Practical Teaching Tips

teacher_training1.jpgA few of the most important practical tips I’ve come across in TEFL:

Don’t talk with your back to the class. Face them and speak clearly and loudly enough. They are already dealing with a foreign language; don’t make them struggle to hear you as well.

Don’t expect anything to be intuitive. Explain what you want students to do…even if they think they know. I’ve had to explain the concepts of tic-tac-toe, bingo and board games.

Give instructions before handing out papers. The next time you are a member of an audience or class, watch what happens when the speaker or teacher gives out papers. People start reading and stop listening.

Don’t coddle people who are late. Of course, especially if you are teaching adults, know that things come up. People have lives and families and responsibilities outside of English class, and there’s no reason to be rude. But everyone paid for a certain number of hours and the majority of your students came on time. Don’t waste their time by repeating everything you’ve done because a few people come in late. Students will realize they do need to come on time if they want to get everything.

Make an effort to simplify and elicit or guide students…but if they don’t know what you are getting at, tell them. You will get better at “showing not telling” and coming up with examples so they can deduce rules, and they will get better at doing this with practice. But it doesn’t always happen automatically, and that’s okay.

Create a pleasant learning environment. People need to learn grammar and vocabulary but you are not going to teach them everything there is to know about English in 45 hours. People don’t learn if they feel nervous, bored, or awkward. Be to the point, practice grammar, check homework, but be friendly and personable too.

If you’re teaching adults, remember that they are … adults. Don’t confuse English language ability with maturity level.