If you have never taught a class of students before, it is worth taking a few moments to imagine your first lesson as an English teacher to a class of 30 students, none of whom are English speakers.
Here are some fundamental questions to ask yourself before you start.
- What am I teaching? (an example might be the present perfect tense)
- What does the class already know? (they are elementary level)
- How should I start? (this is called teaching methodology)
If, at this very early stage of thinking about this process, you are imagining yourself to be totally out of your depth, this is a good thing, as you are probably being honest with yourself and you are probably right.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is not as easy as it may first appear. Being a native speaker of English does not qualify you to teach it.
A TESOL course will give you a solid grounding into the areas of the English language that are commonly taught and an introduction to teaching methodology, techniques and planning. Which are of course, vital aspects of knowledge needed to stand in front of a class and teach.
The worldwide standard for entry into ESL teaching is the 120-hour TESOL certificate which may be done by studying online, studying at an in-class center, or by a combination of both previous methods.
In the next section we will expand upon the ideas stated regarding what components any TESOL course you take should include.
What can you expect from a TESOL course?
The two main areas of a standard TESOL course are teaching skills and language knowledge. Below we will look at these in further detail.
In order to adequately present information to a variety of learners there are some fundamental teaching skills that your course should give you. These include:
- Teaching methods: There are a number of teaching methods used in teaching ESOL students. You will be made aware of these and how they are applied.
- Learner types: There are different teaching situations you may be involved with, such as young learners, business English students, general English to adults, etc.
- Learner levels: Typically there are 5 levels of students taught. What are they and what needs to be taught at each level?
- Lesson planning: How do you construct a coherent teaching plan for a lesson, the purpose of which is some given teaching point?
- Feedback and assessment: How and when should feedback be given?
In order to adequately present correct English language information to your students there is some fundamental language awareness that your course should give you. These include:
- Parts of speech: What are the individual parts of language and what are their functions? Examples being, verbs, nouns, adverbs, adjectives, etc.
- The English language tense system: There are a number of tense description methods. Many ESL teaching courses advise students of twelve basic tenses.
- Modal and phrasal verbs: What are these and when and how are they used?
- Direct and reported speech: What are these and when and how are they used?