Teach English in Shiji Zhen - Xuzhou Shi

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Lesson planning may be my favorite, yet most challenging part of teaching. I love to create fun, engaging curriculum and scaffolding concepts overtime, but I tend to love it too much. My pitfall comes from creating complex, elaborate lessons that cause me to spend too much time giving instruction. In all teaching, but EFL especially, too much TTT is problematic. I am looking forward to revisiting this with new energy; EFL presents new challenges, but also new opportunities that will challenge my teaching. I’m looking forward to streamlining my instruction by simplifying activities, demonstrating not explaining, and eliciting responses from students. EFL is a perfect place for me to hone my instruction and TTT, because EFL necessitates simplicity. I will no longer have the luxury of speaking incidentally or planning complex lessons. Depending on the age group, my instruction may only subsist of a few words; with zero English learners it could be as simple as chorusing “Hello. My name is _____” and demonstrating introducing myself to everyone else to instruct an activity around introductions. Also, while other educational subjects can be taught with higher amounts of teacher talk time, EFL depends on students practicing both formally and informally. In order to engage students informally and work on fluency, I will need to elicit examples from them rather than demonstrating all the instruction myself. For example, I will no longer be able to judge understanding just by solo demonstrating the above activity on introductions; I will need to engage students in the act before setting them loose, or they may just be totally lost. There’s no blaming the student for not listening to (spoken) instructions anymore – if they don’t understand they may just not have the language skills any more, and there’s more likely only one person(myself) to fault. In terms of lesson planning, I am excited to practice the ESA framework. I’ve enacted similar lesson planning frameworks before – beginning with short engaging activities, followed by focused learning, and then main activities – but I’ve always struggled to incorporate all those aspects into one short lesson. In a 45-minute lesson it may have taken me 20 minutes to get through the Engage/Study period, and then I only was left 20 minutes for the main activity after instruction. What makes me hopeful about this new ESA approach is two-fold: 1) There is a lot of flexibility in the structure(ie. Patchwork and Boomerang) and I don’t need to feel like I need to stick to a rigid format; and 2) The TEFL course provides a lot of examples of E, S, and A lessons, and it is clearer to me on how simple and short each of these steps can be. For example, (E)ngage can be as short as a word on the board like “Jungle” and getting the students sharing with each other about that prompt. Shortening these pieces – but also keeping instruction as simple as the above example – will really change my approach to lesson planning. Below is an example of an outlined ESA straight-arrow lesson that I feel like I could safely accomplish in a 45 minute lesson: LEARNING POINT: Build on food vocab and practice on past perfect tense LEARNER OBJECTIVES: for students to be able to talk about food they have eaten or they have cooked PROCEDURE: 1)ENGAGE: Using pictures, have students speak in complete sentences about food they eaten or cooked 2)STUDY (first part): Elicit foods that students have eaten or cooked and write them on the board. Add some new vocabulary as well 3)STUDY (second part): Fill in the blank sample sentence on the board “I have eaten ______” and “I have cooked ________”. Question form “Have you eaten_______?” a)Drill on pronunciation and sentence structure 4)STUDY (final part): Fill in blank work sheet “I/he/she/you/they/we _____________ (various food item)” 5)ACTIVATE (first part): Survey BINGO: Each square has different dishes from different places in the world (tacos, pho, hamburger, pizza, etc.) and a ________ with a pronoun after (ie. ________ (they)) and a ______ with a verb after (either cook or eat). Students must find a student/s that fit that category and fill in they’re names and the correct conjugation of “have” and past participle. 6)ACTIVATE (final part): First 10 to finish share some example of who has eaten/cooked what In sum, I am looking forward to continuing to build my skills as an educator especially as it pertains to lesson planning. EFL teaching will be a great opportunity for me to practice this, but I also think for, these reasons, I will have more success and find teaching more fulfilling. Helping someone to grow in their language skills can be so empowering, and I’m excited to participate in this opportunity for others. Thank you for considering me for this certificate for TEFL certification. It has greatly shaped my perspective as an educator.