This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
I guess I'm like so many of the new teachers and those who have been teaching for a while. I was terrified at the beginning of the school year. I come from the era in the US when they taught diagramming sentences and such. I can't remember actually learning grammar rules. Talking with one of my co-teachers (also from the US), she agreed that that is a lacking topic in schools.
This year I've learned a lot about me and my teaching style. I need to make changes as I am a deductive type and should employ inductive style. My military back ground has had an influence in that area. I have thoroughly enjoyed this year and look forward to next year (as now I have a vague idea of what to do).
I my class room and the academy I work for we use games and fun activities to teach. This is not always easy for me. Some games work in one class and not the other (even if they are the same age and level).
I have found that most of my students struggle with –ed pronunciation and word beginning with s. Tense or rules that students here have a difficult time with are Conditionals and the Past/Present perfect rules. We spend a lot of time covering those areas.
Almost all of my classes are two hour sessions. So the first hour is dedicated to speaking and activating the topic of day, usually I know where they are in there course book so that is the focus in class.
My class structure for teaching usually goes like this. Always start with a warmer/speaking exercise (5-10m). Then 2 – 3 games for the grammar point. Popular games here are Jeopardy, scavenger hunts, bingo, 3 or 4 columns (one column will be a tense, verb, noun, article). We drill verbally a lot, speaking is very important in the first hour as we work grammar knowledge in the second hour.
There is times when the students come to class with a request for a specific topic as they have a test coming up before their next class, so we will focus on learning grammar needed for the exam.
Error correcting in class, I always like to see if they will self correct or one of the other students will help them. If not then I stop them and have them say it correctly. We all repeat three times. One of their favourite things is during and exercise everyone is listening for errors. I give a point for every error found and whoever has the most points at the end of class gets a treat. I also take points for speaking in their native tongue. They really like this because they feel they are helping each other and really helps hone their skills.
Usually in class the grammar activity lasts between 8 – 12 minutes. They are any combination of speaking, writing (on the board or paper), and listening. Listening drills are important for grammar as it gives the students the opportunity to hear different dialects. They especially struggle with certain regions of British english as that area could have a hard accent. We repeat the exercise and discuss the audio to help them understand.
There is a myriad of additional things for me to learn on teaching grammar better for my students. I am always reading and trying new ideas and the direction I receive from my boss. The long and short of it is use games and make the class as fun as possible, so that they don't feel bored. Always have spare material and games ready.
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