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Summer 2019 as a TEFL teacher

I’ve spent this summer in Poland working as a freelance online TEFL teacher, based in Katowice. This is because I already have a flat in the city centre and the benefits of teaching online is that you can work remotely from a laptop. As a result, this summer has been quite comfortable for me. Having the motivation to pursue my own aspirations with TEFL teaching, materials creation, lesson planning and business development. In fact, I devoted two weeks over the summer to work voluntary at summer camps in Poland. Teaching conversational English language to teenagers and kids. This blog will look at some questions I tried to answer during the camps. Focusing on how foreign juniors learn English and engage in the English language outside of school and education environments.

 

How teenagers learn and engage in English as a foreign language

From my understanding the thing that young learners enjoyed most and benefitted from was conversational English speaking with Native mentors. But what to talk about? I feel it’s important for TEFL teachers to keep lessons and conversations interesting, engaging and inspiring so that language learning isn’t boring. Normally examples include, watching films in English with English subtitles, trying to read in English and trying to think in English to solve problems during everyday life. One surprising thing I learnt during my time at the camps was that teenage boys and some girls learn English through online gaming platforms. (not ESL games such as FluentU or Wordshake) I’m talking about the most popular console games such as Fortnite, Battle Royale, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Minecraft). These console games provide excellent story based gaming where students can practice reading skills, learn new vocabulary, become better listeners and talk with native English language people. As a result, with one of my private students in Katowice I proposed the idea of use having a one-off lesson in a gaming cafe where we played Xbox. I provided tasks to complete whilst still teaching new vocabulary, reading, listening and self-correction. This unconventional approach worked well for us both and we have spoken about doing it again for another lesson.

Gamification

Other trends and innovations which can create play and fun in an ESL classroom environment.

Elements of your class:

  1. Goal
  2. Rules
  3. Chance
  4. Competition
  5. Rewards

 

Offline examples include:

  1. Kahoot! 
  2. ClassDojo

I have previously written  review about Kahoot! Which you can check out in my previous blog. However, ClassDojo is new to me and I have only recently tried it out. It’s a free classroom application available on mobile and computers. Its used in classrooms to manage students behaviour and encourage learning by rewarding students with ‘Dojo’ points based on game/ classroom conduct. Parents can login and keep up to date with children’s progress which is shared as an avatar. Overall, it’s for classroom community learning recognising and rewarding important skills such as creativity, hard-work and teamwork.

 

Personally, I think the idea of combining games with teaching English as a foreign language works really well and if you have any ideas or suggestions or have tried stuff out yourself feel free to comment below.

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