Know your theory, but be practical too

Teaching English is hard, but highly rewarding for many. However, it is important for every teacher to know both the theory and the practical elements of teaching English as a second or foreign language. 

Many courses which teach TEFL are now hands on and full of practical activities that teachers can use in the classroom. But despite this drive, it’s important to get as much experience as teaching as possible – see my previous post on tips for doing just that (which are applicable anywhere these where for a year abroad).

Always ensure that your approach in the language classroom is learner centered. Emily Bennet, a TEFL teacher in Peru says, “Nobody wants to learn grammar, so try and make the activities as engaging as possible as possible, no powerpoints without explanations, give multiple examples of everything so that they understand.”

Students are always at the forefront of Emily’s mind when she plans her lessons.

“Have every second of your class planned, and even some backup material just in case the student moves at a faster pace then expected, there is nothing less professional than a teacher who doesn’t know how to fill their class time, regardless of the reason.” Emily puts all her theory into practice.

One way of continuing to learn and add to your teaching is by observing classes. Below is an article from an academic who observed a lesson which took place at the University of Bari in Italy.

The report has a two pronged focus: the use of the teacher led approach (compensated for by the student initiative) and the use of the Grammar Translation method. The Grammar Translation method normally means that the language classroom will become bilingual, which contradicts the favoured approach of both academics and teachers themselves.

“I would never use Spanish in the classroom,” Emily states categorically. This report aims to demonstrate that the theory will most definitely lead into the practical for a better learning experience for all.


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