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.

Seven Tips to Speak English Fluently

You may have been studying English for many years but still feel that English is stuck in your mouth and you can’t express yourself freely to people. When it comes to talk, you may realize that your English is frozen and you don’t remember any word. You may think that your English level isn’t enough to speak fluently and you need more practice to increase your level from intermediate to advanced one.

Feeling stuck is frustrating and discouraging. Sometimes, you might lose confidence and give up. The good news is you can fix this problem. Here are some tips you can use to begin to move forward and avoid feeling stuck in your English.

1. Make English a part of your everyday life:

Practice English regularly, just for 10 or 15 minutes daily. Do something in English every day. For example, listen to different English podcasts every morning, read something in English before you go to sleep, watch something in English in your free time.

2. Read out loud and record yourself talking in English:

Read aloud to practice the pronunciation. You can also record yourself talking about what you understood. Record yourself talking in English and then you can see what you need to improve if it is grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation.

3. Engage in a conversational class:

Enroll in a class of English conversations to learn how to express yourself in each real-life situation. In this course you can learn new vocabulary and grammar and how to use them in conversations. Moreover, you will practice speaking and listening.

4. Watch series or movies in English without subtitles:

That way you will sharpen your listening skills plus you will get the real language that native speakers speak. In this case, there is a great chance to remember the spoken language because of your high concentration and desire to know what they are talking about in the movie.

5. Listen to music lyrics with their scripts:

It is fun for you and you can learn new words from lyrics of songs you love. These new words you learned are used in sentences so it is easier to remember them.

6. Use what you learn the same day:

If you learn a new word, a new phrase or some grammar, you should use it the same day. For example, you can write a comment on Facebook or an email, tell your friend or relative about it.

7. Communicate with a native speaker:

The best way to develop your confidence in English is to communicate with native speakers so they can help you practice authentic English.

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.

Start the School Year with Teaching Students These Four Skills

I recommend teachers help their students develop the following four skills from the very beginning of the school year as they set the tone for powerful, engaging and self-directed learning.

  1. Researching

Tell your students that your main job nowadays is not to give them the information but it is to teach them how to find the information.

  1. Contribution

Encourage students to make meaningful contributions to their surrounding environment. Teach them how to do so. When they have the opportunities to make such contributions they will be motivated and working hard.

  1. Working on projects

Let and help students determine projects that they are passionate about to work on during a certain period of time. Teach them how to plan their projects and provide them with useful resources.

  1. Working together

Help your students build teams or groups. Teach them the rules of teamwork.

20 Tips to Develop Thinking in the Classroom

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If you want to increase your effectiveness at teaching, the first thing you should do is to encourage your students to think, and then develop their thinking skills. Here, I would like to share with you some actions to do in the classroom to encourage students’ thinking and develop their thinking skills.

  1. Act the role of a facilitator or a guide not a lecturer or a preacher.
  2. Show enthusiasm for challenges and complex tasks that require students to think.
  3. Present your lessons in a logical and organized sequence.
  4. Use the kind of language that invites students to think (e.g. compare, classify, predict, suppose that, etc)
  5. Ask open-ended questions, wh-questions, why do you think so?, what if? and other kinds of questions of higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy that require students to think.
  6. Create problematic situations and encourage students to find creative solutions for them.
  7. Encourage students to ask and answer each other’s questions that provoke thinking.
  8. Encourage students to apply their past knowledge and experience to new situations.
  9. Move around the class and encourage students’ mobility.
  10. Encourage students to interact and cooperate in doing certain projects.
  11. Organize your class in various and different ways for different activities (e.g. pairs, groups, individuals and whole class)
  12. Value thinking and show creative works of students around the class.
  13. Use a variety of visual media to facilitate learning and encourage thinking (e.g. charts, wall sheets, videos, maps, pictures, flash cards, body language, etc)
  14. Encourage students to respond in any way without fearing of making mistakes and give supportive comments on incorrect responses.
  15. Create various and different evaluation activities.
  16. Always ask students to clarify and justify their answers.
  17. Always ask for alternatives or different points of view.
  18. Ask students to expand their answers adding more points.
  19. Encourage students to reflect on their thoughts or points of view.
  20. Ask students for clear and realistic ideas and asking about how to apply them to everyday life.

Hard but not impossible

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Learning a new language is not easy. It is hard for adults and busy people to learn a new language that sounds differently from their mother tongue and that they don’t use outside the classroom.

It is really hard, but not impossible. Recent studies suggest that you can get better at a foreign language simply by listening to it, without speaking it yourself.

In other words, if you listen regularly to podcasts in the language you’re trying to learn, you will learn it at the end.

One hour listening practice a day following with some simple tasks is a good start to improve your listening comprehension and increase your ability to distinguish sounds.

Also, it is recommended to watch TV shows or short video clips and read material written in the language you are learning.

The goal is to be surrounded by the target language at all times and immerse yourself in it. Still, you should be both passive and active when you learn a foreign language, that is to listen and speak, read and write. In other words you should receive and produce something in the language you are learning EVERY DAY.

 

Understanding Your Low-Achiever Students

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Who is the low-achiever student?

If the student doesn’t or achieves to a low extent the required objectives at the end of the lesson, unit or course, it is important to recognize and identify him/her as a low achiever. In this case, a remedial plan should be designed to allow him/her to learn the required knowledge and skills to achieve the established objectives.

Why are some students low achievers?

Some students are low achievers due to different and various reasons. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Perhaps the content is too difficult or the students must learn a large amount of it in a short time.
  2. Maybe there was no time for practice, revision or recycling the previous content.
  3. The students may use wrong or poor learning strategies or study habits when learning or studying their lessons.
  4. The students may suffer from stress, depression, physical illness or learning disability.
  5. The attitude of the students towards education may be negative. They may lack motivation to learn and study.
  6. The reasons may relate to the teachers and teaching. Teachers may be unclear concerning to the objectives their students should achieve. Teachers may use poor or inappropriate teaching or assessment techniques. Feedback and assistance that must be provided to low achievers may be totally absent or provided too late.

How to assist students to prevent their failure and ensure their achievement of objectives?

  1. Set the objectives that should be achieved at the end of learning sessions and prepare how to assess their achievement. Objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and timed) and be informed to the students orally at the beginning of each learning session.
  2. Diagnose the difficulties as soon as possible or anticipate them and prepare how to deal with and react to them.
  3. Observe the students and provide them with immediate feedback concerning to their points of weakness.
  4. Prepare some procedures the students should follow or design and implement a remedial plan to remedy your students’ points of weakness.
  5. Consult and get advice as early as possible from your colleagues, supervisor, psychological and social specialist regarding to learning issues of your students.

What to do if unable to prevent failure or remedy weakness?

  1. Never give a passing mark to the learner who doesn’t deserve it.
  2. Make professional judgments about your students’ performance.
  3. Document your judgments and let the school principal and parents be aware of them.
  4. Don’t feel “bad”. Failure in a course can be a signal for students to re-consider their choices of the kind of learning or specialization or at least it will mean that, unless they work hard, they won’t pass.

Seven Tips for Teachers to Help Low-Achiever Learners

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1. Know well who low-achiever learners are. They are learners who usually:

* lack basic knowledge or skills.

* have difficulty in comprehension.

* lack concentration.

* confuse easily in the classroom.

2. Change your attitudes towards them.

3. Give them clear, step by step instructions.

4. Be ready to give them extra help or explanation.

5. Motivate them all the time using all possible ways.

6. Be aware of their learning or studying habits and try to improve them.

7. Know their leaning styles and adapt your teaching to them.

 

20 Tips to Foster Motivation in Your Students

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1. Create a supportive environment where students are respected and feel a sense of belonging.

2. Believe in the ability of each student to learn.

3. Set up clear classroom rules from the very beginning and appreciate who follow them.

4. Be aware of the strengths of each student and focus on them not on their weaknesses.

5. Use your students’ interests, talents and goals to encourage them to learn.

6. Maintain disciplined, organized and calm classroom to increase your students’ concentration.

7. Vary your teaching methods and make the lessons interesting and enjoyable.

8. Adapt your lessons to your students life and needs.

9. Let students be aware of the objectives of each lesson so that they can realize the feeling of achievement.

10. Teach your students how to prepare and study their lessons, help them acquire good study habits at home.

11. Always provide positive feedback. Never embarrass or ridicule a student.

12. Assign homework that is specific and clearly related to the objectives of each lesson.

13. Emphasize cooperation rather than competition; support pair work and group work to create opportunities for students to help each other.

14. Teach students how to find solutions to the problems they may face.

15. Avoid practices or exercises that can cause frustration, instead adapt them to students’ level.

16. Provide rewards for unusual effort and success.

17. Establish a close relationship with students’ parents to assist their children in forming good habits at home so that they will be ready to learn at school.

18. Give your students the chance to lead a classroom activity.

19. Treat each student fairly, show no favoritism.

20. Discover your strengths, learn from mistakes and concentrate on doing your best.

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