Preparing Students for a Digital World: Technology in English Language Teaching Abroad

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Whether it comes to making new friends, finding out about the latest dining trends, or even remote banking, the virtual world has evolved to encompass many aspects of modern life. Learning languages is no exception, with the digital sphere offering a host of opportunities for learners from almost every corner of Earth to access quality language learning instruction.

Most English learners prefer to be taught by a certified and reputable TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Read more to find out how to become a TEFL teacher, alongside some invaluable advice on getting started and how to become a top professional in no time at all.

What is TEFL?

TEFL is where students learn English as a foreign language, typically in a structured course or program that reflects the learner’s current comfort level and performance in English. For beginners, these classes are usually taken at a slower pace, with one primary grammar focus at a time, such as the present simple form.

By contrast, students who have been around English longer tend to be placed in a higher speed of TEFL class, with other students who also need to be challenged to reach different goals, for instance how to control the mixed conditional forms of grammatical language.

The lessons are usually led by an enthusiastic and energetic TEFL teacher, who is happy to answer any questions that may come up during the class and is willing to adapt their teaching style to meet the needs of the learners where they are at.

What does a TEFL teacher need to do to get started?

The ideal starting point for a new TEFL teacher is to get a real and certifiable TEFL qualification. This has the advantage of providing the best possible introduction into the world of TEFL itself, from understanding how to begin a great lesson, all the way to the difference between formative and summative assessments for students.

The programs are led by a team of expert TEFL teachers, who have years of experience in the field, and have been in the same position of starting TEFL as a new vocation, so they can completely relate to the thoughts and feelings of new teachers as they set out.

Finally, these courses are a wonderful way to meet other new TEFL teachers and get to know them both through the course and beyond. It can definitely be a source of reassurance to know that other new teachers are able to go through the same challenges, and this allows knowledge and advice to be shared easily and effectively when needed.

What is the next step for a TEFL teacher after getting certified?

With the TEFL certification done and dusted, the new teacher can begin to look forward to their career as a TEFL teacher. For some, this will mean looking for positions in physical classroom environments, for instance, to find out how to teach English in South Korea on The TEFL Org; you will find out the courses cover everything from lesson plan and management to cultural sensitivity and language assessment, also an invaluable resource for anyone looking to start a teaching career in South Korea.

Links such as this provide extensive detail on aspects such as visa requirements, and the kinds of teaching opportunities currently available, as well as the chance to find out more about what teaching in these countries might be like. Doing the research beforehand could save a lot of time and energy down the line, as choosing the perfect location the first time around is always preferable where possible.

For others, there will be a preference to teach TEFL online, and there are definitely upsides to this approach too. For instance, working remotely can mean teaching from almost anywhere, from a cafe in downtown Seoul to an apartment on the outskirts of Busan.

What’s more, being able to teach online means having the chance to work with students from all corners of the planet, from South Korea in one class to Argentina in the next. This is a wonderful way to find out more about the different learning styles of students around the world, and be able to become more flexible and adaptable as a teacher more quickly.

What are some other positives of teaching TEFL online?

Additionally, the TEFL teacher could avoid the morning rush hour, saving valuable time that can then be spent on refining the lesson plan or grading homework. This may just help to keep the new teacher fresher, also freeing them up to have more time and energy to take on even more lessons, thus potentially increasing their earning potential.

On top of that, there is a wide range of online learning resources available, from video tutorials all the way through to vocabulary quizzes built into a specific website or application. These can really streamline the learning process, giving students quicker access to feedback on their progress while also reducing the workload on the TEFL teacher at the same time.

However, teaching TEFL online effectively does take patience, especially in the beginning while setting up an adequate learning space. For example, buying the necessary equipment could get rather costly at the start, in order to acquire much-needed items, such as headphones, a microphone, speakers as well as a webcam and computer that runs at a high enough speed, yet is also reliable enough to work well, day in day out.

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How can technology help a TEFL teacher to become more proficient?

There are a few ways in which the modern digital age can assist the new TEFL teacher to improve quickly and easily. One of these is by having more lessons in a shorter space of time, which allows for certain challenging aspects of teaching to be practiced and refined. This could range from presentation skills, as some new teachers do find that it is different to present English content to TEFL students than it is to other learners.

In particular, adjusting speech aspects, such as clarity of pronunciation, word choice, and accent, are all elements that need to be assimilated and adjusted according to the level of the class. For instance, working with a group of beginner students might require a choice of simpler language, while a class with upper-intermediate learners might actually need to be challenged quite a bit more. 

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