This is going to be a series of posts aimed at inexperienced teachers who want to get some general tips about what to keep in mind and how to manage teaching. I decided that I can rely on my over-twenty-year teaching experience and being a teacher trainer who delivers a variety of courses and training programmes for teachers and I might help those who would like to get some advice on teaching or want to prepare for a course like CELTA to earn an international certificate in teaching.
First and foremost, don’t fall into the trap of following the coursebook without thinking about the learners and the aim of the lesson.
1. Plan your lesson by
- analysing the learners’ needs
- setting main lesson aims
- evaluate the coursebook materials critically and decide if you have to adjust the materials available to meet your learners’ needs.
2. Think outside the box when it comes to introducing the activities and making the transitions between the stages smooth.
3. Don’t forget to anticipate possible difficulties and prepare learners for tasks.
Finally, it’s worth planning the type of feedback that you are going to use.
If you are keen on motivating your learners, use a variety of things. This can help you keep them focused and interested.
- Use different task types and activities
You can use a mixture of controlled and freer practice tasks or checking comprehension activities if there are matching, gap filling or answering questions exercises.
- Use a variety of interaction patterns
Let your students work individually, when they have to plan what to say or read the prompts. After allowing some thinking time, get them to work in pairs, small groups and teams.
- Consider using different feedback techniques.
You can elicit the answers wholeclass, ask a fast finisher to write them on the whiteboard or project the answers using a PowerPoint presentation and an overhead projector.
The more you teach, the more you understand what works well for your learners and what you need to change or get rid of.
Consider repeating successful tasks and reflecting on what makes them useful and beneficial for your learners.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out new things but don’t lose the focus of the lesson and your learners’ needs.
Keep thinking how you can improve the activities so that they become effective and show the learners the value of tasks.
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