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Andrews, South Carolina TESOL Online & Teaching English Jobs
The first issue we may need to troubleshoot with a class is the first lesson itself. In order to ensure students are engaged and ready to learn, it is a good idea to take stock of the student's levels, get everyone introduced and begin with something entertaining rather than intimidating. If the group is new to EFL, it may also be a good time to lay the basic ground rules (English only, school rules etc). A student survey or game where information about the students is collected/reported can help a teacher to both get everyone introduced and hear the levels of English being used. A variety of other activities can be used to get students working in English without letting it become a book lesson. Sometimes a teacher ends up with a group of mixed levels. While this is not ideal, there are several methods of dealing with potential issues. One common way is to have stronger students paired with and helping weaker students. This keeps both occupied and engaged, and encourages communication. It is important to ensure the stronger student does not simply do the work for the weaker student, however. If there are obvious lines in a class, it is also possible to divide the class into two groups and have them do tasks appropriate to each level. This is teacher-intensive, as energy will be divided between the groups and can make it more like teaching two classes at once. It is also possible to adapt many activities so there are levels of work in the task itself, or additional tasks for those at a higher level or who finish early. Large classes are a challenge as getting all students to participate in a meaningful way may take too long with activities that work in smaller groups. Worksheets, group or pair work, and choral repetition can all work well. Having the class break into smaller groups with a group leader for each can facilitate things like discussions or presentation work. It is also key to ensure all students can see/hear when presenting i large classes. There are several other problems that may arise within any given class. The use of a common language other than English can be caused by a difference in English ability and something a student needs to express, which may tell the teacher more attention needs to be paid to pre-teaching vocabulary and structure. Some students may be reluctant to participate or even disruptive. Often this is caused by fear or boredom, and sometimes motivation (students who did not choose to take the class itself). Students who lack confidence in their ability may simply not participate and can be given either more practice and help to improve confidence, or perhaps alternative ways of presenting their learning so it is less "public" to other students who may judge them. Students who disrupt class may be bored and need more challenge, or there may be issues beyond the teacher's control (issues at home, lack of self-awareness). The most important thing here is to not make threats about discipline that won't be upheld.Empty threats rarely encourage good behaviour. Trying to figure out a way to fully engage the student, perhaps even by asking them directly before or after class, may help.
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