Teaching Tips | TEFL Jobs London

Teaching Tips

by Clara Harland

Journeying through the EFL Patchwork Quilt, piecing together work in a variety of schools, I have always found that a continuing challenge for me has been to find new and innovative ways of dealing with discipline in the classroom. From rowdy groups of teenagers to adults lacking in motivation because their employers have pushed them into an English course, adapting my discipline techniques to keep the class focussed on the task at hand has been both a source of satisfaction and one of immense frustration.

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by Manjusha Nambiar

How to deal with difficult questions your students might ask?

If you teach one-to-one classes, you will probably have to deal with students who ask too many unimportant or difficult questions. This is usually unavoidable because it is this freedom to ask questions that makes one-to-one classes popular with some students and their parents. Here are a few tips to deal with the situation.

Students in one-to-one classes might ask you questions that are not in the syllabus. A knowledgeable teacher should be able to answer at least a few of these questions without having to do much research. However, sometimes students may ask questions that no teacher can answer off the top of their head.

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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

My goodness, gracious me! I have become obsessed with the Olympics. I did not see this coming. I’ve always enjoyed the Olympics, that much is true, but this year, I am hooked! The coverage is everywhere and constant, so much so that I’m pretty certain I’m more tired this week because I’ve stayed up to watch it, whatever sport it might be from basketball to the canoe slalom. I am fascinated by the fact that there are human beings this good at what they do, it’s incredible.

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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Be a sport! Inspire your students during London 2012.

By Thomas Brasington from London, England (Athletics 2012) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Olympics, London 2012. It’s finally here! It’s been a long time coming but here they are and let’s hope they’re going to be an Olympics to remember (in a good way). In terms of London’s summer students, it’s probably an amazing time to be in our town; hectic and at times probably unbearable but without doubt, a unique time to be here in London. 2012.

I’m unsure whether some of my recent students are sick of all the Olympics-related lessons I’ve put together of late but it’s hard to ignore all that realia out there just waiting to be manipulated and utilised. In general though, I think many students have found it interesting and it has made them a little more excited for the games. Documentaries about Olympic superstars such as Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps did get them interested as well as learning about stories of Olympic glory and/or misery. It’s hard to deny that sport brings people together.

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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Time’s Up on Reading Exercises!

By Joi [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Reading skills. A tricky one. Reading for gist; skim reading; scan reading; reading for detail. Trying to get students to read how you want them to can be fruitless task. On the CELTA we’re told to set students a time limit in order to encourage them to read in whichever way you desired but I have found that students will read however they please. There are those who stop at every unknown word, scrutinising every little thing; those who don’t really take anything in; those who read aloud… You know how it is.

Recently I have started a new tactic. Inspired by other teachers, I have created my own approach which still gives students some level of independence. My idea isn’t revolutionary and I doubt that I am the first to come up with it but I want to share it.

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by Jonathan Last @JonathanLast1
Author of Teaching English with Chopsticks: TEFL from the Frontline

Working with a diverse classroom

By Christian Fischer. (Own picture of a private globe, made in Germany.) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Teaching English has many variables.  These include the type of institution that employs you; whether you’re working in your home nation or abroad; if you’re teaching adults or children; and your learners’ motivation.  One thing that will certainly never be the same twice is your students.

If you’re living in another country, the students are likely to be mostly, if not all, indigenous – you would certainly expect this to be the case in Asian nations such as China, Japan and Korea.  This uniformity will, of course, still throw in a range of personalities and combinations of characters.

But if you are teaching to a multicultural classroom – something more than likely in London – then you will face an additional challenge unique to environments that bring together people from a diverse cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.

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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

A Writing Experiment

Ralf Roletschek [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

As I mentioned last week, I had attended an EFL conference. One of the speakers there was Nick Bilborough who did a workshop on teaching writing. I was very interested in this seminar because writing has been something that I struggle to teach. As mentioned in a previous blog, I myself enjoy writing but teaching it is a totally different matter. Since then I have decided to implement one of the techniques he spoke about.

I have recently taken on a new class who are at a high intermediate level. This means that they’re floating in between intermediate and upper intermediate which can be a little frustrating for some students. We are using an intermediate level coursebook which can often seem too easy for their level but, they might struggle with an upper intermediate book. Their main issue is that though they are able to complete closed tasks from the coursebook and workbook and all other supplements I use, they struggle to put this language into their speaking and writing.

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Regale in Realia

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Regale in Realia

By Thespiritofchristmas (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Realia; using real resources and stuff in lessons. I love realia. I use it often and I vary it per level. I remember vividly, learning about realia on my CELTA and thinking, ‘what a nice word’, little did I know that realia and I would become such good friends.

One of my favourite resources of all time is the BBC news website and BBC iPlayer. I mean, I adore it. I can use it across levels, from radio clips for higher levels to video clips for lower levels, both usually accompanied with a text. The language in the articles can sometimes be a little difficult, and good for higher levels but it can also be used with lower levels just by breaking it down first. iPlayer can generally be relied on for documentaries. I have used many documentaries in relation to a topic from a textbook. Last week my class and I watched an episode of Coast and out came a sea of vocabulary. BBC realia is loaded with culturally relevant topics and language that is useful and not too academic. Also, The Apprentice is excellent for business topics.

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