For TEFL Teachers in Spain, this is the first thing that you may be required to show. However, let’s go back to the students, and what they need as learners. Sometimes, they’ll need to understand how grammar works in order to effectively connect it back to their own language. Sometimes, they only need a refresher of sorts to jump-start the lesson they may have long forgotten. So, as one with a TEFL Certification, and pounding the pavement to teaching English in Spain, what sort of class will learners need to progress, and subsequently enjoy the learning process along the way?
The Conversation Class
By the time students come to you asking you for English classes in Spain, they’ll have already amassed countless hours in an academy, or at university. They know the grammar in theory. Do they know it, and can they subsequently use it in practice? That’s what the conversation class gives TEFL Students. It’s what they want to use in real situations, whether it’s in their social life, or in their professional life. The TEFL Teacher would simply arrive at a designated place with the student. It could be at their school, or workplace, or even a café. They might have some water, a cup of coffee, or maybe even a tapa of sorts (They are doing an English Class in Madrid, after all), and they will start talking. Now, what could they talk about? This comes down to the Spanish Speaker who wants to Learn English. What are they interested in? Do they like sports? Do they like travelling? Are they engaged in Spanish politics? Or are they keen on business, and looking to work on conversations so that they can freely interact with associates and clients? Perhaps they like the arts, and enjoy talking about movies, or even their family. Maybe they want to get to know you. There are many topics to speak about that could help the TEFL student hold a conversation in English for sixty minutes, or even two hours. It’s easy, right? A TEFL Teacher only has to go to a place where a student wants to meet, and the teacher simply talks to them. Therein lies the trap. One repeats the question, “What could they talk about?” One may add to this: “What if they can’t find anything else to talk about?” This can certainly be a challenge to the unsuspecting and unprepared teacher. One of the ways a teacher can navigate around this inevitable scenario is to come with follow up questions that relate to the individual. Where do they work? What do they do when they’re at work? Did they hear or read a piece of language that confused them? If so, this could be a good opportunity to show the student how the language works in practice. Whether the class itself hinges upon a specific language point, or the student needs practice with their speaking and listening skills, something new should always be taught. To the TEFL Teachers in Spain who find themselves confused about what to do to get around that trap of what to talk about with their students, make sure that you always have some material prepared in case you hit this interactive stalemate. You’ll be thankful, and so will your student.
The Grammar & Vocabulary Class
TEFL students learn grammar and vocabulary a good deal, starting from when they begin their studies. Approach any student in their first year, and ask them, “How are you?” They will answer that question with, “Fine, thank you. And you?” Why is that? How do they know to answer that question perfectly? It goes back to a very popular saying:
“If I tell you, you’ll forget. If I show you, you’ll remember. If I involve you, you’ll understand.”
That’s something that many schools, even TEFL Academies in Spain are neglecting to employ with their overall teaching strategy. It’s also something that TEFL teachers in Spain need to keep in mind when they’re doing a lesson on grammar or vocabulary. How can I involve TEFL students so that they understand target language that they may see for the first time? Unless a TEFL student is at a level high enough to be able to understand something that is explained to them, it’s important to go through some very important steps with regards to language learning:
- Definition – What does the target language mean in practice? This will be the first challenge the student will face when coming across new language. TEFL Teachers must grade their language accordingly to in order to ensure the student is able to connect the grammar with what they already know innately.
- Form – Like building a cupboard, a computer, or even a bridge, how can we take its components, put them together, and make them work? What comes first? What verb do you use? What naturally follows?
- Pronunciation – Now that the student understand what it means and how it works, how do they pronounce it? In Spain, sometimes the way certain letters are naturally pronounced, or the stress in certain syllables may prevent TEFL Students from saying certain words correctly. With any word that begins with the letter ‘S’, for instance, a Spanish speaker may naturally pronounce it with the letter ‘E’ before it (For example, “Spanish” may sound like “Espanish”). Show students how words are pronounced together in the English language, and with some visual aids, and go over it.
- Application – The students have understood. Now it is time to stand back, and watch them put it into practice. Have an exercise ready to see if they are capable of independently putting the target language together.
- Examination – Surprise your TEFL Students with a surprise quiz at a time they least expect to ensure that they have retained an understanding of the language they learned with you.
Trusting English learners in Spain, very much like trusting anyone anywhere with anything on their own, is a step of trust and confidence. The students understand the English lesson they were taught, and can build and apply it to a number of different contexts.
The Exam Preparation Class
People have goals in life. Students learning English in Spain are no different. Many of them want to excel in their own careers, and some even want to find opportunities outside of Spain. In order for them to fulfill that achievement, they will have to demonstrate their proficiency through options like Cambridge, Oxford, or the TOEFL Exam. How is their reading, writing, listening, and speaking? With the Exam Preparation Class, TEFL Teachers in Spain simply need to recall, refresh, and review language that not only may have been learned, but is necessary for the satisfactory completion of a language test. The certification that students receive is likely going to be used to leverage a position either at an American or British Company, or in an English-speaking country. The process is relatively simple:
- Assess – When a TEFL teacher meets a student in Spain for the first time, it’s important to analyze their language skills (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking). In what areas do they excel? What areas do they need to work on?
- Review – Cover the necessary language that will certainly be on the test the TEFL student is studying for. If necessary, review grammar that the student may have forgotten. Always ensure that the student corrects their own mistakes. Assign homework.
- Practice – Once the TEFL Teacher is confident in the student’s overall ability, have the student complete a few practice exams with you. Depending on the language, one may need to do on-the-spot reviews. Try to get through them quickly.
Even after a TEFL student demonstrates a proficiency that’s acceptable enough to merit a B2 or a C1 level, it may naturally follow to review all aspects of the language before beginning exercises at a more difficult level. Doing this shows the TEFL teacher’s commitment to helping a student grow strong in the language. Also, a TEFL student’s desired level may also depend on their career path. Entry-level to Mid-level jobs may only require a B2 (Upper Intermediate Level). Upper-Level jobs, the tourism industry might require a C1 (Advanced Level). Politicians, pilots, lawyers, medical specialists will certainly require a C2 (Proficient Level) because of their requirement to interact with the English-speaking world.
Always make sure that you know who your student is, and why they need to learn English. For children and teenagers, it’s an entry-level requirement for Universities. For adults, they’re likely to interact with English-speaking professionals in various countries around the world. One of the things that teachers should employ as best practice is the individual goal of the student. If they know what it is they want to achieve in their social life or their professional life, the TEFL teacher may be able to prepare lessons to heighten their current abilities, and challenge them to go further than they thought they could. If the student doesn’t have any goals, it’s on the teacher to find a way to keep the learning process interesting, at the very least. Pay attention to the wants and needs of your students while teaching English in Spain. What do they need that your talent can provide?