If you’re keen to be an inspirational EFL teacher and help your students make great progress, it’s good to know there are some worthwhile steps you can take to make the learning experience is first class.
Here is an overview of some of the essentials to remember when leading a class.
1. Set the scene
Arrange your class tables and chairs in a horseshoe shape at the start, where possible, so everyone has equal access to the board and the teacher. It helps communication and means students cannot hide at the back. Students can still move for group and pair work.
Lead the class with a warm-up game or enjoyable activity that gets them talking early.
This helps break down barriers to speaking, gets engagement with English going and relaxes the class. If you can relate this ‘warmer’ to the theme of the lesson, even better. Here's some more great TEFL warmers sure to get your class going.
2. Check students have the key language necessary for the task
It may mean you need to teach/refresh some grammar
, or you may need to explain difficult vocabulary from a reading text before they read. Explaining difficult words beforehand will help the reading ‘flow’, stop them getting distracted by unknown words and ensure you need only explain these terms once rather than multiple times to individuals. We call this pre-teaching and if you can ensure the whole class is engaged, they’ll be equipped with some essential language for the activities ahead.
3. Allow plenty of time for students to practice English together
Follow a reading/listening/writing task with a pair or group work task. This ensures students get to use the language you have taught actively.
Pair or group work activities might include communication games based on the theme, tasks where they have to agree on something, expressing opinions, guessing or prediction tasks, songs, role-plays, debates or discussions. Whatever you choose, always ensure you allow plenty of student talking/communication time; a common error new teachers make is talking too much and over-explaining.
4. Correct errors
Always correct mistakes but do so sensitively. While students are talking in pairs or groups, for example, you can monitor unobtrusively, taking notes to correct together as a class at the end of an activity. Consider writing up the mistakes on the board and elicit the correct answer from the class. Some teachers always include this correction slot at the end of classes. See more here on how to correct errors in the EFL classroom.
5. Encourage students to use English outside of class
A couple of lessons per week will not transform your students’ English. Instead, classes should be seen as a stimulus for real use. So, give students something meaningful to do in between English classes. If possible, have them report back next time on an English task you set them (this really focuses the mind) or have them write up a dialogue they had in class as consolidation, for example. There are also many great English podcasts, YouTube videos or sites you can refer them to for practise. Some teachers have even set up a Facebook group, posting a question a week and getting conversations going online between classmates. When they use their new English in ‘real life’, it can be really motivating and do wonders for their progress.
These are five essential things to remember when you are leading your next EFL class. We go into much more depth on the role of the teacher, materials for classes, grammar and teaching the basic skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing in our accredited, online TESOL courses. Why not take a look?
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