My first teaching job at a university in China was particularly hard as I had had no prior TESOL training. I studied ahead in the course books and researched material for months, but I still was not able to write lesson plans or develop a curriculum until I had begun to study through OnTESOL’s certification program.
By Jonathan Caulk – 100-hour TESOL Certificate
Teaching English without TESOL Certification
Once, I brought in an article on a current event. After my students read it, I picked random students to ask and answer the four accompanying reading questions. One by one a student read the question and another, sometimes sitting far away, asked to hear it again, then nervously fumbled around to answer it. Later, it occurred to me that the linguistic aim had dealt with reading comprehension rather than oral English. There was unfamiliar vocabulary which I didn’t define. Also, there were only four questions, so only eight total students had a chance to speak. Finally, the article didn’t correspond to the language functions from that day’s textbook chapter!
–TESOL Certification China by OnTESOL-
How OnTESOL Helped Me
Weeks later, having completed around half the hours of the online TESOL certificate course offered by OnTESOL, I decided to use another article. The goal was for students to practice using expressions of disagreement from the current book chapter. I first read it out loud, then provided definitions for the unfamiliar words. I then let students ask and answer the reading questions in pairs. Previously, I was not comfortable letting the students talk to one another in groups or pairs because I thought they would speak Chinese unless I addressed them individually. To my surprise, most of the students spoke English and I was able to answer questions and reignite their conversations as I walked around listening to each group. After that class, I started to chose parts of the book which fit my communicative lesson plans rather than slavishly following it cover to cover.
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