Language is communication. In other words, learning another language is akin to finding out how to be in contact with a whole group of other people, which can broaden horizons and make life more interesting.
For this reason, many individuals are drawn to the appeal of learning English, some of whom have a need for the language to fulfill educational or work needs. However, for others, the desire to learn English is one born out of curiosity to understand the world around them more deeply, using the English language as a mechanism to enrich their comprehension of how their life works, and what it could be in the future.
For all students wishing to learn English, help is at hand in the form of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Read on to find out more about TEFL, as well as how literature of all things can play a major role in helping English language learners to thrive.
TEFL as a subject
For those not in the know, TEFL is the means by which learners of the English language can grow in their knowledge and confidence, by means of an organised and structured course of study. For decades, TEFL was taught almost exclusively in person, in conventional classroom settings around the world, but in recent years this trend has shifted to include online teaching scenarios as well.
Nowadays, becoming a TEFL teacher is easier than ever, with so many students around the world looking for an enthusiastic educator to help them on their way, and many nations openly supporting the idea of such teachers, when qualified, coming in to fill those roles. Indeed, TEFL lessons, including making online teaching effective, can often be taught to students of all ages and levels, from sessions on the present simple in grammar for beginners, all the way through to how to form and control cleft sentences for more advanced learners.
Furthermore, The TEFL Org survey here shows just how important TEFL is and continues to be global, with more and more tourism and business operations being conducted via the lingua franca of English. Due to this, now is a great time to consider the first steps toward becoming a TEFL teacher.
Becoming a TEFL teacher
The first thing to do to become an established TEFL teacher is to get a genuine and verifiable TEFL certification. This holds true whether the individual is looking to teach in person or online, abroad, or even start their own business. One reason for this is that students would prefer to know that their educator has gone the extra mile to ensure that their information is up-to-date and accurate, and this may well set many learners’ minds at ease from the very beginning of a study program.
On top of that, the courses themselves are run and taught by a team of experienced yet friendly TEFL professionals, who have spent many years in the field refining their craft, ready to pass on their skills to new teachers. Additionally, these programs are the perfect way to meet others who are also new to TEFL, sharing concepts and dealing with challenges together along the way.
Many countries actually only accept visa applications from applicants with a reputable TEFL certification under their belt, placing a high value on candidates who have taken the time and effort to show their willingness to be as qualified as they can be. For all these reasons, and many more, getting a TEFL certificate is the optimal way to set out on the career path of being a TEFL teacher.
The early days of TEFL teaching
With that TEFL qualification done, the time is ripe to begin working to help those TEFL students. Having said that, the early days in any new job can be both exciting and challenging, on a physical and mental level.
One great way to build connections with students and get to know them better is through storytelling. For many cultures, stories were passed down as oral histories, allowing young ones to connect with the legends of their ancestors, and this is as true today as it ever has been.
These stories could be from long ago, detailing the exploits of the TEFL teacher’s own childhood and all of the adventures that their early life brought them. Alternatively, a more recent story that could involve an incredible journey or an outstanding achievement might be told.
What all these stories have in common is to try and show that the TEFL teacher is both human and capable of achieving success with time and effort. These attributes are as important for the students to hear about as they are to actually try to implement in their own learning, and the stories themselves may just help students to feel more confident and comfortable in the learning space as they develop in English.
The Role of Literature in Learning English
Whether it be classic books, comics, or even more modern literature, books and magazines have a huge role to play in helping TEFL students learn and grow with English. Obviously, the major aspect that can be improved is reading in and of itself, helping learners to identify the alphabet and the myriad ways in which the written language might be used to tell an interesting story.
The stories themselves can create wonderful talking points for TEFL students to explore further with their teacher. For example, the author Roald Dahl wrote a number of famous children’s books that are known worldwide, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.
Despite these books being loved and appreciated by millions across the planet, they have recently been rewritten to be more considerate of modern audiences, who might have taken offense at some of the language contained in the books. This could become the platform for a classroom debate on the advantages and disadvantages of amending old literature and may provoke some fascinating responses from different students on both sides of the matter.
In any case, literature will continue to play a massive part in learning English, and a TEFL teacher should be aware of the possibilities that can be explored through this medium.