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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Building student confidence is an extremely important part of teaching. Not only does improving their confidence effect how much they will contribute and learn inside the classroom, but it will determine how confident they will be using their new language out in the real world. Both the teacher's attitude towards the students and the types of activities used in the classroom have a major effect on student confidence. It is of utmost importance for the teacher to know each students as an individual. This will prevent some students from hiding in the background and force them to see themselves as an important part of the class. Once the teacher is aware of each student, it is important for them to challenge each student's individual strengths. Designing some challenges for students that they feel they can succeed at make them approach all challenges they are presented with more confidence. Wanting your students to be successful will encourage them to fear class participation less. Although surprise quizzes may be useful at times, it is a better strategy to prepare your students for tests in advance. Not only is the review a good opportunity to increase the students' understanding of the language, but the students will be less stressed if they are not constantly worried about negative surprises in the classroom. The teacher must also take time to answer each student's questions fully. This will not only increase the student's comprehension and confidence with the language , but will show the student that the teacher truly wants them to succeed as an individual and increase their self-confidence. The types of activities that the teacher presents to students will have an effect on their confidence in the classroom, but will have an even greater effect on their comfort using the language outside of it. Some teachers recommend constant drilling of common sentences, such as introductions. The logic behind this is that students will feel the most nervous at the beginning of a conversation and having these elements committed to memory will aid them. There seems to be a larger contingent that disagrees with this thought process and warns against drilling as the exact sentences drilled will be seldom reflected in real-world scenarios. The use of role-play exercises is widely believed to be the most effective confidence boosting activity for students. These exercises not only encourage students to be creative with the language, but they mirror real-world interactions and will make students much more comfortable with the language with enough exposure. It is important that the teacher not interrupt role-play exercises and let the students work through any difficulties they might have. In role-play exercises, as in all exercises, it is vital that the teacher presents mistakes as a great opportunity to learn and tries their best to remove any negativity associated with them. The teacher should also place heavy emphasis on grammar and vocabulary exercises. The more that students understand these two elements, the more confidence they will have expressing themselves freely. The role of the teacher in student confidence is a very important one. Making students feel comfortable and willing to contribute in class will allow them to get the most out of their learning experience and also make the classroom much more enjoyable for everyone involved. More importantly, the level of confidence each student has in themselves and their knowledge of the language will have a direct impact on how often they will use the language in the future. Having students who have learned the language cannot be viewed as a success by the teacher if the students are not comfortable enough to use the language in the real-world.