This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
In my research I have come across a lot of great tips and reminders on how to succeed in teaching a group of beginner students. Starting off the lesson right I have found how important it is to befriend your students and get to know each one of them individually. Developing a rapport with them and letting them see your personality is so. This puts them at ease and helps them to view you as a person they can talk to rather than a superior they are intimidated by. Being friendly and starting off with a smile can go a long way. Adding humor, laughter, and energy to the teaching approach will keep the students attentive. Of course the whole lesson can't be laughing and joking there still needs to be structure and direction, but the point I really appreciated in my research was remembering that laughter and smiling is a universal language and this builds trust in one another.
Ways to introduce conversational english into the lesson, I found, is by making the most of interruptions and real daily life occurrences that the students are experiencing. For instance, if a student has a sick child or family member allow that situation to build a lesson on by discussing medical topics and ways to communicate at the doctor's office. Or if a student is late because of car problems or public transportation, use that information to gear the lesson off of - learning bus routes in english and learning car language to use with a mechanic. The importance of this tip is to be spontaneous and be ready to adapt and change the pre-planned lesson.
I also found a great tool that has proved successful and that is incorporating music and sound into your lesson plan. The power of sound can really captivate your students and make the learning fun and interesting. The point was brought out that by using music it can take away feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment and it will encourage the students to open their mouths and relax.
The power of repetition has been mentioned over and over and over in every research article I have read. Which I agree, I think repetition has power and is very effective. Beginners who are just being exposed to the language need things to be spoken slowly, clearly, and well enunciated. Then on top of that they need it to be repeated so that they can get each word. Sometimes things may need to be repeated 3 or 4 times, but the time and effort putting into it will pay off in helping the student.
The last point that I found very vital is knowing a little of the students native tongue, just a few words or phrases. I have heard mixed opinions on whether this is a good idea or not. The article I read that I really enjoyed brought out that by using a few words or phrases in their tongue can help you to get across your point and thus can be very beneficial in helping the students to grasp the point. I think this is a good idea for students who are starting from scratch, but I do think the native language should not be used in the Engage or Activate parts of the lessons only in the Study portion and only when necessary.
Doing this research has really given me some me practical and sound guidance from ones who have and/or are currently teaching english to beginner students. The points are tested and proved from their personal experience, and now I can test and prove to see what works best for me and my teaching methods.
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