Tools to Keep TEFL Students Contributing and Engaged in TEFL Classroom
Admin - Oct 15 2016
Teaching English as a foreign language is challenging in itself, and that challenge is only further compounded by restless students who are unengaged and unmotivated. Attentive students keen on learning is of paramount importance for any successful teacher. Fortunately, there are various tips and tricks you could employ to keep your students focused and concentrating on the topic being taught. Instilling enthusiasm and then maintaining that interest is crucial to getting the most out of your students and helping them internalise the central concepts of the unit. Being mindful of the fundamental themes only further helps pupils to incorporate lessons into daily usage. There are many tools at your disposal to achieve eagerness in the classroom, however, for greatest success you must remember to use them judiciously and maintain an element of freshness.
Every student is unique, as such, different teaching styles work best for each student. Recent students have concluded that an excess of 65% of students are visual learners. This staggering statistic demonstrates that if an educator places an emphasis on a lecturing teaching style, a vast majority of the class becomes disengaged. To combat such a scenario, visual content should be dispersed throughout each lesson plan. This could come in the form of overhead projections, video clips, or usage of a blackboard. Something as mundane as a photograph could be used effectively to teach students about nouns and adjectives. Students will associate the visual image with what they are being taught and this connection will facilitate the recalling process when they need to retrieve the information at a future date. Similarly, a projection of a verb chart could be used when beginning a unit on irregular verbs. Students will have visual aid to help them become accustomed to new concepts, and the chart could then be removed as you progress through the unit. This technique could once again be employed to review central ideas covered at the end of every unit.
When used sparingly, audio tools are a great asset in any instructor’s teaching arsenal. Audio recordings are a valuable resource in helping students familiarise themselves with the structure and pronunciation of key English phrases. This technique could be used to teach communication during daily activities, including; job settings, schooling, household chores, travel, and greetings. Listening, followed by verbal rehearsal, greatly aids in spoken fluency. Such resources are readily accessible on the internet, allowing students the ability to access them from home and recite a few phrases at their leisure. Likewise, music is an invaluable device in keeping students enthusiastic about the content being taught. Furthermore, easy to recite lyrics help students become comfortable with the pace and rhythm of the English language. Tunes help ingrain lyrical content into the minds of listeners, making it an indispensable asset when teaching English to foreign learners. Other techniques such as creating a classroom theme song will further bring about a sense of belonging among your students and encourage them to participate in class activities.
Physical movement helps pump blood to the brain, resulting in focused minds best capable of concentrating on your lesson. It is important to use different methods of physical activities depending on the age of your students. Primary grade students should be encouraged to clap their hands or stomp their feet while chanting verbs. On the other hand, students of middle grades could be stimulated by attempting to mimic a 15 second pattern of finger snaps and hand claps demonstrated by you. This exercise will force students to be attentive participators attempting to repeat your actions. Lastly, when it comes to teaching high school students or older, use movement patterns of increased difficulty involving all four limbs, while discussing the importance of exercise in living a happy and fulfilling life. Work and play should be interspersed for the greatest efficacy.
Making friends and fostering relationships are often the highlight of any student’s academic career. Schoolchildren often arrive to class eager to talk with their peers and exchange stories. This desire to interact with one another is a great advantage for a teacher who knows how to nurture it. Allowing students to work in groups and collaborate on projects helps keep students engaged and promotes interpersonal communication skills that are beneficial in all facets of life. Another approach would be to divide students into groups to collaborate on assigned exercises prior to contacting you for help. This puts the onus on teamwork and discovering a solution amongst themselves prior to approaching you. The sense of responsibility will help students achieve greater feats than they might otherwise think possible.
Storytelling is a great method for keeping students focused on your every word. It is a great form of communication and one that dates back several millennia. The earliest forms of teaching take roots in such traditions and helped pass knowledge down through generations. As such, storytelling defines who we are us a species and goes a long way towards strengthening bonds and shaping the people we are. When employing this strategy, personal anecdotes especially go far towards capturing the classroom’s imagination and wonder. Storytelling doesn’t have to be passive; the rhythm you use, your tone, posture, hand gestures, and pace, all play a factor in keeping your students fixated on your every word. Moreover, this method could be parlayed with letting a few students talk about their daily activities since the last lesson. Improving students’ listening abilities enables them to become attentive learners.
The greatest teachers in history all had one thing in common: the ability to inspire students. To achieve this, you as a teacher must generate enthusiasm and a thirst for learning amongst your students. Only once a classroom is fully committed to learning can your lessons flourish and instill knowledge within your students. Movement and storytelling work wonders in capturing students’ imagination and keep them attentive throughout the ensuing lesson. When used in conjunction with appropriate usage of video and audio aid, these techniques will help students remain engaged and later facilitate the recalling of important concepts. In addition, incorporating group work allows students to develop self-reliance and communication skills that will forever be useful to them to successfully navigate all interactions within modern society. As a teacher, you have many wonderful tools and techniques at your fingertips to get the most out of your students, use them judiciously to create a nurturing classroom environment that promotes passionate learners.