New EFL teacher? 7 Great ideas for class success

New EFL teacher? 7 Great ideas for class success

As a new or prospective English teacher, there is a lot to learn about organising a successful TEFL class. We’ve selected 7 top tips to help you succeed in the early days of your teaching career. There’s plenty here about building great habits and inspiring your students so read on and prepare for success.

1. Find out needs and English level in lesson one
This will help you prepare relevant material and pitch it at the correct level for future classes. It needn’t feel like a test. Instead, one simple idea is as follows. Ask each learner ask their partner:

  • why they need English
  • what they like to talk about in English
  • the thing they find most difficult in English

Then get each pair to stand up and introduce their partners’ needs to the class. You can take notes and get a feel of their oral English level at the same time.

2. Prepare well - be organised
As a new teacher, expect to spend at least an hour planning for each class taught. This can be laborious but preparation is really key. You are building good habits and don’t worry, you will get quicker. Store your lessons so you can recycle later.

3. Observe and prepare to be observed 

You will learn so much by watching other teachers. Do ask a teacher you respect if they will observe you. Yes, it can make you nervous (who likes being watched?) but tell yourself how fortunate you are to have some extra feedback; anything learned should serve to make you a better teacher. 

4. Self-evaluate
Ask yourself questions at the end of each lesson like:

  • Can they say more when now than when they came in?  
  • Did all students get a chance to communicate in English? 
  • Was the pitch of material right? 

Whether your lesson was great or didn't quite go according to plan, building in this pattern of self-evaluation means you are continually trying to improve on the last lesson given. 

5. Encourage learning outside of class
Think of English classes as a springboard for your students to practise English outside classes. Inspire your students to keep learning outside class. Explain this is the best way to improve, even if they only have a spare hour or two a week. To help, always give homework as preparation for the next class or to consolidate a lesson. Inform students of great sites where they can practise listening/reading on their own and get students to feed back to the class on other English sites they have used. If you and your class like social media, consider setting up a Facebook group where you might post something interesting in English for students to communicate on.

6. Create a store of useful material
Collect ‘realia’ (real items such as menus, transport or simple street maps, family photos etc.). You’ll be glad you did, especially if moving to teach somewhere remote. Additionally, start getting a list together of great free or cheap online English lesson resources for instant lessons at your fingertips.

7. Prepare plenty of communication practice activities
As a new teacher, it is likely you will talk too much. Where possible, explain quickly, set up a task or tasks, then step back to let them complete it in pairs or groups. You can monitor, prompt and listen for corrections while they complete the tasks. There is more on how to create lesson plans that work in our online TESOL courses.


Over to you

  • If you are a teacher, why not add your tips for the new teacher below?
  • Join in the discussion in our friendly Facebook group
  • Ask Louisa a question on any aspect of English teaching. 

Louisa Walsh, Course Director, Global English TESOL

  • Author: Louisa Walsh
  • Date: 23/03/2016

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New EFL teacher? 7 Great ideas for class success