This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
M. C. - South Korea said:
The most obvious thing that I learned was that while I put grammar to use, I had no idea how to explain or teach it. I correct a student's writing or pronunciation, but I couldn't explain why. Now I can adequately explain when and why we use a certain tense or phrasing when speaking or writing. This allows me to give my students some rules or formats to follow when using english. Although the language isn't very logical, I can put some logic into my lessons that my students can carry on into the future. I have also learned invaluable things about classroom management. It is difficult to learn through trial and error how to manage students and keep them interested in a lesson. I now know how to initially keep a student's interest and how to create a lesson that will hopefully keep them interested and working through the duration of the class. I have a better idea of how to specifically handle the needs of ESL students to make the classroom a nurturing environment that encourages open speech and minimizes chaos and disruptions. I have also learned a lot about lesson planning. I didn't know anything about this before, and I think this will make a very big difference in how my classes are conducted. Going into class with a plan and a timetable for each lesson makes me feel more confident and in control. I think it shows when I teach as well. I now map out what each lesson will entail, how long it will take and what solutions I may need to any problems that will come up. I am also now aware of a variety of resources I can use to supplement the materials the school has supplied. I plan to buy some of these and use the ones that are at my disposal. The sample games and activities have also been inspiring and I have used some of those, or ones like them, in class to keep the students interested. While my school has a supposed "no games" policy, I have found it crucial that things like phonics lessons be framed into some sort of game-like activity, whether it be a word competition or hangman while the students are lining up to go home, to keep the students interested in the drier aspects of the work and continue to practice the words and phrases they are learning. I have found that reading games make the students more enthusiastic about the task as we are currently embarking on it. I hope, if I am to teach at a more relaxed school in the future, that I will have the opportunity to be more creative and use games. I use role-play whenever possible to give the children a good reason to get out of their chairs and speak before the class in a way that is fun. I think, overall, that I learned how to be a teacher. Granted, while I have substituted and tutored before, I didn't know how one fulfills the vocation of teacher. I think I now have the confidence to see myself as an ESL teacher and not someone taking a year off in South korea. I came here to teach and I think that this course has definitely made me more psychologically equipped to take on the duties of a teacher.