Published 20th December 2017

Make no mistake, the TEFL course is hardcore. There is so much information you need to know, in terms of teaching methodologies, learning theories and classroom techniques, that there will probably be times on your course when you will feel overwhelmed. If this happens to you, don’t let it stress you out – it’s completely normal and happens to most of us. But, to try and prevent that from happening, here are five terms you can get your head around before you do your TEFL course and which will give you a head start.

Monitoring

Monitoring is what EFL teachers should be doing while your students are doing an activity, be it a grammar or vocabulary exercise or a speaking exercise. We monitor by walking around the classroom (surreptitiously, not getting in anyone’s way!) and listening to our students when they are talking. We monitor for a number of reasons: to make sure students are doing what they are supposed to be doing; to allow our students to ask us questions individually, without involving the whole class; to listen out for general or specific errors students are making.

Eliciting

Eliciting is a technique we make use of to make our classes more student-centred and learner-focused. Instead of always giving our students information on topics or language, we elicit feedback from our students. In other words, we ask questions to draw out specific information from our students.

For example:

“What do you call someone who works in a bank?”

“What tense is this? Is this in the present or the past?”

Concept Checking

Concept checking is the next logical step from eliciting, and actually should be utilised when teaching any vocabulary. Once you have elicited or taught a word, it is necessary to ensure your students understand the word. Concept checking involves asking questions to check your students’ understanding.

For example, if the target item is lion, we can ask: “What sound does a lion make?” or “Where do lions live?”.

STT

STT stands for student talking time, which is in contrast to teacher talking time. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is quite different from teaching other subjects in a mainstream school. In our classrooms, the students are the focus of the lessons. They are the driving force behind what happens in the classroom, while the teacher guides them along. As a result, in the EFL classroom, student talking time should be more than teacher talking time.

Realia

Realia are basically real things. They are authentic items you can use in the classroom to help you teach language. Realia can be utilised for teaching simple vocabulary items – for example, bringing an apple, banana and pear into class when you are teaching fruit; or for teaching more complicated language – for example, using tourist brochures and maps to practise giving directions.

Well done! You are now five terms closer to getting that TEFL certificate you have been dreaming of!