Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be an English teacher! It was because my mum was my kindergarten teacher. She was so creative, engaging and inspiring that I wanted to be a teacher just like her. I had my own chalkboard at home and I was always the teacher when we played “school” with my friends. I think I’ve always had this huge passion for teaching and, today I have been an English teacher for eight years in Istanbul, Turkey. (more…)
It’s easy these days to get carried away with all the talk about advances in educational technology and what the latest, coolest web-based resource is. The truth for many teachers and students around the world is that they are lucky to have one computer and a projector in class and even luckier to have internet access, which even then is highly likely to be filtered. This is the case in my school: each class has a “teacher’s” computer with projector and, at best, unreliable internet. Therefore, the most commonly used tool in class is PowerPoint. Even then, many teachers dislike it as they feel ‘chained to the computer’ so how can we make sure it’s used effectively?
Earlier this month, I awoke to a lovely message telling me that Teaching Village was the TEFL Site of the Month. While always thrilled to get an award of any kind, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t sure what this award was for (I’m still sort of new to this blogging business). So, I went over to TEFL.net and learned Teaching Village was being recognized for having developed “a rich community of English teachers from around the world.” (more…)
“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” Forest E. Witcraft
Children are always cute and eager to learn but unfortunately they have very short attention spans and affect each other very quickly. Sometimes you may lose their attention (even if you are playing a game) which means also losing the control of the class. And once you lose their attention, it is really hard to get them to concentrate back on what you were doing. To prevent this, I have ten tips to share with you!
1- Whenever I change activities or the students need to change place (from the table to the cushions for instance) I count slowly up to ten and everybody gets ready. In addition to counting up to ten, you can also rhyme or use a musical instrument (mine is maracas) to make sure they are all ready to start the next activity.
2- When a student wants to go to the toilet, some others also want to go to the toilet not they need to but because it looks fun to go all together. This is also the same for drinking water. When one wants, some others want, too. So before each class, make sure you have “toilet and water” time.
3-Small children have conflicts, disagree and argue a lot and make complaints about each other. After listening to the problem, make sure they apologize to each other. A simple “I’m sorry!” may be the solution most of the time.
4- Be sure your kids are not hungry, sleepy or thirsty during the class hour. Any of these will detract attention and may spread to all students.
5- Keeping the kids in a row is sometimes really hard. In my class, I take my imaginary magic wand and make a spell that keeps all the kids in a line with imaginary magical glue and it really works!
6- Most of the kids like group work but some may like to work alone. It’s better to let them work on their own for they can disturb others if you force them to do group work. And also, when grouping the kids, take into consideration that kids have different ability levels. Try to group them as equally as you can.
“My childhood may be over, but that doesn’t mean playtime is.” Ron Olson
7- As a teacher, you should choose the activities you enjoy as well. If you like what you do in the classroom, your kids will, too. Also be enthusiastic when you are doing your activities. Always keep in mind that a teacher is like a mirror to her/his kids.
8-Immediate feedback will increase the motivation for your lessons. Don’t hesitate to praise your kids with bravos, well-dones, good jobs and fantastics!
9-Balance the energy level in your class by playing both settling and stirring activities during the same class hour. For example after a very exciting activity , I rhyme “Two hands clap, two hands lap, right click, left click, concentration (eyes closed, take the lotus position), concentration, concentration… Wake up!” And suddenly, they are quiet and ready to listen to me.
10-Be sure you raise the curiosity especially when you start a new unit. When children are curious, they explore the language and come up with new ideas.
Above all I mentioned here, the most important thing is to LOVE and RESPECT your kids. Don’t forget that even though they are small kids; they have their own thoughts, personalities and feelings. Let them feel your love and you will see it will return back to you like a boomerang!
“As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.” Dr. Haim Ginott
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“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow” John Dewey
Kindergarten has always been the place to make friends, paint pictures, tell stories, play games and have fun while learning. Wooden blocks and legos have always been favorites in kindergarten classes. Today, the world is undergoing a digital change, changing our children digitally as well. Marc Prensky says “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” in his Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants article. I agree with him wholeheartedly. (more…)
Graduating from University felt awesome and life was beautiful. Full of enthusiasm and open for fresh perspectives I was ready to walk the new path as a fully qualified EFL teacher.
I had taught before graduation – most students did. I already had my favourite games and a foolproof set of grammatical exercises that would make an idiot grasp the difference between Present Simple and Present Continuous. (more…)
When I sat down to write this post, the only thing came to my mind was, ”At the moment I’m where I’ve always wanted to be and this is because I’m an EFL teacher.” Being an EFL teacher helped me become who I am now. It promoted my creativity, enabled me to find different solutions for problems,and helped me become more patient and understanding. If you love teaching, please do it. You need to be self-motivated but the challenge is worth it. Before you start maybe you should know some facts about it. (more…)
Part of the series: Stuff All EFL Teachers Should Know
As a manager I interview a lot of teachers. One question I always ask is about reading texts. If you have a short reading text, what are some different ways in which it can be used? I am constantly surprised by the lack of responses I get to this question. Candidates most often give one of two responses
1) I have the students read the text and then I ask them questions about it.
Ok, this is standard and nothing wrong with that. We want to check to see that the students comprehend the text, but this is generally quite boring and is really more of a test than teaching reading skills.
2) I have the students read it out loud.
Sadly, I have seen this used a lot in classes at well. I’m sitting and observing a class of 15 students and the teacher asks one student to read out loud while the others follow along in the book. This has to be one of the worst wastes of time for a class. One student is speaking and the other 14 students are bored out of their mind and not paying attention. Additionally, the one reading isn’t comprehending the text because they are too focused on speaking correctly. The only thing being worked on here is pronunciation of the one student reading the text. (more…)
(Note: If this is the first post you’ve read in this series, and you’re mystified by the PLN acronym, start with What’s a PLN, anyway?)
The seven guest authors for the “Front Lines of EFL” series have been the members of my personal learning network I’ve shared with most intensively in the past few weeks, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned from them. If you haven’t read all of the posts in this series, then perhaps it will provide a good summary as well, before moving on to more stories.