HOW TO ADD VALUE TO YOUR TEACHING

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What more must I do to add value to my teaching besides teach?! we hear you ask.

It’s a valid point but hear us out. Teaching English as a foreign language can simply mean turning up to class, teaching your lesson from the coursebook, filling in some paperwork, marking some homework and leaving the school at the end of the day. Yes, this would be considered teaching English, but we’re sure you would agree that as an EFL teacher you can offer so much more.

Here’s how:

Get real

Use authentic texts and deal with real-life topics which are authentic and relevant. Relate your lessons to the world in which your students will be using English so your students will be able to see the links between what they are learning and why they are learning it.

Go beyond the classroom

If possible, utilise the world outside the four walls of your classroom. Organise excursions to museums, art galleries, exhibitions, restaurants, talks – the possibilities are endless. If you are in an English-speaking situation then of course your students will be able to practise their language skills with other people besides their teacher. If you are not in an English-speaking situation, being outside the classroom still helps to keep students interested and motivated. A change of scenery can do wonders for class morale.

Show them the bigger picture

We teach lessons in a certain order or in a certain way because of the bigger picture of the syllabus. Our lessons are building blocks and each lesson builds on a previous one; we do not teach a topic or a language point in isolation. While we may be well aware of this, our students are often kept in the dark and are expected to trust the teacher in terms of their learning journey. Why not let them in on the secret and inform them of your plan? This will help them understand the reasoning behind your lessons and be more patient with the process.

Revise revise revise

Teaching language without allowing time or space for revision is like pouring water in a holey bucket – it’s just a waste of everybody’s time. There is no way our students are going to retain any information they get in class if they are not given time and opportunity to revise the language they have learnt. This can be done through exercises or games, but the important thing is it is done regularly.

Teaching English as a foreign language is a job which looks relatively simple on paper – teaching English! – but which is actually so much more than that. As EFL teachers we have so many things available at our fingertips to make our lessons more exciting, our classrooms more inviting and our teaching more effective, that not to take advantage of the situation we are in would be a huge mistake. So think carefully when you are planning your next lesson and think about how you could make it so much more.

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