As a teacher of TEFL to prospective teachers, there are first a number of general responsibilities for the daily teaching job. I must provide a learning environment that is conducive to a TEFL learning atmosphere. I must be teaching the methods of TEFL using recognised teaching methods. I also have to show how TEFL would be taught in the classroom. This means explaining my methods of teaching a foreign language that mirrors methods that can be taught in their classes. Furthermore, I need to show future teachers how to interact with others and help them with their initial questions and understanding of TEFL. I have to instruct them on the basics and fundamental needs of a career starting in TEFL teaching which will teach them to be creative and provide them with an understanding of what will entail when they take up their first teaching role abroad.
My job has a range of specific duties, I must complete on a daily basis. I have to create a lesson plan that fulfills all the units of study that the students have to understand, complete, and reflect on. This learning of the basics of TEFL teaching gets the students ready for their employment abroad with a deeper upstanding that will give them confidence. I have to set an educational plan for each day so I am satisfied I have completed all that is needed to be covered for the TEFL certificate while making sure all the students are involved individually and in groups while being interested, informed, and challenged.
Within the 20 hours of teaching practice the trainee teachers take, I must prepare creative activities for the students to complete. These activities although for the benefit of the teachers must also highlight the teaching methods of TEFL as the groundwork for their future needs. It is my prerogative to apply strategies that highlight TEFL teaching methods. It is important to be creative as this is fundamental to the methods of teaching TEFL. This involves group work, presentations, teaching practice, feedback, and reflection.
I have to also monitor the students’ development over the course. This entails helping them with their ideas, teaching practice, and showing them how to teach. I must also recognise those who are taking the course and not showing a willingness to complete it or who think that just appearing is a pass. These people have to be spoken to or encouraged to work as an individual and in a group to complete all tasks and to complete the certificate program that agrees with all TEFL accreditation.
I used Prezi presentation for this class. I used the same material, but this time I put it up on the screen for the students to see. I think this worked a lot better. I think sometimes the students do not follow you that well when you hand out sheets and start talking about it. I have noticed they do not follow that well. So, this time I had both, sheet and Prezi. This went a lot better. I also added a story for them to follow as I was teaching an understanding of sentences and the use of a story very much highlighted the concept that I was putting across. It was amazing as well how many students kept asking questions for clarifications. Of course, they are native speakers and the story had missing information, but I thought it was great because as an English teacher they were asking questions in English. One point of issue is that at the end of my presentation I asked the students to try Form Meaning Use in a sentence, but they just used my last example and thought they had to copy that. I did not follow that they only thought they had to copy my last example and not make up their own. I thought I made it clear.
Firstly, I started using Prezi for this class as it was new to me and I certainly found the benefits of it worked for the class. This was part of my reflection process as I was debating from the last class how to improve. It was hard to just get the students to follow me on the sheets, so Prezi worked well. I also improved my explanation of Form, Meaning, and Use. I now started to include a demo lesson to explain the point which highlighted the lesson subject far clearer. I feel all my thoughts and subsequent changes to my lesson relate to points made by Richards and Lockhart that “much can be learned about teaching through self-inquiry” and also that “much of what happens in teaching is unknown to the teacher” (1994, p.3). I feel now that this lesson is where I want it to be, but it would not have been there if I had not made that ‘self-enquiry’. Moreover, as I mentioned in my first reflection that it was ‘amazing how many students kept asking for clarification.’ The students now have material that is of some quality for their studies that encourages questions and understanding.
Richards, J. C., & Lockhart, C. (1994). Reflective teaching in second language classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Quality Assurance is a high priority for the company I work for. First of all, the students are our customers, so the company’s aims revolve around giving a high standard product that leaves the students feeling they made the right move to choose our company’s second language teaching course. For this piece of writing, I will outline some of the provisions my company and I have/use to not only keep the quality high but also to gain knowledge for improvement.
To promote equal opportunities
The courses I teach have students from many backgrounds, countries, and of varying ages. It is my job to accept all these people as achieving the goal of passing the course and being involved. For example, on the last course, there was a woman from Poland who was 28, an 18 year Englishman who was just taking his A levels, and an older Englishman of about 55 years of age. Taking these three as an example, they all had their reasons to be there, and the only way for them to pass the course was to work together as a group and as individuals. To promote this combination, my first job as their teacher trainer, as soon as they arrive, is to welcome them and get them introduced to each other, so they feel part of the group and they get the chance to meet each other. During the course, there are many pair-work and group-work activities, so it is my job to encourage collaboration between these kinds of people whatever their background. I promote peer and group evaluation where students constructively help each other. Eventually, when they come to complete their practice teaching in pairs there is encouragement from all the class towards a successful conclusion.
To identify, understand and learn from the factors which facilitate or hinder the students
The course has set modules, but within that, in my job as a trainer, I still have to make the students confident and knowledgeable about teaching a second language. In this respect, formative assessment is taken after each module to give feedback to the trainer, and for the students to be able to discuss how the course is progressing and their grasp of the facts so far. For example, one formative assessment has each of the students choosing to stand in a particular corner of the room which relates to their experience and knowledge of the class they just had. One corner may have the statement, ‘I have a question’. The students who stand in this corner have a chance to discuss issues they may have. They are then told to write down some questions they may have which are then discussed with the trainer and the rest of the group. The trainer can take away this assessment to improve on the next lesson while the students have been given a platform to voice their problems (good or bad). The reason for writing their ideas is that the trainer can take away the material and assess it to see for improvement.
Post Course Feedback from students
Once the students’ course is complete, they are sent a feedback form where they are given chance to comment on the course and the trainer that delivered the course content. That feedback is collated by my company and discussed with them internally. If need be I am contacted and made aware of issues that the students had or content that was valuable for the students. Correspondence is always made between myself and my manager post-course to discuss issues.
To set and achieve high standards and targets across all provision
For the 20 hours of study, a scheme of work and lesson plans are written detailing all aspects of the course. This makes provision for the encouragement of active learning while giving available time for the students to practice their teaching and discuss material. There are also resources for the students to use and contemplate over that show course content. The trainer also uses Prezi presentation facility to help students understand the content clearly.
Observation (form and feedback)
Over the 20 hours of study, the students complete two practice teaching lessons. They are given help in completing their lesson plans by the trainer. This sets them on the right path while lesson stages are discussed. This puts them in good stead for performing for the first time in front of the class. Once they start their practice teaching they are observed by the trainer who completes an observation form. This form is given to the students which includes all stages and the techniques they used in their lesson as well as comments on how they performed. There are also comments on what may need to be changed in their next practice teaching. This form is given to them for them to contemplate over and ask questions if need be. Also, after their teaching is finished as a group there is a feedback session where students can make comments on what they liked, and maybe what they would change. I feel this gives the students a holistic picture of where they are at with the course and their teaching.
Facilities for learning (To provide a safe environment)
The students are first welcomed outside the class. Coffee, tea, and biscuit are provided nearby. The students have seats and two sofas, so they can relax before the course starts. At times when there is a break, these facilities are used. The classrooms are adequate for the 15 to 20 students there are. There is a good size screen for the projector for the students to observe the course content. The table and chairs are put into a U shape which encourages discussion. The heating in the room is put on before the students arrive, so once they have had their coffee they are welcomed into the warm classroom. The provision for food is excellent as below the classroom there is a restaurant, and within 3 minutes walk, there is a newsagent and a Tesco store that sells less expensive food (sandwiches, crisps, and drinks).
Which aspect of your practice do you wish to develop?
With respect to planning trainee teacher lessons and the delivery of them, while making sure concepts delivered through each session focus on foreign language teaching, I still wonder within the short time allowed for each module the trainee teachers actually absorb the vital information given to them. Consequently, when they finish the TEFL trainee teacher course, they can put all these factors into practice in their new employment overseas. My job as an instructor is to help the trainee teachers become proficient educators. While I try to administer these various teaching sessions, I need to see more proficiency in the trainee teacher’s lesson planning and practice teaching where I can observe them using techniques they had already been taught to them over their time learning to teach a second language. This strengthens my thoughts and beliefs about how well they are achieving on the TEFL course and how well I have delivered the content of each teaching module.
What are your reasons for choosing the above?
Having used formative assessment in my classes before and been given written feedback on this, I consider this is a worthy method to check my (trainee teachers) students’ understanding of methods of teaching a second language at various stages over the length of the TEFL course. Of course, my assessment procedure needs work, and getting to know how much of the subject matter the students have processed is a major factor for myself succeeding in my class and personal pedagogically. My 20 hour part of the 120 hour TEFL course and the modules within it are each on a set time limit and students have some difficult days of study absorbing all the information. Within the 20 hours of the practical part of the TEFL course, the students have many modules to complete. From this, it means that students must be able to comprehend the subject matter for each module, take in all that the teacher offers and be able to show this in practice in their teaching as a final project. Although I am fundamentally teaching the basics of TEFL and what the students essentially need to begin their first teaching experience abroad, I still need to give them more than enough information to achieve this. This leads me to improve on improving on my approach, method, and techniques to enhance the learning experience that each and every student has grasped the subject matter of the module. The students then can walk away after the course feeling they have the confidence and the knowledge to prepare for their first foreign teaching assignment, while at the same time, the knowledge they have gained will inject that incentive to further their studies and their teaching. It is this inspiration through my teaching that I want to improve on. This, I feel, can be enhanced by formative assessment of each module during the TEFL course.
What relevant secondary sources (e.g. existing publications etc) have you found. How have they helped to clarify your research?
As teachers use assessment and learning dynamically, they increase their capacity to derive a deeper understanding of their students’ responses. This then serves to structure increased learning opportunities (Darling-Hammond, Ancess, & Falk, 1995, p. 131).
Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment By Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam
From my initial reading, I have come to recognise formative assessment as a vital part of the classroom experience. Black and William’s evidence shows that formative assessment is an essential component of classroom work. This has been very informative and is certainly a background for my research project. Black and William highlight that outside the box (the classroom) there are many initiatives and assessments for learning but this leaves out what really happens in the classroom and the teaching experience. It also makes mention to students competing in the class for the best results thus leaving out many students who feel let down by their education. This could change where students become more able to assess their learning thus far and be able to change that. I feel that the acknowledgment for my students that their learning is an ongoing passage through their course they (including myself) can regularly assess how they (and myself) are acquiring the knowledge to succeed thus helping both parties.
- When you have completed your lesson, ask yourself these questions.
1. Did the students co-operate with their peers or seem to have much contact outside of class with proficient L2/Foreign Language users?
The students did co-operate with their peers. I think the best way to do this is through the instructions of the teacher. I said ‘talk to four people’, this made them at least talk to more than their partner. I think the next time I will get them in groups but mix the groups up.
My thoughts are on building a community spirit
2. Did the students often ask for clarification, verification, or correction?
All these factors are important for the lesson and I encourage them. I thought the students were using them. There were still some students relying on other students to help. I wrote some Concept Checking Questions (CCQ) for the students to ask. At least, it highlighted factors to address.
3. Do your lesson plans incorporate various ways that students can learn the language you are modelling, practising or presenting, in order to appeal to a variety of learning styles and strategies?
I got the students up in lines, and they had to sort out an order. I had pictures to relate the words. I think I should have done the opposites of some of the words to make the words clearer. Also, I think they could have learnt more, so I could have got them out to write more words on the board, although I did put three pictures on the wall and let the students get up and write their ideas.
4. Does your teaching allow learners to approach the task at hand in a variety of ways? Is your LLS training implicit, explicit, or both?
I think I use a variety of ways for the students to learn. Also, I go around the students when they working and ask them questions and check their work to see how they are tackling the task. This gives them a chance to ask questions.
5. Is your class learner-centered?
At times, I still feel I talk too much although I used a lot of group work. This group is tempered because the students always like to chat.
6. Do you allow students to work on their own and learn from one another?
I encourage students to talk to their partners. I try and focus them on asking their partner questions. I also had it in mind to get them conversing with each other. I have a feeling that at times I should allow the students to do my work and then they ask me questions. For example, in this class, I reviewed some sentences the students had written on the board about three pictures and all the students were quiet. This I thought was valuable time wasted. I think I should have given the pictures to the students and checked their work as they worked in a group.
7. As you circulate in class, are you encouraging questions, or posing ones relevant to the learners with whom you interact?
I think I do this well. It is fascinating because some of the students do not understand the questions you ask. This shows that they still need a lot of one-to-one practice. One lady in this lesson kept saying ‘I do not understand’. I made it a focus of mine to get her to understand. I feel as though some students are not real learners. They come to our school thinking that just following the teacher and speaking a few words makes them a student. So, by circulating in class, and encouraging questions I can install the learning spirit in them. I think also my relevant questions about their learning and showing that we are all in this together, they will benefit from asking questions and learning in this class.
8. Do students seem to have grasped the point?
My first exercise was to get the students to write some sentences about what they feel they want from this class. I think I should have explained it better. They were not sure why we were doing the exercise. Saying this though I feel if I give them the answers they will just copy and give the answers that are the right answers but not what they really feel. Again I can look back at the questions for understanding. If they do not understand they should ask.
9. Did they use the LLS that was modeled in the task they were to perform?
They were hesitant to use the sentences I gave them about understanding. Some were not sure why they had to do it. They do the task but for some reason, they hold back. I think this idea of LLS was new to them. I have 30 hours with the class and I will try to improve their ideas on how they learn.
10. What improvements for future lessons of this type or on this topic might be gleaned from students’ behaviour?
I think I will try to have the students working together more and mixing the groups up also. I need to install some questions for understanding that will always be needed. I will try and keep them thinking that they can ask the teacher when they do not know.
11. What did you do at the start that got them thinking?
For this lesson about general appearance, I first asked questions about their height, and length of hair. I then talked about my general appearance. I did this by using my hands. I also wrote a spider’s web on the board to help with the words.
12. How did the students show they were trying to acquire the knowledge?
I said to them ‘Am I short?’ and the students answered ‘No, you are short.’ This showed to me who was listening. Some students asked me for clarification. This was good because it became more personal. I also said ‘am I young?’ which most people said ‘no’.
13. How did the students show they had learnt the grammar point?
I made them write some sentences on the board about the pictures I had put up. I let them write freely without any checking then once they had finished I checked over the work. I also had them write in the book about themselves and their partner and I went around and checked this.
14. With respect to language acquisition, how can you show this factor has been achieved with your students?
This was the first lesson and I do not think that they could have acquired the grammar. I think for this first lesson it was just to show them the words. I think in the next lesson I will allow them to try and use the words as it is easier to write than speak.
15. What do you wonder about in your teaching and your students’ learning?
I wonder why so many students when they do not understand either forget about it or ask their friends. Their friends may tell them the answer but it is in their native language. This dismisses their chance to listen to a native speaker explain. I wonder why they think they can not ask for clarification.
16. What puzzles you about your students, the content, or the organization of your classroom?
I think the organization of the room is fine but the class is too big. My content needs to be more learner-centered and less talk from the teacher. I need to have exercises that allow the students to be puzzled and ask questions.
17. What aspects of the students’ learning do you want to understand better?
I want to know how much they have learned in the class. I want them to show that they have understood the lesson and like speaking their new language
18. What are some of your teaching situations that you are intrigued by or want to change? Why?
I want to change the way I use the board and teacher talking time. I notice sometimes that I can be talking and the whole class is listening but I could have done this task a bit differently and got the students to do the work.
19. What do you know about your teaching or their learning that you are interested in verifying?
I want to know that my language is not too slow or fast for the level and also am I testing them to their fullest.