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EFL Dos and Don'ts

Discuss working and making a living overseas, starting a business, or studying abroad.

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EFL Dos and Don'ts

Postby Erik Episcopo » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:56 am

Just wanted to share a couple Dos and Don'ts for those teaching abroad

Do Have a Rewards System

This is critical to managing a classroom. If students have the chance to earn rewards they will be motivated to behave well and pay more attention in class. Establish a fair and simple system for students to earn rewards and you will find managing a class much easier. It’s always better to reward positive behavior than to punish bad behavior. Rewards can be anything your kids might be interested in like snacks, stickers, or stamps.

Don’t over explain the material

When I first started teaching, I found myself doing this a lot. I would try to go into a detailed explanation of the theory behind a particular sentence structure. As for the students I might as well have been speaking Spanish. They had no clue what I was saying and were nowhere near being able to use the grammar correctly. I quickly learned that I had to tone down my language and drastically simplify my explanations. Using stories, examples, chants, and pictures were all things that I found were effective because they stuck in the students head.

More Teaching Abroad Dos and Don'ts

Any others that you can add to the list?
Erik Episcopo
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Postby Jester » Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:01 pm

Great post, thanks!
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Postby Erik Episcopo » Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:03 pm

Thanks for the feedback!
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Postby zboy1 » Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:27 pm

Good thread, Erik!

I found that simplifying instructions during lessons is very important, because students often have difficulty understanding more complicated language. I also made the same mistake as Erik, in trying to be too thorough and detailed when explaining grammar; that only confuses students even more.

Another thing is when doing error correction, be careful not to do it in a overly harsh manner--as that makes foreign students uncomfortable and shy as a result.
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Postby E Irizarry R&B Singer » Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:08 pm

zboy1 wrote:Good thread, Erik!

I found that simplifying instructions during lessons is very important, because students often have difficulty understanding more complicated language. I also made the same mistake as Erik, in trying to be too thorough and detailed when explaining grammar; that only confuses students even more.

Another thing is when doing error correction, be careful not to do it in a overly harsh manner--as that makes foreign students uncomfortable and shy as a result.


Jajajaja! It's easy to over-explain things because we are so accustomed to over-explaining things just to make sense of such complicatedly-backwards system here Stateside. Complicated system reigning over stupid people. Sounds like infamy to me.
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Postby Ghost » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:29 pm

I agree with simplicity. That's a good rule-of-thumb in anything. If you work at a language center then you'll have to mix in entertainment with teaching. For little kids, entire classes will have to be games. It can suck. So perhaps one of the main EFL don'ts is avoid most language training centers.
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Re: EFL Dos and Don'ts

Postby Cornfed » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:19 am

Erik Episcopo wrote:Do Have a Rewards System

Ye-es, but you should not go overboard with this, otherwise you will find yourself dragging around a huge ever-more expensive sack of candy in order to try to bribe your students into complicity. Where it is possible to punish students, a punishment structure is much more important than a rewards structure. In Korea I asked to be allowed to walk around with a bamboo stick like some other teachers and whack aberrant students on the arm. Permission was denied, damn it.

Don’t over explain the materia

This is somewhat obvious. The CELTA course forbids you to explain anything, and if you didn't speak their language it is somewhat impossible anyway. Like any practical skill, learning a language should be practicsed and demonstrated. It is only when you have an interpreter available that explaining certain things is valuable.
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Postby zboy1 » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:56 am

Do you guys have any tips for me on how best to teach adults? Any games you can suggest? How best to simplify instructions?

I'd like to thank Renata for helping me with material and teaching tips last year, so let's expand and post any power points and activities to this thread. It would be really helpful for any newbie teachers out there.
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