The Challenges of EFL Teaching Today

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Teaching is an age-old profession. Even teaching English as a Foreign Language has been around for longer than most of us realise, as the need for global communication has always been an issue. However, that’s not to say that teaching has remained the same throughout this time. Theories of teaching and learning and teaching techniques and methods have changed quite dramatically in EFL teaching, as have the general principles of classroom management, assessment and discipline.

These developments might have given us access to knowledge and resources which help our EFL teaching, but there is also the flip side of progress. These days, EFL teachers are met with a whole load of different challenges which we have never had to deal with before.

Technology in EFL teaching

Technology has become a part of our everyday lives, both in and outside the classroom. As teachers we need to learn how to use technology to our advantage in our EFL teaching. We should not be using just for technology’s sake. Instead we should be making use of the best way technology can help us achieve our EFL teaching aims. The end goal is to benefit our students, even if this means stepping out of our comfort zones.

Our students in the EFL classroom

At the same time we need to understand that as a result of the advancement of technology, our students are different too. Our students these days are more likely than not to be so-called digital natives. They have lived with technology their whole lives and use it more naturally than previous generations. As EFL teachers we need to understand how to communicate with our learners and prepare lessons which are effective for them. This means keeping up-to-date with current trends in order to be better able to relate to and communicate with our students.

The English language

Technology and globalisation both mean that the English language itself is changing. New words are coming into use every day, and most of them are familiar to only a small part of the population. EFL teachers need to keep up with the language as it changes and understand what is necessary for who to know.

The use of English

Let’s not forget that English is now more likely to be spoken between two non-native speakers than two native speakers. English is used for business and international communication and its users are not usually native speakers. This means that the English we are teaching in our classes may lean more towards English as a ‘Lingua Franca’ than the English we were trained to teach.

EFL teachers -EFL Teaching

As a consequence, the value of native speaking teachers is changing too. While at the moment there are unfortunately many institutions (and learners) who prefer teachers who speak English as a first language, this is changing. More and more people are realising that English learners can make exceptional teachers as well and that they bring a host of benefits native speakers don’t.

All in all, this is an exciting time to be an EFL teacher. There is so much information and so many resources available to help us in our EFL teaching. We just need to make sure we keep up with the changing times!

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