Once you’ve completed TESOL training, it’s time to think about your personal teaching methodology. To succeed in an English language classroom, you’ll need to focus on engaging your students. Here are some tips from TESOL masters that can help you capture your students’ attention and become a better teacher.
1. Bring Some Drama into the Classroom
One way to hold your students’ interest is by adding some drama to your lesson plans. TESOL students in most countries are familiar with American film, television and music. Instead of asking them to simply read dialogue from a textbook, assign roles and ask your students to act out the words to their favorite American TV show or karaoke to an American pop song.
You can take drama in the classroom one step further and ask your students to dramatize scenes from well-known movies. Create a simplified script that includes some famous movie quotes, like “May the force be with you,” and let them have fun. A great resource for film quotes is the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Movie Quotes. If possible, try to videotape your class’ performance. Not only will this give you the opportunity to review your students’ English competency at a later time, it could offer the prospect of very engaging, entertaining in-class activities.
2. Have Fun with Word Games
Many teachers employ classroom games to help students learn English vocabulary and grammar. Using word games helps to motivate students and makes repetition less tiresome. There a variety of sources online for English language games, such as EnglishClub and Interesting Things for ESL Students. Create a repertoire of games that focus on different skills, so when your students begin to lose interest in one game, you can switch to another and keep the learning process fresh. Be sure to avoid complication by looking for games that require minimal or no equipment.
3. Solicit Student Feedback and Adapt your Lesson Plans
At the end of class, ask your students which activities they enjoyed most and then adapt your lesson plans based on the feedback you receive. The idea is not to let them dictate the lessons they learn — of course there are subjects that need to be covered and benchmarks that need to be hit — but by asking for their opinion, you’ll get to know your students and gain a better understanding of the teaching methods that are most effective for them. Although it may seem that using a predetermined lesson plan will save you time, in the long run it can keep you from succeeding because it may fail to actually engage your students. Adapting your lessons to your students’ language level and learning style is the best way to meet their language needs.
You can also ask your students how topics discussed in class relate to their culture. For example, there may be a holiday or other cultural event that you can incorporate into your lesson plan. If your students have trouble understanding your question, do some cultural research of your own outside of the classroom.
For additional tips on becoming a better TESOL teacher, visit the TESOL Association resource center.
|Meet the Author: Sarah Fudin
Sarah Fudin currently works in community relations for the University of Southern California’s Online Masters in Education program, which provides students the opportunity to earn a TESOL certificate online. Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.