HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR RESOURCES IN THE EFL CLASSROOM

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Classroom. Whiteboard. Desks. Chairs. Coursebook.

When you think of a TEFL classroom (any classroom, in fact) these are probably what you would consider essentials in order to teach effectively. For many TEFL teachers around the world, this is their normal. Many even have other resources at their disposal, like projectors, Internet access, computers for the students. But there are also other teachers who teach in less than ideal circumstances.

Some EFL classrooms do not have enough desks for the students. Some EFL classrooms do not have a coursebook or any resources. Some EFL classrooms have over 100 students.

These are all tough situations and teaching in any of these situations would be challenging. Unfortunately, this is the reality in many EFL classrooms around the world and if you find yourself in one of them you will need to make the most of what you have. To help you out, here are a few problematic situations and some advice on how to get around them.

Help! I Have 100 Students!

100 Students may seem like a bit of an exaggeration but it actually isn’t. So what can you do when there are so many students and only one of you? It can be very difficult to try to control 100 students or to try and make sure 100 students are listening and paying attention to you when you are standing at the front of a very big classroom. Instead, try to do as much group work as possible. Dividing the class into groups will make classroom management much easier and the members of the groups can help keep the other students focused and on task.

Help! I Don’t Have a Coursebook!

If you find yourself without a coursebook, remember that the best lessons are often taught without one! Try to find a coursebook for yourself so that you have a syllabus to follow or write your own. Then think about how you can use real-word resources and authentic materials in your lessons. There are probably many things you can bring into the classroom to make learning possible. Plus, you can do some research into Dogme lessons and make use of that teaching technique.

Help! I Have to Teach Two Classes Together

Sometimes in a low-resource environment this can extend to the number of teachers available. If perhaps a teacher is ill, you may find yourself teaching two different classes together. These classes may be different ages or different levels, but you will have to make do. In this case, if the classes are completely different and cannot work together, separate the students physically and plan a lesson so that one class can be busy with an activity while you are teaching the other class and vice versa.

If the two classes are similar, you can adapt your original lesson plan for a bigger class, increasing or decreasing the level of difficulty of the class as necessary. Again, group work is an effective way to maintain control of a big class and a good way to allow students of similar levels to work together.

While the TEFL dream is often teaching at a small school on a tropical island in Thailand, the reality of where you end up can be a bit different. Your TEFL course will have provided you with the foundations you need to teach engaging and effective lessons, but if you find yourself in a really tricky situation, hopefully these tips will help you.

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