I have been teaching English online to children in China for over a year now. While there have been many awesome benefits to this experience, there have also been a few bumps along the way. Some of these things were certainly to be expected and come naturally with any online or teaching experience in general. However, there are a few things that I wish I would have known about before signing my contract and undertaking this position, if not purely for my own contentedness. Teaching English online certainly has its positives, but, as with any job, the negatives, or shall I say, “challenges’, should be addressed.
This TESOL / TEFL article gives valuable advice for the different kinds of grammar and vocabulary tests that ESL teachers must administer to their students and provides practical tips on how to prepare students for the test in a Communicative Class.
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When evaluating students’ knowledge of grammar it is very important to determine whether each exercise is evaluating the mechanics part of the grammar or the meaning. In other words, it is important to determine whether the exercise is checking the students’ knowledge of the structure versus the knowledge of the function this structure fulfills in context.
Grammar review lessons are so important to help in the correction of fossilized errors and to clarify any misconceptions or confusions. At lower levels, students are often taught grammar topics in isolation without much of a sense of how the grammar is used in relation with other language points. One of the key lessons I learned as a new teacher was to take the grammar that students have previously learned and to teach them not only communicative but out of isolation.
One way to review grammar is to use sample sentences that the teacher hears them use regularly. This way the language is being taught in the most communicative way and the language begins to come alive to the students. They are also more likely to fix fossilized errors as they begin to notice the ones they commonly use as they are written down and analyzed.
In this blog, our 120-hour TESOL certificate graduate explains how to use communicative activities and authentic materials to supplement Unit 2 of the FCE Oxford Textbook.
Verb Patterns are one of the more challenging grammar topics to teach to students as at this point in their learning, it’s just a matter of re-learning and memorization. One of the best ways to help students learn and remember Verb Patterns is to have students see them in context. I created a list of discussion questions to start this section off. Once they have finished the discussion, I have them underline the two verbs and note which verbs have -ing following them and which have the infinitive following them. I then move on to complete #1 and #2 from the textbook.
There is a great deal of evidence proving the effectiveness of peer to peer education. What does this mean exactly? Essentially it is the idea that the teacher facilitates the beginning of a lesson but encourages a great deal of peer-to-peer correction (with the guidance and supervision from the teacher), strategizing, communication and teamwork among students.
When I began teaching English, the one thing I struggled with the most was getting my students to engage with each other. I was so focused on learning the material from the textbook and how to effectively teach the grammar points that I didn’t realize how important bonding and relationship building was between myself and the students. Furthermore, I didn’t realize how it would not only take the stress off of my shoulders, but how it would yield even higher results than teacher-led instruction.
-Clare completed the 120-hour TESOL certificate course and she is currently teaching English in Toronto-
A TESOL certificate is highly recommended for licensed teachers from Canada and the United States who teach newcomers or are planning to teach abroad.
A teaching license or a degree in Education will put you ahead in some teaching programs abroad, especially in public school programs such as ADEC in the United Arab Emirates, NETs in Hong Kong, and EPIK in South Korea; however, a TESOL certificate is recommended for licensed teachers who want to teach English abroad and many employers often ask licensed teachers to upgrade their credentials to qualify for higher wages. This is because TESOL is a very specific subject and the methods used in the English classroom are not learned in a degree in Education. This article will explain more about the lesson planning formats, the teaching methods, and other topics licensed teachers would learn in a TESOL certificate course.
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Congratulations! You passed the interview with EPIK! Now, passing the interview does not mean that you got the job. Your documents have to get to South Korea before the application deadline before EPIK sends you the contract. The deadline may be a few months ahead, but do not fall asleep! There are many applicants and jobs are filled on a first come, first serve basis. You have to send all the required documents to your EPIK recruiter as soon as possible in order to avoid being placed on the waiting list. In general, positions get filled three weeks before the deadline and those on the waiting list may travel to South Korea a few months later than expected, if they get to travel at all.
Food is always a fun topic to teach English, especially if you have a very multicultural class. The best way to engage the students is to continuously bring the discussion back around to the food and restaurant experience in their country. You will be amazed at what you learn about cultural traditions and different students’ perspective on the food they eat. In this article, our star graduate explains how she supplements the FCE Oxford textbook with communicative activities and authentic material.
Incidental language is one of the major infractions that will automatically get points docked from your interview/mock lesson score and lower your performance review. This is because when practiced in an ESL classroom, especially with newer learners, it throws off the flow of your lesson and puts your students in a confused, agitated, or non-responsive state which, in turn, can lose both you and the company clients. This type of language is speech that would not be a problem to use when conversing with native or fluent English speakers. However, when teaching in an ESL classroom, especially an online one, it’s the ultimate killer. This is because, as foreign language teachers, we are required by duty to speak slowly, carefully, clearly, and to the point, catering to each student’s individual capacity and level. It’s only natural that we use it in our daily lives, so we are completely accustomed to it. Most times, we don’t even realize that we are doing it. In fact, it takes a conscious effort to train yourself out of the habit. Here are some examples of the incidental language that I was guilty of using in my early online ESL teaching days and tips for how you can easily tweak or totally avoid it.
There is one common denominator that dominates the teaching criteria required by all online ESL companies, especially the ones geared toward teaching beginners and young students: Total Physical Response (TPR). This methodology involves a series of techniques that focus on using the body through gestures and facial expressions in order to facilitate understanding and solidifying learning. Every online company that I’ve interviewed with and/or worked for has prioritized TPR above all else, as it is the one nearly fool-proof way to get your point across to students. While TPR motions can be considered fairly obvious, it is crucial to remember to be consistent when using them. If you are going to assign a gesture to an action, word, or sound, make sure you use it all the time, and encourage your student to use them, too. Below I’ve listed the TPR gestures that I use most frequently with short descriptions on how to put them into effect. Good luck!