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How Teachers Can Increase Their Confidence in the ClassroomEnglish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and is the most widely used second language, unifying the world within such areas as science, commerce, aviation, and the internet (1). It is therefore a very important language to teach, and TEFL (Teaching english as a Foreign Language) teachers are in demand all around the world. But teaching EFL can be challenging, and to teach it effectively you must have confidence in your abilities to give your students the best. In this essay we'll look at several ways a EFL teacher can increase their confidence in the classroom and be better able to help their students along the path of becoming successful english speakers. The first way a teacher can increase their confidence in the classroom is through adequate preparation. If you walk into a classroom without proper preparation you often find ourself flustered or confused on what to do next, or where a particular activity was going. It's vital that you plan out everything beforehand so you not only know what you'll be doing in the class step by step, but also where each lesson is going as a whole and how it fits into the overall stream of lessons. To do this you can use a lesson plan where you record such things as your objectives for the class, what materials you'll need to bring, your personal goals as well as goals for the class, troubleshooting ideas, and an outline for the class and what activities you'll do. Not only does this give you a guide during the class, but it also helps you keep continuity from class to class and keep a record of what you've already done. You don't have to always follow the plan rigidly, you should do what seems best for the class. But it will greatly increase your confidence in front of your students if you know what you're doing, where you're going, and what you expect of them (2). The second way a teacher can increase their confidence in the classroom is through better knowledge of the english language. Yes, english might be your native language and you might have been speaking it your whole life, but do you know the rules of your language? Do you know the why it is one way and not a different way? You can't teach something you don't understand yourself, and an instinctual based answer of “I don't know, that's just the way it is” to a question on a point of grammar will not help your students or increase your confidence in yourself. As with any subject, you should know it well before you try to each it. Therefore it's critical to learn at least the basic rules of grammar and pronunciation (phonology) (3). Remember, you'll be teaching people who have not been surrounded and immersed in english from birth, and so don't have an instinctive knowledge of how things are done. They will need to be taught rules that they can follow, and you'll have to know those rules yourself in order to teach them. Giving yourself a firm foundation in the rules of grammar and phonology will greatly increase your confidence in the classroom and you'll be assured that you can provide your students with the knowledge they need to speak the language effectively. Using these two important methods (lesson planning and knowing the rules of the english language), you will go far in improving your confidence in the classroom. In the end, however, it comes down to practice, practice, and more practice. The more you teach, the better you'll become and the more confident in your abilities and methods. It will always be frightening at first, and certain kinds of students (very young students or monolingual students for example) can be especially challenging to someone new at teaching (4). But if you have a plan and a firm knowledge of the rules you'll be teaching, you'll have the confidence in the classroom you need to effectively teach your students the english language, and open up their future to a world of opportunities. Bibliography (1) http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/most_spoken_languages.htm (2) TEFL Unit 9: Lesson Planning (3) TEFL Unit 2: Parts of Speech and Unit 13: Teaching Pronunciation and Phonology (4) TEFL Unit 19: Teaching Special Groups