The following tips should help you develop strategies that can best facilitate language development for your students (or for yourself).
Tips For EFL Teachers!!!
1. Formulaic expressions and sentence structure drills can help students build confidence with using the language. This being true, it is important that beginner level students be afforded the opportunity to not only learn some basic expressions, but also be able to access and use them when needed (this is where drills come in handy).
2. It is important to get the level of input right. In short, for language learning the input should be easy enough to understand, but challenging enough to facilitate learning. To increase fluency, teachers are encouraged to select materials that are within the reach of their students, or even slightly below the student’s current level, and then have them focus on speaking fluency (i.e. correct speed, correct intonation, free from errors, and smoothness of speaking) or listening skills (i.e. the ability to understand and process in real time). Finally, if the level is too hard for your students then you run the risk of students not understanding, and consequently, not learning.
3. Have students focus on the general meaning of the text (i.e. spoken words or reading passage) instead of specific words. This will help them gain the ability to understand. In addition, there should be portions of your class devoted to encouraging students to focus on communication as opposed to accuracy. This is because language is a communication tool – and students need to master this skill, not just focus on syntax and lexis. .
4. When you teach a class, try to provide copious amounts of examples. Examples allow students to hear and/or see what they are learning, thus aiding implicit understanding. Of course explicit instruction is important, but just teaching grammar rules is usually not enough to facilitate language development. Examples and interaction with the examples solidifies the rules and allows students to get a feel of how a certain structure or lexical item is used.
5. Aim for the development of implicit knowledge (and the ‘feel’ of English). This can be achieved by having your students engage and interact with the language for enjoyment and communicative purposes. Encourage your students to watch, listen to, and read English materials that are at their current level (or below). This reduces the cognitive load and allows students to develop deep levels of implicit knowledge. Also, don’t forget to encourage your students to talk and interact as often as possible.
6. Staying motivated is one of the biggest challenges facing English language learners. Teachers need to really focus on having fun, engaging, and interesting classes. They also need to understand the benefits of helping their students develop robust mental images of how they will use English, and who they will be in English, once they master this new skill. Finally, teachers need to be aware of how both internal and external motivation is important to language learning.
7. Effort Equals Results! If you want to be a good teacher, then you need to make an effort (feel free to watch my TED talk on teaching and education).
8. Get your students reading! Reading is often a lot easier for students than listening as it allows the student time to process the information. This being true, reading is often a great way of helping students develop their vocabulary, as they can look up each word in a dictionary and then write it in a diary with example sentences.
9. Keep your lessons interesting and relevant. (I think this is pretty self-explanatory.)
10. Have fun and take responsibility. You must take charge and inspire your students. No one likes a boring class void of care. So don’t be that go-through-the-motions teacher – because that teacher makes the rest of us look bad.
Please click on the link to watch the slide show I have prepared – 10 Tips Language Teachers Should Know.
Thanks for reading
Keep English Real!