Teach English in Baipu Zhen - Nantong Shi

Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Baipu Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Nantong Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.

During my experience of completing the 120-hours online TEFL course, a wide range of fundamental material, about teaching English to foreign language learners, was covered which includes classic teaching methodologies, techniques and theories, fundamental English grammar points and their respective teaching strategies, as well as many general suggestions of problem-solving during both academic teaching and class management. Among the 20 units of various topics, as a graduate student with little formal or institutional teaching experience, I found Unit 3 which focuses on teaching methodologies, theories, and techniques to be particularly informative and helpful. Therefore, I think a variety of different teaching methods, which can help to make the English lessons more attractive and effective, that is introduced by this TEFL course is the best thing I’ve learned among all other equally important knowledge. Using children’s learning process of their mother tongue as an analogy of EFL learning process in practice, according to the course material, although impossible to be completely the same as a “natural language acquisition” process, with the support of good teaching methodologies and suitably created environment, foreign language English learner will be able to have a relatively nature learning experience. It is the teacher’s responsibility to create the opportunity and space for the learners to acquire, practice, and ultimately master the new language with the aimed levels of fluency and accuracy. While for learning a new language, it will be the best for the learner to be immersed in an English speaking environment and be exposed to the language as much as possible, it is not realistic in most cases in which the learners often reside in their native nations and rarely have enough suitable opportunities to practice the new language for consolidation and consequently build confidence in using it. Therefore, for the purpose of maximizing students’ opportunities to practically practice English in the limited class time, emphasized throughout the course material and put forward by Jeremy Harmer, the teaching structure of “ESA” – Engage, Study and Activate, is recommended. According to the course material, a well-employed ESA structure will provide the teacher with the right level of flexibility in the classroom where the balance between teacher’s input (teacher talking times) and students’ participation (students’ talking times) will be found. One of the most important skills that a teacher should possess is the ability of elicitation, in another word, teachers should be able to find out what students already know and need to know by asking thought-provoking questions. Elicitation is not only an important strategy to be used during the engage stage in which teacher often ask question and starting relaxing discussions to warm-up the class and to attract students’ attention, but also commonly used throughout the lesson during study and activate stages to ensure the effective delivery of new academic points and to encourage students’ active involvement. When using an ESA teaching structure, a lesson always begins with the Engage stage. The purpose of this stage is to warm-up the class, to reduce students’ pressure and to prepare students to think and speak in English, and perhaps also introduce some of the new languages that are going to be learned in the next stage through interesting and relaxing activities. Then the study stage can follow. During the Study stage, presentation is commonly given the teacher to introduce new language points, and (3x3) drilling exercise and several worksheets can be used to reinforce the new knowledge. Depending on the holistic structure of the lesson, the Study stage can happen multiple times follows a progressively harder logical order. Then is the Activate stage which happens either after the engage or the study stage during the lesson to encourage the students to use any/all of the language they have learned since the beginning of the course. The key focus of this stage is fluency rather than the accuracy of the language thus unless severe technical mistakes are made, the teacher should not intervene with the activity in any form besides silent monitoring and answering questions when being asked. Since the purpose of activate stage is to promote communication in English, role-plays, debate, story writing, and presentations are typical activities to be used. When using an ESA teaching structure, as long as the rule of starting with an Engage stage and finishing with an Activate stage is followed, the 3 key stages can be arranged in various order and combinations to meet the specific study objective of a lesson. For example, there is the “Straight Arrow” structure in which the teacher carries out the lesson in the E-S-A order. It is particularly suitable for teaching lower-level students with a clear and relatively simple objective. For higher-level students with more complex language points, a “Boomerang” (for example E-A1-S-A2) structure can be used. With this structure, the teacher needs to predict students’ problems and needs during the first activate stage and be prepared to deal with them during the study stage, and then the result of learning can be tested in the second activate stage. While both “Straight Arrow” and “Boomerang” requiring the presence of a straightforward teaching logic which is not common in practice, thus a “Patchwork” structure can be employed instead. A “Patchwork” structure allows a great degree of flexibility and supports a good balance between study and activation. This structure should only be used for lessons longer than an hour and the students should have at least intermediate level English ability for the class to be effective and interactive. At last, to conclude with a few guiding points given by the course material that I found to be critical and important to keep in mind when teaching English with the ESA strategy. First of all, the teacher should only use English during the lesson and try their best to avoid giving instruction in students’ native language. Equally important, during all stages of the lesson, student talking time should be maximized while teacher talking time should be minimized. Secondly, during the engage stage, the teacher should try to involve all students to speak some English and mistakes should be left aside and to be dealt with later during the study stage. Next, during the study stage, the teacher should elicit as much as possible from the students instead of telling them everything they need to know. Also, is it important to always give clear and concise instruction and demonstrations before handing out worksheets and other task material, and students should be given chances to correct their own mistakes before the teacher getting involved. Finally, at the end of the last activate stage, it is valuable to get feedback from the students to help the teacher to know if the planned class objectives have been met and if further clarification is needed in future lessons.