There are several strategies that teachers can employ in the classroom to optimize their time with students and maximize results. Often, the teaching method that is most effective can depend on the learning type or personality of the students. In smaller groups, then, strategies can be developed on an individual basis. In larger groups, the teacher must design classroom activities for a broader audience.
Here are a few common methods that TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers can use:
Many students retain vocabulary best when they have a picture or image to associate with the English term or phrase. Some examples of visual learning can include flashcards, which have an image which illustrates the target vocabulary term. Repetition can engrain the vocabulary and associated image in the mind of the learner. Many games can be designed using flashcards, making them a versatile and engaging tool – especially for young learners.
Another example of visual learning is “acting” activities like charades. A student may stand in front of the room and act out a term like “jogging” for example. The students will mimic the movements of a jogger and other students will guess the English term.
Using real-world situations as templates for practicing English can be very effective. For example, if the lesson involves language associated with travel and tourism, the teacher might ask students to create and then rehearse a dialogue using terms such as “reception” or “room service” in the context of checking into a hotel. This can be done with student pairs or between a single student and the teacher.
For slightly more advanced groups, holding a group discussion to talk about issues, with guidance in sentence formation from the instructor, can help students achieve a more natural cadence to their speech. This method can be very engaging if the topic of discussion is something that the students are interested in – for example, teenagers may be interested in certain celebrities like musicians or actors.
These are just a few examples of teaching methods that have proven successful in practical application. Many more options are available, depending on the personality, ages, and interests of students.