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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:
Thanks to this course I have learned how important it is to pay close attention to every detail in the classroom. Things that we teachers do out of habit or without a thought could mean so much to our students and affect the whole learning process a great deal. From this course I have acquired a lot of theoretical knowledge as well as plenty of practical advice on how to make the lesson the most effective. I have learned about the different roles of a teacher and that the experienced teacher must be able to switch between these roles depending on the kind of activity, stage of the lesson and learning objective. I am going to develop my skills of employing these models in order to adjust my teaching style to students’ needs. I found out about the most popular teaching methodologies. It was very interesting to know about Community Language Learning, the Silent way and Suggestopaedia. I have never practiced (nor even observed) these methods, but believe that some ideas might be quite workable if they meet the situation or the teacher feels necessary to take his/her students away from traditional lesson and have them feel more relaxed or challenged in their language learning. I am going to use the ESA method and its sequencings , as it allows the teacher to make the most out of all methodologies and be quite flexible using different activities while exposing students to the language, working on its construction and having students put it into practice. I’ll be careful with making corrections and will be mainly making them during the study phase of the lesson, and will make sure my students are speaking in the engage stage getting wormed up, thinking and speaking english. During the activate stage I’ll try to encourage my students to use the english language as creatively and communicatively as possible. I have learnt about different types of seating arrangements and the importance of a teacher’s physical presence in the classroom. I am going to vary different class groupings for different activities and lesson stages. Whole –class learning will be useful during the engage stage to warm up the students and during the study stage when I explain new material or we work together: listening to a tape, watching a video, singing a song. Pair-work and group work will be effective during the study and activate stages. Individual learning can be used during the activate and study stages. I am going to greet my students warmly, maintain the open body posture, keep eye contact, vary the intonation and pitch of my voice in order to make my instructions clear and coherent. I intend to reduce unnecessary TTT and ensure my students have enough time to activate what they have learnt during the lesson. I will demonstrate how to complete worksheets on the whiteboard before handing them out to make the task clearer. I have become more aware of the importance of lesson planning and that the teacher should devote time to thinking about the class. I used to write some of my lesson plans on pieces of sticky notes which were comprehensible only to myself. Now I have realized the importance of more detailed lesson plans and am going to use it in my daily practice. I am meaning to explain to my students the importance of developing different specialist skills while they are reading or listening to a material. It was very interesting to know about the various techniques that can be used to identify intonation and stress in the sentence, and the importance of teaching pronunciation systematically as well as other aspects of the language. I am going to expose my students to a variety of materials, authentic and created ones, and to use course books creatively: supplementing them, omitting some parts of them if they are not beneficial to the students, replacing unsuitable material with more appropriate and workable in the classroom, adapting them to answer the students’ needs. I have learnt about the importance of a needs analysis when teaching business and individual students and what it should include. I am going to develop my skills of using it and planning the programme in accordance with it. I intend to provide my students with regular feedback on their performance and to evaluate their work accurately and fairly, making sure that all the language skills (speaking, listening, writing and reading) are tested in order to monitor the students’ progress and highlight those areas that require closer attention for further study. I have gained a lot of practical advice on how to cope with difficulties that may arise during the lesson. I am grateful to the course developers who have provided us with extremely useful material which, with proper practice application, will be of enormous benefit to both teacher and students.