Avoid these TEFL Teaching Traps
Do a quality job for your students and avoid these common traps:
Talking too Much
Understandably new teachers are often a bit nervous and in reaction to that, they often talk too much. About themselves, about English, about anything and everything. Your students are most likely in your class to learn how to talk, not to listen to you talk. If you are really nervous about your performance, find ways for your students to talk more and put yourself in the background. That’s what you should be doing anyway!
Over- or Under-Correcting your Students
Finding the right balance is the sign of an experienced teacher and a good reason to take a good TEFL course. Too much correction and your students are afraid to talk and you crush their self-confidence. Too little correction and students babble away with completely incomprehensible speech. Read Error Correction in EFL over at TEFL Boot Camp to get yourself around the idea.
Ignoring Local Culture and Customs
Do you know that in some cultures pointing with one finger is rude? That motioning with your palm facing up (versus facing down) is an insult? We all read of these things, but make sure you know the local culture where you teach. We all know the Don’t show the sole of your shoes to someone in the Middle East or the Don’t pat a Thai student on the head customs (both a bit over-emphasized really) – so get in tune with where you are.
If you are unsure ask one of your better students to give you feedback (though it can be difficult in many cultures for students to give their teachers any negative feedback at all). Ask your host country English teachers to tell you of common cultural errors that other teachers have committed (more indirect and probably more fruitful).
Talking too Fast or too Slow
Too fast and your students can’t understand you (depending on their skill level, of course). But the biggest error is speaking too slowly. Too slowly and you are providing an unnatural sounding model for your students. Too slowly and they can’t learn and won’t do all the things native speakers do when speaking quickly – such as reductions, linking, contractions and much more. Too slowly and they will never understand a native speaker speaking at normal speed because they haven’t heard it from you. Read the Expanded Concepts section on this Teaching EFL Pronunciation page at TEFL Boot Camp.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Get a good handle on those four most common errors of newbie teachers and you will be far ahead of the pack.
TED’s Tips™ #2: Get yourself some good quality training. It doesn’t have to be expensive. TEFL Boot Camp is the lowest priced online TEFL Program – and the low price is guaranteed. Most of the course is online and free and accessible to anyone who is interested.