In today’s modern world, being able to use computers and technology is essential. It can be utilised for keeping in touch with friends and family, online shopping, and even learning a new language.
This is particularly true for learners of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), a field in which computers and technology have had a huge impact in recent years. Read on to find out more about some of these effects, and especially how these can play a role in shaping the way TEFL is taught for years to come.
What is TEFL?
Simply put, TEFL is the teaching of English to those who require it for their work, study, or personal reasons. In the past, lessons typically took place in a conventional classroom setting, with one teacher standing at the front while a group of students sat, listened and made notes.
However, the digital era has witnessed a number of changes to how TEFL is taught, including distance learning, hybrid education, as well as a much higher usage of computers and technology in the classroom itself. These have brought a much wider range of options for a new TEFL teacher to take advantage of, and become proficient in in their own way.
As for a TEFL lesson itself, these can be as varied and diverse as one could possibly imagine. Some lessons will have an explicit focus on grammar, such as how and where to apply the conditional tenses. By contrast, other sessions may well focus on a specific aspect of vocabulary, like parts of the body.
In other words, every single class is unique and distinct, whether taught in person or online. However, the most effective way to prepare to become a TEFL teacher is to obtain a reliable TEFL certification.
Why is a genuine TEFL certification so important?
For one thing, individuals who take the time and effort to get certified are much more likely to be able to request a higher salary than those who do not. It also means that certified individuals can become more focused on other forms of teaching English online salary in the long run, in particular training other TEFL teachers or becoming more efficient at preparation so they can spend more time working with students.
Another upside to getting a bona fide qualification is the first-hand knowledge received from a team of friendly yet professional TEFL experts. These insights can be worth their weight in gold, most of all in those first few days and weeks as a TEFL teacher, when everything is new and there are a lot of concerns that may come up during those moments.
Also, aspects such as lesson planning, preparation, classroom management and assessment are all covered on such courses, making them a great all-round beginning to a TEFL career. Last but not least, many nations actually do require a real TEFL qualification from an applicant, as part of their visa application process.
How can computers and technology help in a physical TEFL classroom?
For one thing, computers and technology can allow a teacher to be more culturally responsive to their students. This could come in the form of the TEFL teacher being able to do research on a particular nationality or cultural group of students before going to teach them.
Some of these aspects may include body language or even gestures, for instance in some parts of the world like India, people actually nod when they mean no and shake their head when they mean yes, This might cause some unnecessary confusion if not researched beforehand.
Beyond that, interactive whiteboard technology can help with lesson aspects such as presenting a video or a slideshow presentation, through to getting students up to the front of the class to participate in a short game or classroom activity on the interactive whiteboard. More recently, some applications and websites actually have a quiz feature that enables a teacher to assess comprehension from the whole group in real time, while harnessing the benefits of computers and technology.
Finally, computers and technology may also aid with test preparation, because they are able to keep track of student progress through a particular period of time, showing areas of strength while simultaneously highlighting problem aspects of learning English for each student. Hence, computers and technology really provide a plethora of wonderful options for any TEFL teacher teaching English abroad.