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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Before taking this course I had been teaching conversation english
for over 4 years. I have already implemented many aspects that I have learned from this course.
Some areas I was very weak in and it has helped me strengthen those areas. Other areas, where I felt I was strong, the course either helped me strengthen them more or confirmed what I was already practicing. There were other areas that I was doing the wrong thing and while studying this course it shined a light on what I was doing wrong. I was slowly able to change the direction of what I was doing. Now I feel that I am a better teacher
and that my students are getting the best education that I can help them achieve.
The students in my classes seem to be doing better now and enjoying the classes more. One of the mistakes I was making was to always pair the same people together, and I always paired them with someone that was of the similar level. Another area that I have improved in is when to correct student mistakes. Before I treated the whole class as one continuous flowing activity that didn't have different structure to different tasks, I would correct mistakes evenly, no matter what kind of activity we were doing. But now I am able to break the class up into more interesting tasks, and the students understand what is happening in the different tasks too. They understand that at certain times they are to try hard to communicate as much as possible without fear of being admonished or corrected (unless necessary), they also realize that when doing certain activities (study phases) the focus is on being almost 100% correct by the end of the activity, and that I am there to help them as much as needed. But that they only need to concentrate on what we are specifically studying, not expanding on it like we do in activate and engage activities.
Another area that I was making mistakes was using the native language. It was too easy for me to be lazy and just give the students the translation of vocabulary instead of working harder at working together to figure it out. Now that I have weaned myself off of that habit, students are progressing a little faster.
Some of the things that I was strong in and were reinforced by this course were classroom management, discipline, positive vs. negative reinforcement, use of authentic materials, course books, evaluations, and pronunciation.
All in all it has been a very interesting course. It has helped me quite a bit with my teaching styles and lesson plans. It has reinforced things I knew and helped me recognize things I was doing wrong.