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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:
I have learned the importance of attention to detail. For example, the section on phonetics, only being as short as it was, was still far more in-depth than I had ever journeyed into that particular area of language. But learning how the different ways we use our vocal chords and mouths to produce sound genuinely enables you to help the students correctly pronounce the language—it’s even a difference you can sometimes see immediately. As for grammar, only knowing bits of it isn’t enough—you have to constantly practice knowing all of the grammar structures. Teaching indirect objects makes half as much sense as it would if you taught them together with direct objects, and so on and so forth. While teaching any part of the structure, it’s important to show how it fits into the overall scheme. I also liked how often the course stressed preparedness. Now I know the level of detail that should go into my lesson plans in the future, and I also know that I should be fully prepared for them to utterly fail and thus have spare activities on hand at all times. I’ve had the unpleasant opportunity to witness a few class periods where the teacher A) maybe didn’t prepare enough, and B) didn’t really have all that much to offer aside from the lesson plan they’d poorly prepared. Learning how to prepare for class, and then how to fit the lessons together so they build on each other, will be priceless. I’ll also be using the wide variety of activities that this course has opened up to me, from the games included to the ones available on the various websites. Sealing the class period with a game that activates the knowledge in the students’ brains has got to be one of the best strategies out there. Overall, I’ve learned that I need to be constantly active when it comes to both teaching and learning how to teach—they’re both processes, and paying constant attention will undoubtedly help me learn from my successes and failures.