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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:
Learning teaching skillsTeaching is not simply standing in front of a class and talking or as the old saying goes ‘chalk and talk’. Teachers who teach like this makes for a boring classroom and bored students who learn little. Teaching is engaging the student who then is more motivated to learn. Learning teaching skills is important in order to motivate and engage your students.
Richard Leblanc (1998) writes about the top ten requirements for good teaching. Passion is the first quality required. Teachers who are passionate motivate students to learn in a manner that is meaningful and relevant. Good teachers are respectful and professional at all times and they remember to treat each student and class individually, as all children
are different with different learning styles.
Good teachers continue learning and improving their knowledge of teaching and teaching practices. Flexibility is another essential quality of a good teacher. There is nothing worse than a boring lesson, bored students and a teacher who doggedly continues with the lesson. This will quickly develop into a class of behaviour problems. A little imagination and a shift in content and style might just turn the class back into engaged learners.
Good teachers are stylish and entertaining. Acting is a big part of teaching to engage students who love to laugh at and with their teachers. This leads to humour, an essential component of good teaching. It is important to be able to laugh at yourself, which makes the class environment more relaxed and flexible.
Teachers are nurturers as well as educators and the social and emotional well-being of students is as important as academic skills. Team work between teaching staff and students assists in cohesion. Student groups’ work well in the learning process as it is a way for students to share ideas which can influence understanding of content. Active learning assists students to relate content to past experiences and their daily lives by talking about what they are learning which makes learning relevant to them.
Chickering and Gamson, (1987) talk about the seven principles for good practice as:
• Encourages contact between students and faculty
• Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students
• Encourages active learning
• Gives prompt feedback
• Emphasises time on task
• Communicates high expectation, and
• Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.
A good teacher gives prompt feedback to students so that they can understand content and are less likely to form bad habits. Encouraging on-task behaviour assists students to learn effectively and is a skill that they can carry through life. A good teacher also has high expectations of students which encourages good learning and shows students that you value them and want the very best for them.
Praise for good performance is important for students’ self-esteem as long as it is for good performance (Orobia). Students are excellent judges of fake praise and will lose respect for a teacher who praises for no particular reason.
Students will learn if the teacher begins with the knowledge already known and progresses from there, thereby mastering one concept before moving to a more complex concept.
A quote from Leblanc, (1998) sums up good teaching practice as, “At the end of the day, good teaching is about having fun, experiencing pleasure and intrinsic rewards … like locking eyes with a student in the back row and seeing the synapses and neurons connecting, thoughts being formed, the person becoming better, and a smile cracking across a face as learning all of a sudden happens”.
Leblanc, R. (1998). Good teaching: the top ten requirements. At:
Chickering, A.W. & GAmson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. At: http://www2.honolulu.Hawaii.edu/facdev/guidebk/teachtip/teachtip.htm#techniques
TESOL Articles: Orobia, H. Learning teaching skills at: