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Course Preview: From Theorist to Practitioner in the TEFL Classroom

Updated: Mar 8

Many of us don’t realise just how valuable our skills are. We use it every day, but we don’t necessarily think of our English proficiency as a “skill” in our home country. However, if you can speak English fluently, you already possess a quality which over 1 billion language learners are aiming to achieve.

However, whether you are an absolute beginner or you are a seasoned teacher in your home country, you will need to brush up on your TEFL skills if you want to succeed in the ESL classroom.

TFT's TEFL Nomad course offers valuable insight into the world of TEFL, with modules focusing on the quirks of the classroom, fundamentals of grammar, planning, presenting high-quality lessons, and more.

Not only is a TEFL certificate a requisite to teaching abroad in particular countries, this accredited TEFL course will provide aspiring teachers with the necessary skills to optimise language acquisition in the ESL classroom.

Module 1: An Overview of the TEFL/TESOL World

Main Components:

● Familiarising ourselves with TEFL terms, phrases, and teaching methods.

● Specifying characteristics of the English language.

● Understanding the differences between learning a first and second language.

Regardless of your experience in a classroom at home, it can be overwhelming when you are suddenly presented with a range of acronyms. In the TEFL world, there are many. This section aims to introduce TEFL beginners to various terms, phrases, and technicalities. Module 1 provides a comprehensive overview to ease trainees into their study by providing context to the world of TEFL.

Additionally, trainees will be introduced to different forms of teaching methods and understand the differences between native language (L1) and second language (L2) acquisition. They will be provided context as to why Communicative Language Teaching is one of the most effective forms of teaching.

Module 2: Grammar – The Fundamentals

Main Components:

● Understanding the fundamentals of grammar, and how it should be incorporated into our lessons

● Learn how to explain and articulate grammar points in a way which is understandable for students

● Understanding that grammar points vary from one language to another, and taking into consideration these particular obstacles

While trainees will study grammar at a more advanced level in Module 5, this module is a fundamental introduction to grammar and how it should be included in our teaching practices.

Furthermore, you may already understand existing grammar points, but you will also learn about articulating grammar points, and how to explain to students their function. Many students that you’ll encounter have a good base level knowledge of English, but they may not have much knowledge on how to structure their sentences. As such, it’s crucial to implement basic grammar from the beginning stages.

Module 3: The Competent EFL Teacher

Main components:

● Learning the ins and outs of your role as a teacher

● Bridging the potential gap between your expectations and those of your students.

● How to conduct a deep-dive into your syllabus, and learn how to personalise the material

● An introduction to lesson planning

In the TEFL classroom, “one-size-fits-all” methods are rarely effective and will do more harm to your student’s development than good. With this in mind, Module 3 was built around the idea that different teachers will use different methods of facilitating language acquisition.

Through a combination of practical tips, theories on lesson delivery, and unique ways to promote learning, this module will help you combine your skills, personality, and teaching methods as a cohesive whole. At the heart of this process is developing and executing effective lesson plans through learning how to personalise the syllabus that you’re given.

In this way, our third module serves as an introduction to the more detailed Module 8: how to prepare detailed lesson plans, but with more emphasis on confidence-building.

Module 4: Knowing and Understanding Your EFL Learners

Main Components:

● Recognising the relationship between motivation and language learning

● How to influence and drive learner motivation through tried and tested activities

● How to recognize different learner strategies

● Striking the balance between authoritative teaching and learner autonomy: avoiding the binary of “good cop” vs “bad cop”.

While personalisation is paramount in optimising learner development, it can be hard when travelling between multiple schools each week, and teaching classes upwards of 30 students. To meet the needs of everyone in your class, you’ll need to learn how to cater to different learning needs: recognising auditory, visual, and tactile styles.

After focusing on learning preferences and strategies, the second half of this module teaches trainees how to manage their student’s motivation levels. Regardless of how effective their teacher is, students will experience natural dips and troughs in their motivation levels, otherwise known as The Plateau Effect. Module 4 teaches you how to help your learners get off of their motivational plateau and move onwards and upwards.

Module 5: Mastering Grammar

Main Components:

● Learning key grammar points in-depth

● How to teach grammar to young learners, teenagers, and adults

● Presenting and applying practical grammar activities in the classroom

As native English speakers, we understand how to use our language naturally. However, it is not often that we know why we use this particular structure. When we don’t understand why we use our language the way we do, how can we expect our students to understand?

Often, non-native English speakers who are fluent in English are more capable of explaining grammar points than native English speakers. This is because non-native English speakers go through the grammar points more thoroughly than a native speaker who learns English more naturally.

It is often the case that teachers learn plenty on the job as they are studying and delivering their lesson plans. There are many rules to English grammar, and not only will we need to understand them, we will need to be able to articulate these rules in a simple and concise way for our students to understand.

This module not only provides techniques for teaching grammar but evaluates them realistically so the trainee knows the appropriate contexts in which to apply them.

Module 6: Understanding Some Tricky Language Components

Main Components:

● Understanding phonemic and phonological awareness, and how to incorporate them into activities in the classroom

● Learning about effective pronunciation teaching techniques

● Understanding the appropriacy of language in relation to its cultural contextualisation

Each language is unique, and it will have its own colloquialisms, jargon, intonation patterns, rhythm, and so on. While English is monotonous, Vietnamese is tonal, for example.

Additionally, this module will teach us about the appropriacy of language within its cultural context. Our culture has a profound way on how we develop our language, and one phrase or example of colloquialism may not apply in another language.

Our cultural practices and experiences are reflected thoroughly in our language. For example, some of the phrases and fixed expressions that we use and make sense for us may not make sense for the learner. While we may use the term “under the weather” to describe someone who is ill in English, it may not make sense in the next language.

Module 7: Teaching Listening, Speaking, Writing and Reading

Main Components:

● Understanding the ways to teach the different skills of English

● Creating effective strategies and activities to facilitate the development of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills

Teachers may need to plan their lessons according to the form of English which they are focusing on. There are four forms of English which you will need to be able to teach, and these are speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Students are not just “good/bad at English”, but they will excel at applying different facets of English. One student may have a very good grasp of English, but may show proficiency in written English but room for improvement with their spoken English. Because of this, teachers will learn how they can teach different aspects of English appropriately, and understand effective strategies, exercises and activities to facilitate learning.

Module 8: How to Plan and Present High-Quality Lessons

Main components:

● Learning about lesson planning and delivery

● Creating lesson objectives, goals, and activities to reach these goals

● Creating a 5 Step Lesson Plan

This module teaches us not only how to structure an effective lesson-plan, but how to adapt it in real time if the lesson isn’t going to plan. A lesson plan will create the necessary structure for us to follow in the classroom, and it can help us prepare thoroughly for the lesson ahead. As the saying goes “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. Without an adequate lesson plan, you are likely to struggle to deliver your content in the classroom.

However, this module will also teach us to accommodate flexibility in our lesson plan. While a solid lesson plan may be formidable on paper, there are countless challenges in the classroom. We will learn how to adapt our lesson plans in real time if necessary in order to optimise the student’s language acquisition.

Additionally, lesson planning isn’t just something that’s recommended for teacher’s to optimise their craft: it’s a requirement in most countries. You’ll likely have to submit lesson plans each week that demonstrate an understanding of both the syllabus and the needs of your students.

It also explains how to best use a syllabus to the advantage of your students. Some teachers may adhere strictly to the syllabus, however, you can decide to personalise the syllabus in order to increase student engagement.

Module 9: Vital Teaching Skills in Everyday Teaching

Main components:

● Introducing the idea of Total Physical Response (TPR): The importance of body language when teaching spoken English

● Balancing TTT (Teacher Talk Time) and STT (Student Talk Time)

● Learning how to form constructive feedback

● Testing and assessment explained: key principles and practical tips

● Learning how to develop your own resources: visual aids, the classroom board, and technology

● Managing cultural sensitivities in the classroom

This module brings the art of TEFL teaching back down to earth: honing in on the everyday skills needed to run a lesson effectively and enthusiastically. Many of these revolve around the art of Total Physical Response, and knowing how to utilise body language, gestures, and other cues. Module 9 teaches us how to make our lessons less akin to a lecture, and engage students using elements of paralinguistics.

Furthermore, this module also teaches us how we can balance the relationship between teacher talk time (TTT) and student talk time (STT). While we are the teachers with English proficiency, it is important that we do not overestimate the value of TTT. TTT is necessary for establishing and introducing target language and activities, but this module also teaches us to maximise student talk time in order to have them practise target language within its appropriate context.

Module 10: Effective Classroom Management

Main components:

● Organising and controlling what happens in the classroom which creates a productive learning environment which is also inspiring and synergistic

● Understanding how discipline and classroom organisation can work together to facilitate language acquisition.

● Controlling the pacing of the lesson

● Understanding classroom dynamics and learner interaction patterns

Contrary to what you might’ve read online, classroom management isn’t all about discipline, and the teacher that shouts the loudest is not necessarily the most effective. While there needs to be some level of discipline, shouting at your class when they become rowdy or distracted isn’t always the answer. What this module teaches us is how we can assign tasks appropriately by personalising activities and ensuring that students are thoroughly engaged in lesson activities. This way, teachers can resolve potential problems before they arise.

Module 10 also teaches us how to develop and utilise learner mistakes to our advantage in the classroom. Using positive reinforcement, for example, will normalise and encourage mistakes as a part of learning: creating an environment where students are not afraid to ask questions.

Module 11 – Introduction to Teaching Young Learners

Main components:

● Focusing on key issues when teaching young learners in the ESL classroom

● Understand the nuances of between teaching younger learners and older learners

● Learning how to approach listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, and how to assess young learners

This module is particularly useful for those who will be teaching young students, and will serve as a taster for those who want to specialise in teaching young learners before the full length Teaching Young Learners course is released.

Module 11 teaches us how we can approach teaching young learners and how we can assess them thoroughly. We will be given insight into the key learning principles when delivering lesson activities to younger students. To this end, a large part of this module focuses on analysing storybooks and using storybook narratives to engage young learners.

TEFL Certification and Continuing Professional Development

Congratulations! At this point, you will have successfully completed the course and will receive your TEFL certification. Whether or not you know what lies ahead for you next, our team will help you with determining the next steps and optimising your professional development within the TEFL industry.

You will receive career support in the form of guidance as well as access to work opportunities such as TEFL jobs and internships in a variety of countries, as well as a range of teaching and reading materials which will help you understand more about the TEFL industry, teaching in the classroom, and your own personal TEFL journey.

TFTs TEFL Nomad Course has been created by TFT and all applicants signing up to a programme with us will receive this qaulification.


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