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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:
The importance of a tefl certificate is realized on completion. The tefl certificate outlines how prepositions, conjunctions, nouns, verbs, and adverbs all function together. Like any language, english is commonly used unconsciously for communication. There are so many aspects to the english language you never think of, and so many pieces of grammar you use everyday that never occur to you. The tefl certificate highlights the building blocks of the language, and makes the user conscious of how one idea is constructed and conveyed. Without this knowledge one couldn't teach the difference between American english to British english—let alone cultivate a linguistic understanding among Mandarin speakers. The tefl program tests the student on the
corners of the english language. The certificate links the native speaker to their grammatical roots. It makes the language whole. Along with a healthy review of grammar, the tefl program also offers an understanding of what it is like to teach in a classroom; more specifically, a foreign classroom. It forces the student to develop a firm understanding of lesson plan writing, goal setting and patience. With a firm base understanding of grammar, comes the realization that it will take a long time for students to understand, perhaps fluently, the total meaning of what one is trying to say, especially if said idea is more than just a simple sentence. It also helps highlight a cultural bias. As an American completing the certificate from a European company, a lot of the ideas seemed foreign to me. In Unit 17 an example about clothing vocabulary was illustrated through the use of palace guards. The idea of a palace or guards was not new to me, but it was
foreign. Later in the lesson, the student was asked to choose an article that would engage english language learners. Before then, it never occurred to me how ones national upbringing could influence their ability to learn a language. The tefl certificate helps outline what it is like to teach in a foreign classroom, and illustrates the cultural bias that should be planned for in every lesson plan. Furthermore, the tefl program offers insight to what it is like to be a teacher. In Unit 10, students were assigned to watch an instructional video on classroom style and etiquette. The video showed two teaching styles, one engaging another restrained. The difference in students reactions was astounding: When the professor smiled and walked around the room, students learned and participated. But, when the professor was low-energy and merely stuck to the lesson plan, the students were unengaged and seemed to criticize the professor. This video highlighted how ones attitude can
impact the students. It also illustrated how important it was to truly understand english grammatical systems. In the unengaged teaching style, one of the students asked a question about a conjunction, and the teacher couldn't answer. He told the student the words were the same, although everyone seemed to know that was not correct. The confidence in the teacher immediately drained from the student's faces. This unit directly illustrated the relationship and impact a professor can have on students learning styles. It showed what it was like to teach english in a foreign country.
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