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Blog criado por Bruno Coriolano de Almeida Costa, professor de Língua Inglesa desde 2002. Esse espaço surgiu em 2007 com o objetivo de unir alguns estudiosos e professores desse idioma. Abordamos, de forma rápida e simples, vários aspectos da Língua Inglesa e suas culturas. Agradeço a sua visita.

"Se tivesse perguntado ao cliente o que ele queria, ele teria dito: 'Um cavalo mais rápido!"

quinta-feira, 23 de junho de 2011

Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language.

TEFL Course January 2011.

Are you a good English teacher? Do you want to learn more?

Sometimes it is really difficult to know whether someone is reading this blog or not. In fact, writing here is time-consuming. In some moments, I don’t feel like I am happy about it, I mean, it doesn’t make any sense to me to continue posting something new if I don’t know the result of my articles, tips, links and the likes.

If you can remember, I have posted here some tips about teaching. Now, I have the pleasure to present to you the top 10 dos in language teaching. I hope you enjoy them.

Again, these are the basic principles that make a TEFL class fly. They’re easy to forget, so refresh your memory (and your teaching!) by coming back to them now and again.

If you have some questions, suggestion or criticism, feel free to send it to me and keep in touch by emailing me through



Top 10 Dos

1. Go for it!
2. Have an aim.
3. Be organized.
4. Get students talking – to each other.
5. Start a lesson with a warmer.
6. Use variety.
7. Instruct clearly.
9. Work on pronunciation constantly.
10. Correct students (in a nice way!).

1. Go for it!

Throw yourself into teaching, give it your all, and have fun (your students are much more nervous than you are! Remember what it was like when you learned a language?). Encourage and motivate your learners. Make your classroom a positive and enjoyable experience.

2. Have an aim

The most important thing is your lesson needs an aim. Your students should walk away from a lesson feeling ‘Today I learnt how to do X’. Otherwise, the lesson can seem like a waste of time (remember classes you’ve been to where you thought, ‘What was the point of that?’).

3. Be organized

Familiarize yourself with any new content you’re going to teach. Make a running sheet. Have your materials ready to go, in plastic pockets in a file. Make sure the equipment works. Take a spare whiteboard marker. You’ll feel confident, so you can relax and enjoy the time with your students.

4. Get students talking – to each other.

This isn’t just about making a lesson lively and fun (although that’s a big plus). Learning English is a skill, like learning to swim or cook. Your students need to practice English, not just learn about English. And the best way to make sure students get lots of practice is if they talk to each other, in pairs and groups, or mingling as a whole class (don’t make all the practice through you, or only one student gets to talk at a time).

5. Start a lesson with a warmer.

A warmer is a simple activity, preferably something active and fun, where students talk to each other. As you know, it’s easy to feel awkward and shy with a big group of people. A warmer removes that anxiety. It helps students feel relaxed and confident to speak for the rest of the lesson. In a warmer, students should be interacting in small groups or mingling – definitely not talking one at a time to the whole class. That’s the opposite of a warmer!

6. Use variety

As you know, there’s nothing worse than a boring class. But making a class interesting isn’t about playing games all the time, and avoiding anything ‘heavy’. Rather, it’s about variety. Vary the skills your students are practicing (listening, speaking, reading, writing) as well as the pace and physical activity (sitting, standing, mingling, running). Keep the expression ‘light and shade’ in mind – follow a quiet and serious activity with something fun and high-energy.

7. Instruct clearly

We’ve said it’s important to have students practicing in a variety of activities. The one risk that creates – as opposed to a traditional class, where students just have to sit and listen – is that they won’t know what to do. This is especially so since English is their second language. The result will be chaos! Instruct simply and clearly, and support your instructions with an example or demonstration (modeling).

8. Elicit

Eliciting means asking the students to tell you, rather than you always telling the students (which is the unfortunate dynamic in many classrooms around the world). Turn everything into a question. Rather than drawing a picture on the board and saying ‘This is a car’, ask, ‘What’s this?’ Always give your students a chance to tell you things. They’ll find it very empowering and engaging.

9. Work on pronunciation constantly

Pronunciation seems to be the last thing many teachers think about. But if you can’t understand someone’s pronunciation, it doesn’t matter how good their grammar or vocabulary is! Whenever you teach anything new – grammar or vocabulary or functional language – you should teach students how to pronounce it as well, and give them a chance to practice it orally.

10. Correct students (in a nice way!)

Numerous studies show language students want much more correction than they get (we’ve found that some TEFL teachers are possibly too kind-hearted!). Students like correction because they feel you’re listening to them and trying to help them. It’s how you do it, of course – correction should be gentle and encouraging, not a reprimand. Bear in mind correction is not always appropriate. If students are involved in a discussion, don’t interrupt, or you’ll inhibit them. Wait until afterwards to discuss any errors you heard.