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Top 3 Challenges Teachers Face Today & How to Deal with Them

top challenges teachers face today

In this article, I tackle the top 3 challenges that teachers can encounter in the classroom and suggest some ways to deal with them.

1. Teaching First Classes

In teaching, teachers always face the challenge of how to teach the first classes. In these classes, it’s vital for teachers to establish rapport with the students and set the tone for the rest of the course.

Such classes can fall into two categories:

  • New group

In this group, the students don’t know each other, and some work will be needed to establish rapport between the class members. Students may be unfamiliar with the EFL methodology.

  • Existing group

In an existing group, the students are already likely to know and be comfortable with each other and familiar with EFL teaching but they need some activation of previous knowledge refreshment.

Ways to Deal with First Classes

When faced with the challenge of teaching new classes, teachers are recommended to set aside the course book and do the following:

  • Establish rapport between the students (in the case of a new group) and also between the teacher and the class.
  • Find out about the students. This will allow the teacher to be able to plan future lessons to cater to the student’s interests.
  • Find out about the student’s needs/aspirations with English. This enables the teacher to tailor the course to meet the needs of the class.
  • Find out the English level of each individual class member. Areas of difficulty with the language can be built into the course syllabus.
  • Do a questionnaire/survey too. This will allow the students to get to know each other and also enable the teacher to learn a lot about the student’s level and ability in the English language.
  • Allow the students to find out information about the teacher. This helps to establish rapport between them and the teacher.
  • Do need analysis to recognize students’ aims and expectations after completing the course.
  • Revise vocabulary already learnt or introduce new words.

2. Warming Students

Imagine you are a language student arriving early at class on a grey, cold Monday morning, and immediately after your arrival, your teacher says “Good morning, let’s do the future continuous tense”.

It’s hardly going to inspire and motivate you.

That’s what warmers are for. They are usually short, fun, communicative activities designed to get students motivated and interested in using English.

Here Are Typical Warmer Ideas You Can Use:

  • Memory games

For example, one student starts with “Yesterday, I went swimming,” the next student would say “Yesterday, I went swimming and played football,” and so on.

There are many other such activities that can be used. It’s important to make them fun but short. There are some more ideas for warmers HERE.

You will find that they really help in getting students warmed up and in the mood for using English.

They are especially useful if they can be linked to the “Study Phase” of the lesson.

3. Teaching Mixed-Level Students

One of the biggest challenges that teachers face is teaching students at varying levels.

If the school has a competent entrance-level testing procedure, the chances of this happening will be reduced but not prevented totally. Some students learn more quickly than others and in classes that started at the same level, gaps can start to appear.

Ways to Deal with Mixed-Level Students:

  • Use different materials

When the difference in ability is wide, the teacher may wish to split the students into two groups (one with the stronger students and the other with the weaker class members). The teacher can give different materials to each group, appropriate to their level.

  • Use the same materials but with different tasks

Here the teacher will give the students the same materials but give the stronger students longer, more complicated tasks appropriate to their level.

  • Pair stronger students with weaker ones

Many teachers prefer the strategy of allowing stronger students to assist weaker students. They can help explain and clarify things.

Care must be taken to not let the stronger students dominate them and do all of the work, while the weaker students are little more than onlookers.

Final Word

Experienced teachers should adopt a mix of the above ways to enable classes to progress more smoothly.

Thanks for reading

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