Tag: tips for efl teachers

16 Tips to Become the Best EFL Teacher

1. Learn your students’ names.

You will be able to control your class better and gain more respect if you learn the students’ names early on. If you are one who has a poor memory for names, ask each student to bring a photo of his own and write his name below it. Your students will be impressed when you call them with their names.

2. Establish authority from the beginning.

Establish a system for communication in the classroom from the first day. Deal quickly with inappropriate conduct in a friendly yet firm manner.

3. Be overly prepared.

You must be well mentally prepared for each lesson. You should know the sequences of activities and how long each activity will take. You should also have an additional activity prepared in case you have extra time.

4. Always consider the learners’ needs when preparing for each lesson.

Why are your students studying English? How will they use English in the future? What do they need to learn? The answer of these questions helps you specify what and how to teach and what to focus on.

5. Be prepared to make changes to your lesson plan.

If the lesson you have prepared isn’t working, don’t be afraid to modify it. Be sensitive to the students and the conditions around.

6. Find out what learners already know.

This is an ongoing process. Students may have already been taught a particular grammar point or vocabulary. Base your lesson on their prior knowledge and provide them with additional information that they don’t know.

7. Be knowledgeable about grammar.

You don’t have to be a linguist to teach EFL. Most of what you need to know can be learned from reading the students’ books. Often the rules and explanations about structure in the students’ books are much more accessible and realistic than in other books

8. Be knowledgeable about the learners’ culture.

The learners’ culture can be a valuable tool for teaching. Knowing it will raise your ability to communicate effectively with your students.

9. Don’t stick literally to the set book.

Add any extra necessary vocabulary, functions, grammar, or topics that you feel the students may want or need.

10. Don’t assume that the set book will always work.

Many activities must be modified to make them work, and some have to be changed completely to cope with the educational setting.

11. Teach vocabulary effectively.

The building blocks of language are not grammar and functions. The most essential thing students need to learn is vocabulary; without vocabulary you have no words to form sentences, no words to pronounce. Help your students to use the stock of vocabulary in their minds and learn more.

12. Proceed from more controlled activities to less controlled ones.

Not always, but in general, present and practice more structured activities before freer or more open ones.

13. Don’t neglect the teaching of listening.

Listening is the most important skill to teach your students. While listening to each other and to the teacher will improve students’ overall listening ability, this can be no substitute for listening to authentic English. As much as possible, try to expose your students to authentic English in a variety of situations. The best way to do this and the most realistic is through audios and videos. Videos are much more motivating and culturally loaded.

14. Turn regular activities into games or competition.

Many familiar teaching points can be turned into games or activities with a competitive angle. It is a sure way to motivate students and activate them to work on the language.

15. Motivate your students with variety of activities.

By giving a variety of interesting topics and activities, students will be more motivated and interested, and they are likely to practice more.

16. Don’t leave the learners in the dark.

Explain exactly what they are expected to learn in a particular lesson. Make sure that students know what they are doing and why. Each task should be introduced so well that students know what to do exactly.


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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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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.

Three Recommendations for EFL Teachers to Consider From the First Day Back to School

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Teachers of English as a Foriegn Language are asked to take into account the following recommendations from the beginning of the new school year to make great success in their career:

1. Control your teaching and make it as effective as possible by:
* Getting to know the course materials very well by reading them through in advance.
* Getting to know the outcomes of each unit sticking them at the front of your preparation notes to adjust your teaching accordingly.
* Preparing your individual lessons well.
– Preparation notes of each lesson should include mainly the following:
Objectives – Warm-Up Steps – Presentation Steps – Practice Steps – Assessment Procedures or Homework – Self-Evaluation Note.
* Making sure that you have any important information about your students; their names, level of learning, weakness & strength points, ….etc.

2. Improve your teaching and facilitate your students’ learning by:
* Learning & applying new teaching methods, techniques and activities.
* Adjusting your teaching according to your students’ level and needs.
* Reflecting on your successes and difficulties in the classroom.
* Discussing teaching experiences with your colleagues.
* Assessing your students’ progress giving them grades, marking their written work regularly and giving them effective feedback.
* Designing and using simple teaching aids in the classroom to attract your students’ attention and facilitate their learning.
* Organizing your class in different and various ways; whole-class, individual students, pair work and group work, depending on the activity being taught at different times of the lesson.

3. Give your students the opportunity for language learning and practice by:
* Creating a natural context and real-life situations to use the language.
* Giving students the chance to hear and use as much authentic English as possible.
* Using more and more teaching aids to untie your students’ tongues & encourage them to talk in English naturally.
* Contextualizing the new language asking students to put new words in sentences of their own and utilize new structures in real-life situations.

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