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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:
ClassroomManagementSince the induction of structured education, various systems of classroom management have become integral to an instructor’s method in relating to the students and conveying the lessons and materials covered in the course. In no other education system is classroom management as integral as with an instructor teaching TEFL courses abroad. The instructor, under the pressure of being overseas and facing a certain language barrier, must put in the effort to form a positive rapport with the students to head off any potential for behavioral problems. Student disrespect toward an instructor’s authority could lead to a situation that disrupts the class, leaving a teacher frustrated and the other students in the unfair position of being deprived of a proper learning experience.
Fortunately, there are methods an instructor can employ toward the ultimate goal of forming bonds with the students as the foundation of a positive encounter in learning the english language, such as those described by Thomas McDaniel in the article “A Primer on Classroom Discipline: Principles Old and New”. The need for discipline within a classroom environment is key as the first step in forming the mutual respect between an instructor and the students, no matter the language level or age of the students enlisted. As with most TEFL courses, the instructor is a native english speaker likely transplanted from a western country such as the united states
, the U.K. or Australia. Whichever country the instructor hails from, it is likely that they will be unfamiliar with the customs and cultural norms of the country in which they have been enlisted to teach english, and as such there may be greater difficulty in communicating with students. In the case of an instructor being a guest in the host country, it would be prudent to look into guide books and seek advisement on how to behave when interacting with the students. The effort invested into adapting to the culture of the host country would be recognized by the students and appreciated, going toward the realization that it is a learning experience on both ends.
After becoming usefully informed of the culture of the host country, one technique essential in managing a classroom is that of focusing attention on the lesson from the start of the class, rather than simply waiting for the student chatter to die down or worse, attempting to talk over students still talking to their desk neighbors. By gaining the students’ immediate attention and focusing it toward the lesson, the instructor can begin the class with a firm establishment of authority in the eyes of the student body.
Open communication with the instructor will foster trust in the students and they will be more forthcoming with any difficulties they face in the course. Once the students begin to understand that the instructor will not admonish them if their understanding of a text or assignment is not immediate, their appreciation of the teacher and the course itself will grow, as will their development of skills.
With the concept of classroom management, the majority of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the instructor. As the figure of authority, the instructor must put forth the effort to enrich the learning experience of the students.