Day 4 TEFL course is a great day as the trainees get their first UNL class. The Unknown Natural Language element of the course is for the trainees to understand what it is like to be an absolute beginner, how it feels and to see the methodology in practice.
When I do the interviews for prospective trainees, they don’t understand how it is possible to teach English when they don’t know how to speak Spanish. The UNL shows how this is done by only speaking the language they are learning with no English in the classroom.
Today the trainees learnt Thai with Sherry who is a qualified TEFL teacher and is very dynamic in the classroom. With no English spoken, the trainees learnt how to spell their name, ask ‘what is your name?’, ‘how old are you?’ etc and give the appropriate responses.
The trainees then had to write up a journal about the experience. This focuses on the methods they saw such as eliciting information, how the teacher uses gestures to communicate her meaning, how she corrects them, encourages them etc. However, it is also about how they felt – embarrassed; stressed; excited ; proud of themselves etc. This gives them an invaluable insight into how their students will be feeling during their classes.
The trainees really enjoyed the class and it was a great way to finish the day with them all leaving the school speaking a few words of Thai!