Let them tell you what their problems are. Listen carefully, remembering to ask ?why? as this will help you get to the root cause of their problem.
Remember that there are educational tools and methods out there that may be able to help you. For example, if the student has difficulty with memorising large chunks of information then why not introduce them to mind maps. These are great as they are a visual tool which can used to synthesise large bodies of information. They rely on the use of keywords, drawings and even photographs to improve your student?s ability to recall key concepts.
If concentration is an issue, then do not plough on with the lesson, as they are likely to lose interest. Why not consider using teaching styles such as Spaced Learning, which involves interspersing 10-minute learning sessions (in which the tutor presents students with new information) with 10-minute physical activities such as a short run or playing a game. I know that it may sound off the wall, but Spaced Learning is getting extremely positive reviews from teachers, parents and students alike.
5. Getting through to the student
Students process information in different ways. Some learners are reflective; they need time to mentally digest new information; others are active ? they like to learn by doing things. For instance, they might prefer to drive by actually getting in a car and starting the motor, rather than spend time leafing through instruction manuals first; reflective learners will prefer the complete opposite.
Understanding how your student learns can be a really useful way to find the best way to tutor them. You can work with them to workout their learning style. Why not ask the student to complete the Sunburst questionnaire, as it doesn?t take long and will allow you to understand quickly what will work best for the student.
6. Prepare a Study Plan
Once you have established the problem areas, you can draft a detailed plan of what you want to cover, and how much time you need to cover each topic / sub-topic. Provide a copy to the student so they, too, know the pace at which they need to learn key concepts. This helps manage expectations and remind them that Rome isn?t built in a day.
7. Make it interesting and fun
Nobody wants tutoring to be dull and boring.
If you are teaching a humanities-based subject like history, why not enlighten them with interesting information that they may never have known about historical figures. Sharing facts and interesting anecdotes may help make key historical figures and events real.
8. Give them homework
It never is too early to encourage students to prepare for the next session!
From the very first class, assign your student work that covers both previously learned material and introduces them to the next topic. Whenever you can, try to make the homework as practical and engaging as you can. Try not to rely completely on text book-and-pen exercises why not try interviews, film reviews and internet searches?
9. Schedule the next lesson
If the lesson went well, and the student is happy then you should be looking to book follow on lessons. These will be easier to remember if you keep the day, time and location the same.
Improving listening skills
A valuable audio-visual aspect is provided to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners by native-speaker-produced CDs and DVDs. Speech and cultural elements can be illustrated or demonstrated using authentic audio-visual materials such as movie clips and documentaries, student-produced recordings and TV programs or commercials, among many others.
Audio cassettes or CD ? ROMs
A wide range of CDs and DVDs exist to provide native speech modeling of different speaking, pronunciation, national and regional English accents. Multiple varieties of English are commonly used throughout the world and having examples of these by which learners can be exposed to the differences in spoken English will be helpful in demonstrating pronunciation variables. Online, over-the-air and cable radio broadcasts can be especially effective and are readily available in much of the world.
Online Audio and Video
Increasingly, institutes of higher learning are making integrated online materials available to learners. These may consist of spoken dialogues, video dialogues, short stories, interactive games, poems, rhymes and riddles, spoken grammar, connected speech examples, movie clips, interviews, documentaries and even pronunciation lists.