- On 11 April 2019
- Tags TEFL Florence
Teach English the way you would want to be taught another language
Let’s start brainstorming the qualities of an effective teacher: supportive, clear, empathetic, flexible, creative, human, enthusiastic, passionate, and the list goes on. We have all struggled with certain subjects and we have all had teachers who were effective in their ability to motivate and get through to us in the most frustrating of times. On the contrary, we have had the teachers who were not able to demonstrate empathy or support when we most needed it, leaving us feeling deflated. None of us wants to be the latter teacher!
One of the best ways to approach language teaching is from an empathetic perspective. Have you studied a foreign language? If so, how did you learn best? What did your teacher do to make the lessons clear and digestible? This is not to say that every student learns like you do, but below are some of the fundamental ways that quality, empathetic language teachers ensure that students grasp the material.
Good language teachers…
… move slowly through material: It is counter-productive to speed through 10 units of a textbook as a measurement for how much students are learning if the students are not given adequate amount of time to absorb, review, and practice with the new material.
… repeat themselves: Students need a lot of repetition and have many questions - and oftentimes the same questions they already asked, which requires patience. Reflect back on a time when a subject was difficult for you and how much repetition you needed. Furthermore, it is best to eliminate the thought that your students are going to get bored with repeating material, as the material does not feel as “repetitive” to your students as it does to you.
… teach the same material in a variety of ways:Students differ in the way they learn best and they often prefer to learn in different ways, too. Good teachers know that a variety of activities saves their lessons from stagnation while also appealing to the different learning styles of their students. Do you consider yourself more of a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Now think back on your study habits and activities in the classroom that made the material “stick” for you, be it lectures, conversation, games, videos, audio clips, or written exercises.
… seek feedback from students and implement it: While teachers need to assert themselves and exude confidence, they do not need to know everything nor do they need to pretend that their lessons are flawless. It is essential to check in with students from time to time to see how the lessons are going for them and to find out what their students would like to do more or less of. The challenging part then is to decipher between what feedback should and should not be implemented, leading to compromise with students, which creates a more comfortable environment for everyone.
BBC Learning English focuses much more on pronunciation than many other ESL/EFL websites. Here, students and teachers can find interactive pronunciation activities so students can practice speaking more clearly and fluidly. Like the other sites listed above, BBC Learning English also has lessons in the other skill areas.