Teach English in Beixin Zhen - Nantong Shi

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The best thing I have learned from my TEFL course is twofold. It has helped me to retain quite a few of my my knowledge on grammar. Secondly, it helped me to reflect and potentially develop my teaching interest in specifics. First of all, as the course developed, the grammar related units were getting harder and harder. In my view, grammar is a more or less universally agreed upon rules that acts like a tool for one to convey his or her thoughts, so as he or she can communicate accurately, fluently and effectively. And the logic behind grammar is to convey meaning with building blocks that we have learned. As mentioned in the course, the grammar units are merely an overview of what is required for the course, a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of grammar requires a full-time four-year university programme. However, from parts of speech, present/past/future tenses to conditionals and reported speech, and modals, phrase verbs and passive voice, it appears that it evolved from building blocks that does not need too much logical thinking to utterances that require logical understanding, so as one can use the grammar correctly. As a result, in hindsight, I made quite a few mistakes in those tests of grammar-related units. I will pay much more attention in teaching the logic heavy grammar lessons, when opportunities present themselves. The second best thing that I have learned from this course is that it helped me to develop an interest in teaching adults, as opposed to young students, perhaps also an interest in teaching business English more than general English. Having a background in the business world, being a photographer and videographer, I have been working with corporate clients over the years. Knowing them personally and in business settings, I have a pre-existing knowledge of what they are potentially like, along with their potential personal and professional problems. In relation to my interest in teaching Business English to adult students, what I found the most useful in this course is the skill to draw a roadmap with lesson planning. Prior to taking on this course, I didn’t think lesson planning would involve self-reflection, in terms of personal aims and anticipated problems for teacher. This requires a personal assessment of teaching skills, weak points, potential solutions. And this course also has provided a lot of techniques to tackle on these issues. The most useful techniques for me are flashcards, crossword, hangman etc. What I have in mind in terms of teaching, is a business English class in Shanghai. In my experience, a lot of the western games are not so common in the Chinese English teaching methods. However, the students who are motivated to learn English are potentially working for the offices of foreign companies. So they are very likely to be exposed to a westernised environment, in which these cultural aspects are expected to be familiar with. With the ESA model, it is much clearer for me to plan a teaching schedule to cover the aspects that are important, and also keep the lessons structured. One major issue in teaching business English may be motivation. In specific, it could potentially lack of personal interest, but learning English is required for work. And also in a company class, different staff could have different English level to be mindful of. To address the issue of personal interest, my professional ability may come in play. For example, teaching the students to take good photos and ask them to describe the subject of the photo in English may help to motivate them. And coming from the same company, chances are the students may have known each other, and taking photos of their colleagues could make the activity fun and keep them motivated to learn the language. Admittedly, teaching is a huge topic to reflect on. It is an umbrella that covers so many areas that cannot be overlooked in order to convey good results. However, I have learned so much from this course, and I will continue deepen my understanding of grammar, and work on the teaching planning skills.