There is no doubt that teaching English as a Second Language can be a challenging job. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can manage your classroom effectively and with ease. In this article, I’m going to talk about three ways the 120-hour TESOL certificate course offered by OnTESOL prepared me really well for teaching English in Canada.
1. Organizing a Lesson
The lab assignments in the OnTESOL course taught me that well-structured lesson plans are also highly engaging. The steps in the lesson are meant to motivate students about the topics, activate students’ thinking, and offers a space for them to communicate in English using different skills.
It is important to prepare your students for a task and to set them up to be successful. For example, before approaching any reading or listening task, I always prepare my students with a good warm-up task, such as thought-provoking discussion questions that are shared as a class and in pairs.
I often try to include the language point in my discussion questions so that students are already using the grammar structure without even thinking about it. Once we reach the listening or reading task, I write two to three questions on the board with information they need to listen or read for. This way they are actively listening and using the required skill effectively.
Finally, pre-teaching vocabulary is an essential task that should be done at almost every level to ensure students understand what they will be reading or listening to. These are just a few simple ways that add up to help give structure to your everyday plan and to promote effective learning strategies.
2. Eliciting Information Through Concept Questions
Concept Questions was one of the techniques that I found useful to get me away from the Direct Method right from the beginning. They are a common technique used in grammar lesson plans that follow the PPP framework.
When teaching a grammar class, I try to provide example sentences using the language point and then have the students tell me, for example, the time and tense of the verb in the sentence or the meaning of a word or phrase after I’ve written it on the board. For example, for Concept Questions on the present perfect with “She’s just come back from India,” I would start by asking the students: Did she just go to India? Did she go a long or short time ago?. Read the full article about using Concept Questions on the OnTESOL Graduate blog.
3. Using Authentic Material to Supplement the Textbook
Another way to make my ESL classes more engaging was to supplement the ESL textbook with Authentic Materials. These can be anything published in the media, including TV, songs, social media, magazines, or even a restaurant menu. Authentic Material are useful to expose students to grammar and vocabulary and bring students alive by helping them build their confidence to fully interact with the world around them.
4. Classroom Management
Although adults are more motivated to learn than children, there are times when teachers face challenges with those students who struggle to stay motivated or to participate.
The assignments in the TESOL certification course taught me to reflect critically on effective classroom management strategies and helped me to approach my students in a way that would support them to improve. Behavioral issues tend to be fewer with communicative and task-oriented ESL lessons but there are times when ESL students would prefer to be somewhere else or may find the level of the lesson too difficult or too easy.
When I am faced with challenging students, speaking with them directly and in private has worked well at getting to the root of the problem. I often come from a compassionate approach and remove all blame by asking the student how they feel about the level of the class, what activities and travelling they are planning to do while studying ESL in Canada, and what movie or concert they are planning to go. This way the student feels supported and I learn more about interests and materials that may be useful for the class.
About the Author: Clare taught English abroad and in Toronto before becoming a Student Advisor at OnTESOL. Study TESOL online with OnTESOL. Self-paced online TESOL courses with optional live workshops. Includes job assistance for teaching jobs worldwide. Compare OnTESOL with CELTA