The TEFL on-line course has taught me so much with regards to my own understanding of the english language, how to teach the language, how to plan lessons, how to interact with the students, and to make the teaching efficient, interesting, and enjoyable.
Much of what I knew of the grammar and rules of the english language had been with an unconscious level of understanding that had developed through experience, and not with a true appreciation for the mechanics behind the structure. As I learned more about the grammar, I realized some common mistakes that I had been making. I will use this new appreciation for the english language during my lessons, being careful not to revert to speaking to the students using improper phrasing. Also, I will teach the students about grammar and structure, using this new insight, so that they can avoid making any of the mistakes that native english speakers often make themselves.
I have learned much about the planning of lessons and the implementation of the lesson plans during the class. The TELF method of teaching, using an engage, study, and activate stage, is completely new to me. The structure of the lesson into 3 or more stages is a very effective and useful way to teach material
in a structured and balanced format. The lessons provide a good balance between teacher and student talk time, while providing the opportunity for the students to be involved, interact, and to practice using the new language. Also, it is very importance to plan lessons that are interesting and fun for the students so that they remain engaged, and more likely to contribute to the discussions. The use of real objects such as pictures is very useful as prompts, topics for discussion, or the basis of activities. When using real objects, the teacher can minimize explanations, and avoid much of the confusion associated with complicated and lengthy descriptions. The teacher should use short, clear, and simple language when addressing the students, and ask the students questions to ascertain whether they have understood the instructions.
I have also learned that the teacher is not alone; there are vast amounts of material in published books, the internet, and school resource collections that may be utilized to help plan and build successful lessons. The teacher can use the teaching experience of others to improve his or her teaching abilities. Many great teaching ideas and activities can be found in these materials
which can be chosen to suite any language level or teaching point. Much of this material has been tried and tested in real classrooms, and have displayed successful results. I will make great use of resource books, ESL chat rooms, and on-line activities to keep my lessons fresh, interesting, fun, and productive. Prior to beginning my TEFL training, I did not realize the expanse of material available to ESL teachers all over the world. I believe a teacher who doesn’t occasionally access these resources will quickly fall into a predictable and boring routine.
Overall, the TEFL on-line course has been very rewarding. It has taught me about myself as well as the aspects related to the student. The knowledge of the various language levels and types of student groups, such as young and adult learners, multilingual and monolingual classes, independent learners, and business groups, have given me the ability to better understand the different needs of the students, and how to plan classes that are best suited to each group. Activities can be planned that meet the specific interests of the class, and the students can be motivated thru age relevant activities. The practice of organizing students into pairs or groups, when completing activities or assignments, is extremely useful to encourage the students to practice the use of the english language, to make assignments more fun and enjoyable, and to allow the students to help each other when learning new material. I will employ group work
activities as much as possible, while encouraging humor, fun, and competition. It is very important that the students feel they are in a comfortable and relaxed environment. They must be encouraged to participate and never be made to feel afraid to offer
answers due to embarrassment or self-confidence issues. All comments by the teacher should be constructive and encouraging. I look forward to employing all that I have learned when I finally get to teach my first class of students.