Category: Professional Development

Here Are My Solid Gold Ten Tips for Teaching EFL Effectively

1. Be patient:

It is not easy to learn a new language. It takes time and the leaning process has many ups and downs. Your students may have difficulties and get frustrated, so you should be patient.

2. Use your body:

Move around the classroom and interact with your students. Have an open face. Smile. A smile shows you are happy to be there. Use gestures with your arms and hands instead of speaking. Contact your students with your eyes.

3. Adjust your voice:

Take care of your voice. It is not necessary to speak loudly all the time. Use a variety of tone and volume. Avoid shouting, otherwise you will lose your voice.

4. Know your subject matter and enjoy teaching it:

Get a look at the teaching course, textbook and the learning materials. Search for more knowledge related to the course. Read books, journals, articles, etc. for on-going professional development. All the time try to enjoy what you do. If you enjoy learning and teaching, your students will likely enjoy. Do your best to leave your personal problems at home and enter the classroom with fresh and clear mind.

5. Use variety in your lesson:

Variety is the spice of life. If you do one thing one way, students will feel bored. Use variety in everything, in the way you start the class, in your ways of assessment and even in what you are dressing.

6. Be a model in pronunciation:

As you are supposed to be a non-native speaker of English, you should listen to the pronunciation of new words before pronouncing them in front of your students. However, try your best to speak to your students as if you are a native speaker. Be aware of phonemic system of English to be a good model for your students in speaking good English.

7. Have good lesson plans:

Don’t step toward the classroom without a lesson plan. Take your time to plan your lessons. It’s preferable to have a detailed plan in the beginning. You may use a general outline after that or just a few notes. Do what works for you but the most important thing is to know well what you are going to do inside the classroom.

8. Use teaching aids:

Use the board and organize it well. Use drawings on the board. Create good visual aids such as: wall sheets, charts, diagrams, etc. Use audio files, pictures and word cards. Use your body and face and any other aids that can facilitate learning, attract students’ attention and address different learning styles of your students.

9. Engage your students all the time:

Encourage students to participate during the class. Call them with their names. Use games and music to motivate them to engage in the lesson. Use the element of surprise to keep them on their toes. Use appropriate materials that are suitable for their level and interest them. Encourage interactions among them. Don’t lecture or they will fall asleep. All the time think of something unusual to do in the classroom to draw your students’ attention and engage them in the lesson.

10. Control your class:

Have an orderly classroom putting everything in its place. Create certain system or procedures to follow with the class to organize and control the students. Respect your students and get them to respect you. If you have a student who is being disruptive, talk to him first outside the classroom and if he continues to be disruptive, let the law take its course. Consider agreeing with students upon some rules to follow from the beginning of the year. Rearrange the seating in the way that enables you to control the class or do certain activities easily.


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Ten Things Make Some EFL Teachers More Effective Than Others

There are many EFL teachers around the world but not many of them are effective. Effective EFL teachers are defined as those who have a clear impact on their students. Effective EFL teachers do not only make their students love and learn English easily and quickly but their students are found always looking forward to the English lessons and transferring what they have learned inside the classroom to the outer world. You do not need to have a professional certificate to be an effective EFL teacher, but it’s a matter of loving your profession and accumulating experience that will help you do certain things that always make you an EFL effective teacher. Here are ten of these things that you should consider if you want to join EFL effective teachers.

1. Well-mentally prepared:
Effective teachers always know the course materials and the outcomes of each unit very well in advance. They usually design a curriculum map for the whole course and get an overview of the new vocabulary and structures included in each unit. Moreover, they have a well-written plan for each lesson based on “Teacher’s Guide if available. They include the main six things in their lesson plan. As a result, when they enter the classroom for teaching, they become really well-mentally prepared.

2. Setting SMART objectives:
Setting SMART objectives is one of the main six things effective teachers include in their preparation notes. S stands for specific , M for measurable, A for achievable, R for realistic and T for time-bound. They do not only set right and clear objectives but they always put these objectives in their mind while teaching and try their best to achieve them at the end of the lesson.

3. Using teaching aids:
Effective teachers know well that using teaching aids in the classroom can facilitate students’ learning and attract their attention so they never enter the classroom without one teaching aid at least. Moreover, they use different and various teaching aids to address different students’ learning styles. They use pictures, flashcards, drawings, audio files, word maps, charts, diagrams, wall sheets and any other aids that can save effort and time, and make the lesson more interesting, and encourage more language practice.

4. Managing the classroom well:
Without classroom management, teachers won’t be able to deliver the message or achieve the learning objectives. So, effective teachers always follow certain system to manage their classes. Their students usually do what they want them to do. The atmosphere in the classroom is friendly and comfortable so students always respond positively to their teachers. Even if there are some discipline problems or misbehavior, effective teachers deal with them immediately and treat the source not the symptoms of these problems. As a result, noise heard from effective teachers’ classrooms is one described as “Healthy Noise”, as students’ learning occurs all the time of the lesson.

5. Having a good command of the language:
Effective teachers speak English fluently and they use English as much as possible in the class, even if they give instructions, or even if their students don’t know the meaning of some words. They can know the meaning by many means such as miming or pointing. Moreover, effective teachers try their best to pronounce vocabulary and structures as native speakers do. They do so with the help of talking dictionaries which they always use to check the pronunciation of any item they don’t know before. A good command of the language also includes continuing professional development and being aware of the latest trends of learning and teaching EFL.

6. Using different kinds of class organization:
Effective teachers don’t depend on only one kind of class organization such as whole class, pairs, groups or individuals. They use all these kinds of class organization in the classroom. They base the use of each kind on the learning objectives,  the kind of activity, and the time dedicated to it.

7. Creating real-life situations for students to use the new language:
Learning a language means mainly using and talking it not just talking about it or its grammatical items. Effective teachers know this fact well and know also that the language is a means not an end, so they present the key language structures and expressions, and then create realistic situations in the classroom where students are encouraged to practice and use the new language learned before. Effective teachers always endeavor to improve their students’ communication skills applying communicative approach principles.

8. Increasing students’ talk time as much as possible:
It’s students who should learn not teachers, so students should always talk and express themselves saying, repeating, practicing and producing the language. Effective teachers create as many opportunities as possible for students to talk and communicate with the teacher or with their friends inside or outside the classroom.

9. Assessing students’ learning of the lesson frequently:
Classroom assessment is very important to show to what extent the learning objectives were achieved. It doesn’t matter whether it is formative or summative assessment but the most important thing is that it should continue along the course and take as various forms as possible. So, effective teachers always ask their students oral questions, assign them some exercises to do at home and check them after done, give them regular quizzes, conduct periodical written tests, ask them to cooperate in doing a project, and other more assessment techniques they usually follow. Moreover, sometimes, they design some  more creative ones to assess their students’ learning. Immediately after each kind of assessment, effective teachers give their students the suitable feedback and make them feel a sense of progress or achievement in their journey of learning.

10. Wrapping up the lesson at the end:
It’s the question: “What have we learnt today?” with which effective teachers end their lesson every day, eliciting the main points tackled in the lesson from students. By answering this question, students will be more aware of the objectives of the lesson and assess themselves whether they achieve these objectives or not. After wrapping up the current lesson, effective teachers may give students a general idea about the next lesson to make the required link between the previous and the following learning.

These are the ten things winch – as I think – make some EFL teachers more effective than others. Let me know what you think of them, and what else you think a teacher should do to join EFL effective teachers. Don’t hesitate to comment and give me your feedback.


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Six Back-to-School Ideas for the First EFL Class.

Back to school. Finally! In Egypt. The first day of school is a special day for students and teachers. It is a day full of emotions. Teachers get anxious about how to start their first lesson and students feel nervous about how their teachers are like. I agree that first impression counts, so it’s necessary for each teacher to plan for a successful first lesson that will set a good tone for the rest of the lessons of the course along the school year. Here are some useful back-to-school ideas for the first EFL class.

1. Get to know your students and let them get to know you:

First, introduce yourself to your students telling them what subject you are going to teach. Give them some detailed information about yourself such as your likes and dislikes, your hobbies, your favorite football team, … etc. and then get to know your students asking them questions to find out a little more about them.

2. Do some activities to break the ice with your students: 

Plan for some warm-up activities to create a friendly and comfortable atmosphere in the classroom. Make it fun and always encourage students to communicate (in English if possible) with you and others comfortably. Remember, some students may feel shy on the first day; it’s probably the first time they’re meeting you and their classmates. A good way to help students overcome their shyness and lighten up the mood is to use icebreakers.

3. Go through the textbook with them:

Talk about what they are going to learn, and the specific skills covered in each unit. Tell them what they will be able do at the end of the course and how it is very interesting. Focus on the fun they will feel if they engage in the lessons.

4. Set the tone for all future classes:

Your first lesson is the perfect time to set your rules and expectations. Go over what you want out of your students, but also tell them what you plan to do for them if they stick to the rules. You can write the rules onto a piece of poster board to be shown clearly for all students every day.

6. Talk about possible disruptive behaviors and their consequences (For Adults):

You can mention some classic examples of disruptive behaviors such as:

  • Insults or put downs,
  • Bullying,
  • No respect for other students and their personal belongings,
  • No respect for the teacher,
  • Unwillingness to participate in the activities,
  • Not following the rules agreed upon beforehand,
  • Cheating,
  • Not completing tasks, assignments, homework,
  • Untidiness and littering, …etc.

And then, talk about what happens if a student do one of the previous behaviors. It is recommended that you tell them a system of punishments and rewards as well. You may choose to give them a warning first; the second time, they lose a privilege, like going outside to play; the third time, a call is made to his or her parents.

5. Get an idea of your students’ skill levels.

Plan activities that test the four basic English skills: listening, speaking, writing and reading. You can make a short quiz to know brilliant students and low achievers.

6. Let your students have a way to reach you.

Tell your students that you are in the school to help them and they can come to you for any problem they encounter in the course. Be precise and tell them exactly where and when they can come to meet you in the school. You can also give them your WhatsApp number to connect with you at any time.

Have a Great First Lesson!
Having a great first lesson sets a great tone for future lessons and makes students look forward to your classes. All you need is a good attitude and a few activities prepared beforehand. Treat your first lesson as a meet-and-greet rather than a classroom lecture and be sure to have fun! Start your first class in a fun way. That’s ALL.

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How to Support Your EFL Teachers at the Start of the Year

As an EFL supervisor, you should pay a visit to your EFL teachers at the first week of the new school year. First, you should check their preparation notes and then ask them to gather so as to be able to hold a meeting with them. During the meeting, talk positively with them about the importance of language and the honor of being a language teacher. Then, discuss with them how to be effective teacher of English by telling them the following:

1. Control your teaching:

As a teacher, you should try your best to make your teaching effective. You won’t be able to do so except if you:

  • Know the course materials very well by reading them in advance.
  • Know the outcomes of each unit and stick them at the front of your preparation notes to adjust your teaching accordingly.
  • Always prepare your lessons very well. Your lesson preparation should include mainly: Objectives – Warm-up activity – Presentation steps – Practice steps – Assessment Procedures and homework assignment – Self-evaluation Notes.
  • Have information about your students, e.g. their names, level of learning, weakness & strength points, … etc. and make use of this information when preparing your lessons.

2. Improve your teaching:

After controlling it, you should go a step forward to improve your teaching to facilitate your students’ learning. You can do that by:

  • Learning & applying new teaching methods, techniques and activities.
  • Adjusting your teaching according to your students’ learning levels and needs.
  • Reflecting on your success and difficulties in the classroom.
  • Discussing teaching experiences with your colleagues.
  • Assessing your students’ progress giving them effective feedback.
  • Correcting your students’ written work as soon as possible underlining their mistakes and then dealing with common mistakes on the board.
  • Designing and using simple teaching aids in the classroom to facilitate learning and attract your students’ attention.
  • Organizing your students during the class in different and various ways: whole-class, individual students, pair work and group work, and doing so depending on the learning activity itself and the time assigned to it.

3. Give students enough time for language practice:

English is a language and it is learned mainly by practice. To enhance language practice in the classroom, you should:

  • Create real-life situations and encourage students to use language in them as they have learned.
  • Give students the chance to hear and use authentic English.
  • Use audio and visual teaching aids to foster students’ talk in English fluently.
  • Ask students to put any new word they learn in a sentence of their own.
  • Ask students to utilize new structures in realistic situations.

Ten Things Students Expect From EFL Teachers in the Classroom

When students enroll on an EFL course or enter an EFL class, they always have their list of wants and needs. When they feel these things aren’t right and their expectations aren’t addressed, they start complaining or stop attending the course. So EFL teachers should take the following things into consideration:

1. Determining students’ levels of English.

Students come to your class with different objectives, needs and levels in English. So, you need first to start with doing something to identify each learner’s level. You can conduct a placement test to know that. Classify your class into groups according to the level of each one and adjust your activities accordingly.

2. Giving students the chance to feel they make progress.

Students need to feel a sense of progress and achievement. You can do so by telling students with the objectives of each activity they do in the classroom. Then give some quizzes to measure their progress giving them immediate feedback.

3. Encouraging students and inspiring them.

Students need encouragement to keep going in their journey of learning. Encouragement for students is like the fuel for the car. Praise any little progress and provide support all the time. Plan not only to teach students but to make difference in their life. Always instil positive attitudes in them toward English learning and creativity in using it. Make them convinced that content they are being taught is meaningful and useful for their progress in life.

4. Creating interesting experiences.

When you plan your lesson, you should put in your mind that today’s students are different. They have control on their choices and spend their time differently so if you want your students to learn, learning experiences should be planned to be interesting and motivating. They should be inspiring, engaging, exciting and empowering them.

5. Providing useful learning materials.

Learning materials can support student learning and increase their success. Learning materials should be tailored to the content in which they’re being used and to the students they are using. The availability of these materials is very important. The Internet has many resources for teachers, most of them free, that can help them make their own materials. And then teachers should upload them to all students to be available at any time everywhere.

6. Covering the four main language skills.

Language skills relate to different aspects of using language such as listening, reading, writing or speaking. Skills are our ability to do these things. They are usually divided into two types: receptive and productive. Receptive skills are those used in understanding, reading or listening. Productive skills involve producing language, speaking or writing. It is important to consider the four skills when designing language learning materials. This helps to identify the objectives of each activity or lesson. It is generally accepted that receptive skills should come before productive skills, however, it is important to remember that communication is interactive and requires the use of all skills most of the time. Learning materials based on covering all skills are realistic considering the real use of language everyday.

7. Keeping good relationship with students.

Students come to the EFL classroom expecting that they will enjoy friendly and intimate atmosphere. Comfortable learning environment is very important for students to learn and memorize what they get. Teachers should start their classes with a big smile asking students about how they are and call each student with his/her name. when the teacher starts questioning, he/she should avoid threatening or embarrassing any student. The teacher should be just a facilitator or a guide to students not a boss.

8. Being aware of native speakers’ culture.

Foreign language is more than knowledge of some theoretical aspects like vocabulary of grammatical items. When communication matters, Fluency becomes more important than accuracy, ideas and opinions more exciting than grammar and vocabulary. EFL teachers in the classroom should combine linguistic competence with cultural awareness. It is the knowledge of communicating beyond words. By understanding, appreciating the other’s values, customs and beliefs and the awareness of the different cultures among and around us, students will be able to absorb the foreign communicative language more easily and consider how it is different from their native language.

9. Providing immediate correction and feedback.

For students to feel a sense of achievement, they should receive immediate correction and feedback for their spoken or written answers. Such feedback can help students learn more efficiently; and if used correctly, feedback can function as a very powerful tool to motivate students to learn.

10. Being fair and flexible.

Even life is not fair, but students expect classroom should be so. To be fair means being clear, helpful and caring for all students all the time. In addition, you should be flexible with your students. you should have the ability to change to suit the different situations. Your adaptation to new and different circumstances is the key factor that leads to success in your career of teaching EFL.

15 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Teaching to Improve

Perhaps your previous school year went well and your teaching was amazing. Maybe you think it wasn’t and it went poorly. Maybe you can describe your previous school year and evaluate your teaching with different adjectives. Maybe you were not conscious about your performance.

So here are some questions to help you reflect on that school year so that you can be aware of what had happened and then can do your best in summer to make the next school year better.

  1. When were students at their best and how did I know?
  2. When did I notice myself doing the best and how did I know?
  3. What were classroom management strategies I used and were they successful?
  4. What did I do to save time as a teacher? Did I succeed?
  5. What are the key things that affect my effectiveness as a teacher?
  6. What was my teaching philosophy and was it reflected on my teaching practices?
  7. How was my relationship with my colleagues and how did it affect my performance?
  8. How was my relationship with my students and how did it affect their performance?
  9. How did I spend time inside and outside the classroom and how did I know that I did the right/wrong things?
  10. What did I do to motivate students to do what I asked them to do?
  11. Of the things that I didn’t do last year, which one was most worth my time to do?
  12. Could I affect my students and changed their lives positively? What should I do to do so?
  13. Did I succeed in making teaching fun for me? What should be done to feel so?
  14. What am I most excited about for the next year? Am I prepared for it?
  15. What is the one “big idea/thing” I should focus on during this summer to improve my teaching?

Top Seven Things for EFL Teachers to Do During Summer Vacation

It is your right after a lot of effort you did as a teacher to relax during summer vacation but it is also a chance to reflect on the previous year, prepare yourself for the coming year and develop your teaching skills. Here are the best seven things you can do in order to get the most benefit from the summer months.

1. Do Something for Yourself:

Start your summer vacation by doing something to recharge yourself and raise your enthusiasm. Go to the beach or on a series of picnics. Take care of your body by doing gym. Practice your hobbies individually or with your close friends. Recall your happy memories with your friends and relatives. Write down your dreams, ambitions and what you’ve achieved up till that point of time.

2. Keep Informed With Your Profession and Specialization:

Keep reading the news, latest publications, periodical journals, and educational magazines to know what’s happening in the field of education in general and in teaching EFL in particular. This up-to-date information could mean a big change in your tomorrow’s classroom practices. Write down your vision, opinion or comment on what’s going.

3. Inspire Yourself:

Remember that you are a professional person and you like your profession. Raise your positive attitude toward your job by reading about great educators and their success to make a difference in their surrounding world. Check out some inspirational books and movies. Plan to read and watch what can make you proud of being a teacher.

4. Reflect on Your Last Year’s Teaching Experiences:

Think back of your teaching experiences in the classroom and of how you were dealing with your various students. Write down aspects of success, what you did poorly and the challenges you encountered. Assess your classroom work. Look back at how you were teaching inside the classroom to see where you can increase your effectiveness and decrease time off task. Examine the lows and critically think about what you could do to avoid these situations in the next year.

5. Continue Learning About Your Profession and Specialization:

Set the goal of mastering teaching EFL by doing the following:

  • Enroll in EFL classes.
  • Pursue a Master degree in teaching EFL.
  • Attend seminars and workshops.
  • Read about the topics you teach.
  • Read about the latest trends in teaching EFL.
  • Attend online classes in EFL teaching.
  • Read online materials that renew your EFL knowledge.
  • Download and read e-books.

6. Volunteer at a Summer Programme:

Just because the school year ends, doesn’t mean students stop learning or you have to stop teaching. You can dedicate certain time weekly to help students in your community who are having difficulty with EFL. You can teach summer classes at your school, a nearby community college or at a summer program. Voluntary teaching adds value to students as well as to your experiences and ability to communicate with various children.

7. Plan for the Next Year:

You should use your summer to plan for the coming school year. It will free up much time when classes start. Start planning from your previous reflection and from your knowledge about what worked and what didn’t work with your students.  Think about your learning objectives (what you want the students to achieve at the end of the course you teach), plan effective and fun learning activities (something that will really capture your students’ attention), and come up with an assessment plan to implement throughout the course of the lessons. Brainstorm creative ways and activities to make this next year successful for your students and you.

Five Things You Must Do Well If You Want to Be Effective Teacher of English

There are some important characteristics and skills which are a must for any teacher of English to do his job effectively. Without these things, it’s preferable for the person to try another job or for the teacher of English to teach any subject other than English language. These things are as follows:

1.Talk well:

As a teacher of a language, you will not be able to teach it if you prefer to be silent most of the time especially during the class. You should be a model for your students in talking well using the language. Talk and encourage your students to talk to learn the language.

2. React well:

Good reactions are the main element in the learning process. You should have the ability to react to your students’ talk, questions and responses. Your reactions should not only be in a verbal way. Non-verbal reactions are often more effective. In your reactions you should use all means you have to give the suitable and effective feedback.

3. Explain well:

The core of teaching is explanation. You need to learn how to clarify language items to your students. Explanation includes many skills; e.g. giving examples, presentation, clarification, wrapping up, … etc. it’s a joke if you are a teacher and not having the skills of explanation. But it is not too late. You still have the opportunity to learn to teach, I mean to explain.

4. Enjoy:

Learning a new language is and must be usually an enjoyable experience. Suppose that you don’t feel excited when you learn or teach the language, how come to make your students enjoy learning this language. Enjoyment and excitement make learning permanent and guarantee achieving all learning objectives.

5. Create:

Teaching a language does not only mean presenting some certain individual words or teaching grammatical rules directly using very controlled activities but it should include creating real-life situations to use the new language. If the teacher of a language is not creative, students will not have the opportunity to live with the language. Language will be something stable for them. Teacher of English should go beyond controlled and guided tasks to free production stage. This kind of transfer will not be possible unless the teacher has the sense of creativity and encourages the students to be creative, too in their use of the language.

Best MOOCs for EFL teachers

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There are so many MOOCs for EFL teachers. I selected the following courses as I think they’re the best ones for EFL teachers to get the basic professional development. If EFL teachers take these courses, they will acquire the theoretical background of language teaching approaches and they will develop their teaching practices in the classroom as well.

* Teaching for Success: Practices for English Language Teaching

https://www.futurelearn.com/programs/english-language-teaching

1. Lessons and Teaching.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/english-language-teaching

2. Learning and Learners

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/english-language-teaching-learning

3. The Classroom and the World.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/english-language-teaching-classroom

* Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/understanding-language

* Teach English Now! Second Language Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation

https://www.coursera.org/learn/tesol-speaking

* Teach English Now! Second Language Reading, Writing, and Grammar

https://www.coursera.org/learn/tesol-writing

* Teach English Now! Lesson Design and Assessment

https://www.coursera.org/learn/lesson-design

* Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language

https://alison.com/courses/Teaching-English-as-a-Second-Language

Assessment Literacy. Topic 3. Dynamic Assessment

Topic 3

What is Dynamic Assessment? Do you know the basis of it?

There are four main methods of dynamic assessment. They are :
1.Testing the Limits.
2.Clinical Interview.
3.Graduating Prompting.
4.Test – Teach – Retest.

How to apply them when you design your test?

You can know the answers of these questions when you attend “Topic 3 Dynamic Assessment” which is the third topic of my FREE online course “Assessment Literacy” on Edmodo.com

To Follow the Course, you should:
1. Create a free account on Edmodo.com
2. Login to your account.
3. Join my group “Assessment Literacy”
* Join Group URL is https://edmo.do/j/ud25fi

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