Day 3 in the TEFL course and it was time to do my display in class. Business English has always been my specialty but over the years I have gained extensive experience teaching elementary groups. They are a really rewarding level to teach and you see real progress every class.
The hardest part about teaching this level with adults, is you are often teaching vocab that you would teach children, colours; animals; days of the week; etc. The skill is teaching these topics in an adult way and creating a respectful and supportive atmosphere in the classroom.
Again snow meant that my usual group of 10 was reduced to 5. As it has been over a month since the group had been to English classes and they have little or no exposure to English outside the classroom, my focus was on rebuilding their confidence, revising the structures and building a sense of group again.
The idea of a model class is that it is encompasses all the elements that make up the methodology we teach. The warmer was a guessing game about Christmas presents we had received. started as a model to show the Ss what they had to do.
I described PJs (warm, comfortable, green and white, I go to sleep in them). They guessed correctly. I then asked each student to think of a present and a description. I monitored each student and helped with vocab etc. The first person said ” I got black boots”. I gave lots of encouragement but I explained the we needed to guess the present, it was a secret – using lots of mime and gesture. Next was Johnny (the class joker and always fun to teach). Johnny started with “my sister bought me blue jeans”. Okay, this wasn’t going to plan!
Eva was also present today. She is deaf and her mum usually comes as her interpreter but she wasn’t able to come today. Eva had been turned away at most academies as they felt it would be too complicated to teach her in a group. Our classes are for free and our motto is ‘access for all’. So Eva comes 4 times a week and is making great progress. She had a great list of descriptions and I helped her read them out. The final person was Lucy who described a pair of boots and after a few more clues, the class were able to guess correctly. Warmers are normally for 5 to 10 minutes – we were 20 minutes in by now!
Whether the class went to plan or not, it was great fun, the Ss worked very hard and the trainee teachers really enjoyed watching and were able to see the relevant parts, elicitation, modelling, correction and drilling.
The trainees have to chose 2 classes to write about in their observation journal and they normally pick the elementary class as the techniques are much more obvious than in higher level classes.
Another successful day and the trainees are beginning to speak like teachers and get excited/nervous about their first classes next week.