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Teaching English as a Foreign Language


A course in EFL Methodologyis the initial step on the journey of professional
development in which your teaching skills develop alongside an emerging understanding
of the teaching and learning process and the education system in which it operates. This
journey of discovery may come to an end only when you retire, as teachers are expected
to undertake further professional development throughout their career.
This course will enable you to start developing your personal understanding of the
teaching and learning process, it will help you achieve a grasp of the nature, significance
or explanation of what is going on in an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) class,
comprehend your own practice better and develop into a reflective practitioner. A
reflective teacher makes conscious decisions about teaching strategies and adjusts
practice in the light of experience.
Society is constantly changing and, consequently, the demands society places on
teachers change. As your career progresses you will understand you need new skills and
knowledge about teaching and learning; so you can expect to continue to learn
throughout your professional life. Professional development is a lifelong process which is
based on input, regular reflection on practice and continuing education.
Teaching is a complex activity and is considered both an art and a science.
Although certain elements of teaching can be mastered through learning and practice, not
everything helps you to become an effective teacher, as there is no correct way of
teaching, no single set of skills, techniques and procedures that can be mastered and
applied mechanically. This is due to pupil individual differences and to the specific yet
ever-changing teaching context in which teachers operate. Moreover, every teacher is an
individual who brings something of their unique personality and style. An effective teacher
is one who can integrate theory with practice, use personal professional judgement and
use structured reflection to improve practice. However, establishing a productive learning
environment is a big challenge for teachers. For beginning teachers, it may be the
primary concern. Studies show that nearly half of the teachers who leave the profession
during the first three years do so because of problems with managing pupils and their
Based on the theoretical input that this course offers, on the practical experience
that you will start to accumulate during your practical training, and your own reflective
activity you will begin to develop your own theory of teaching and learning. More
theoretical input will come from tutors and other teachers and print- and web-based
resources. Some theory will also arise from practice as every teacher has a theory of how
to teach effectively and of how pupils learn. Even if some teachers do not spend a lot of
time examining their own views and practices, or they cannot articulate their philosophy,
even if they are not fully aware of it, this is implicit in what they do.
Everyone has their own view of what teachers do; this is partially formed by their
own experience as learners, the literary and media-inspired images and the passage of
time. The fact is that nobody enters teaching as a blank slate: you have all experienced
education yourselves and this has shaped your particular views of what teachers are and
do. These views are central to your development as a teacher, although not all of them
are valid or useful in the current school system and the demands it places on teachers.
The views of what teachers are and do are social and cultural constructs and vary from
culture to culture, from one social groups to another and across eras. However, ther will
always be at least three categories of people interested in what teachers do: teachers,
pupils, and parents.
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This course unit and the next will help you establish and maintain a productive and
orderly learning environment, i.e. a classroom that is safe, orderly and focussed on
learning. Such an environment will enable your pupils to feel safe and to learn as much
as possible. Their shared classroom routines, values, expectations, learning experiences,
rules and procedures will increase their engagement, their sense of autonomy and will
enhance the use of the instructional time. All this will result in their improved achievement
and motivation and in your job satisfaction.
After you have completed the study of this unit, you should be able to:
explain what a professional teacher is;
explain how you can enable your pupils to learn English more happily and
describe how the class atmosphere can assist language learning
identify the qualities of a good learner of English
identify essential teaching skills that help promote learning
identify the talents and skills of a good teacher of English
explain how creating and teaching rules can eliminate management problems
Key Concepts: professionalism in teaching, teachers pastoral role, productive
and orderly learning environment, formal classroom learning, teaching vs. learning,
characteristics of classroom activities, good English learner profile, building a good
atmosphere, means for including all pupils in the activities, types of knowledge needed by
the teacher, types of classroom time, essential teaching skills, language ability, practical
classroom skills, factors affecting learning, guidelines for beginning the school year,
establishing classroom rules

The Teacher as Individual and as Professional

There are as many ways of being an effective teacher as there are effective
teachers. Your initial teacher education will provide opportunities for you to explore
individually what kind of teacher you wish to be, to understand the context in which you
will be working and the demands placed upon you as a teacher.
Think First!
Before continuing to read this text, think back to your own
schooldays and the teachers you had. What do you remember
about them? What did they do? Who are the teachers you most
liked and why? Which teachers did you least like and why?

Almost certainly the answers you have just given identify personality issues:
enthusiasm, intelligence, humour, disinterest, eccentricity, conformity, efficiency,
incompetence, or professionalism, as teaching is a personal profession.
Generally speaking, a professional is someone whose work involves performing
a certain function with some degree of expertise. However, a narrower definition limits the
term to apply to people such as teachers, doctors, and lawyers, whose expertise involves
not only skill and knowledge but also the exercise of highly sophisticated judgement, and
whose accreditation necessitates extensive study, university-based, as well as practical
One opposite of professional is lay. While members of a professional group
posses certain skills, knowledge, and conventions, the lay population do not have these.
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Professionals communicate between themselves employing vocabulary that is not readily

comprehensible to a lay person. For instance, an English teachers jargon includes words
and formulas such as: cloze, i+1, TEFL, L2, EAP, ESP, AmE, BrE, CAE, etc. The
professional community of English teachers has developed means of consolidating
relationships between its members and created opportunities for them to benefit from
each others knowledge, such as associations (IATEFL, RATE, MATE, TESOL) and
conferences. More opportunities for self development are offered by thinking critically
about yourself, by identifying aspects of your professional performance which you want to
improve. Opportunities for self-development may also be offered by attending refresher
courses, classes in art, music or drama, by joining a local library, arranging to work with
teacher colleagues, finding out what local organisations exist and asking what they can
do to help, reading books about teaching, etc.
Another opposite of professional is amateur. The difference between the two
is based on consistent differences in performance in the field, involving the quality of
preparatory and ongoing learning, standards and commitment.
Professionalism means preparing oneself to do a competent job through
learning, including preservice and in-service courses, reflection on experience, reading,
observation, discussions with colleagues, writing, research. Such learning continues
throughout the professionals working life. The professional also recognises certain
standards: of knowledge (of the subject and of its methodology), of dedication and hard
work, of behaviour and of relationships with learners and parents and other professionals.
Some of these standards are maintained through compulsory examinations and
nationally and/or internationally recognised qualifications.
A third opposite of professional is technician. The technician, craftsman, or
artisan performs certain acts with skill and becomes more skilful as time goes on, through
practice. The professional has not only to acquire certain skills, but also to be able to take
courses of action that are based on knowledge and thought, as distinct from automatic
routines. Beyond this, s/he has to understand the principles underlying both automatic
and consciously designed action, and be able to articulate them, relate them to each
other, and innovate. We could say that a native English speaker is a technician, in the
sense that s/he is skilled in speaking English.
Yet another opposite term of professional may be academic. An academic can
be defined as a researcher, lecturer, and writer, usually based in a university. A teacher is
essentially a bringer-about of real-world change; s/he prioritises real-time action whereas
the academic prioritises thought. The distinction is thus one of emphasis and priorities
rather than of substance. Research and thinking by the academic may not always apply
or be relevant to professional practice while what works for a professional may not be for
the academic a worthwhile or generalisable scientific hypothesis. There is, obviously
much to learn from one another but the priorities are definitely different.
Above all, the English teacher is in principle a professional. They cannot only
speak the language, but can also explain why it works the way it does and what different
bits of it mean, and knows how to mediate it to learners in a form that they can grasp
and learn. The teacher also knows how to manage classrooms and relationships. All
these are thoughtfully evolved and flexible sets of professional behaviours. The
combination of these kinds of knowledge enables the experienced teacher to make
informed and appropriate real-time decisions. The teacher is essentially a professional
engaged in bringing about real-world change, who may on occasion undertake academic
research. The two endeavours are different, but mutually beneficial and equally to be
The teachers job is first and foremost to ensure that pupils learn. The English
teachers first and foremost job is to ensure that pupils learn English. To a large extent,
what the pupils should learn is determined though legislation and the requirements are
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set out in the national curriculum and various other national documents. On the other
hand, how you teach so that pupils learn effectively (i.e. methods, approaches,
strategies, activities, interaction patterns, some of the materials used) is left to the
judgment of the individual teacher. There is no single, correct way to teach. For effective
learning to take place, a whole range of approaches, from formal to experiential, can be
On the surface, teaching may appear to be a relatively simple process and many
people think that school and learning only mean a teacher standing at the front of the
class teaching and the pupils sitting in rows listening and learning. This kind of
perception is based on several assumptions. One assumption is that most of the learning
takes place in the classroom.
However, throughout the world, the majority of English language learning takes
place outside the classroom. Learners are exposed to English in the course of their
everyday life: they interact with other English speakers, listen to the radio and TV, read
newspapers, write letters, socialize, etc., in a word, they do things with English. This
process of learning often involves five steps: (1) doing something; (2) recalling what
happened; (3) reflecting on that; (4) drawing conclusions; (5) using those conclusions to
inform and prepare for future practical experience:



The experiential learning circle
(after Scrivener, 2008:3)

Information, guidance and support from other people may come in at any of the
five steps of the cycle (the experiential learning cycle), but the essential learning
experience is in doing the thing yourself. And yet, formal classroom learning may suit
better some kinds of learners. These prefer that the responsibility of learning be taken
away from them.
As an English teacher, you must bear in mind that you are responsible for
organising the learning of all pupils within the classroom, but you must also train them
in good strategies to enable them to continue learning outside the classroom. You must
develop in your pupils habits of independence and autonomy, preparing them to organise
their own learning and to exploit other sources of language outside the classroom.
Another assumption is that the teacher is the knower and has the task of
passing over this knowledge to the pupils. This is sometimes characterised as jug and
mug the knowledge being poured from one receptacle into another empty one. There
seems to be yet another assumption here: having something explained or demonstrated
will automatically lead to learning.
However, when the teacher is teaching, it is unclear how much learning is taking
place. In fact, teaching and learning need to be clearly distinguished. It is quite possible
for a teacher to put great effort in to his/her teaching and for no learning to take place;
similarly, a teacher could apparently be doing nothing, but the students be learning a
great deal.

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Think first!
Before reading on, make a list of the thoughts that may be
present in the pupils heads while the teacher is teaching. Here are
a few suggestions:
Im not involved at all.
Im tired of sitting on this chair.
I havent said anything for hours.
Long explanations are so dull I just turn off.
I dont understand and now shes talking about something else.
Id rather do something different.
Teachers going too fast.
Its not an interesting subject.
Im not doing anything myself.
Could you add a few more positive thoughts?
Actually, what happens is that each pupil will receive his/her own lesson.
Teaching is only one factor in what is learned. As a teacher, one cannot learn for
her/his students. Only they can do that. What the teacher can do is to help create the
conditions in which they might be able to learn. This means involving the students,
enabling them to work at their own speed, by not giving long explanations, by
encouraging them to participate, talk, interact, etc. In the classroom, frequency, pace and
order of exposure to English is determined by a syllabus and/or a coursebook, and the
teacher determines the learning activities. The control by the teacher of the organization
of the classroom provides support to the learners lacking in motivation or confidence.
Nevertheless, the same control may be a source of frustration to other learners, who
know both what and how they want to learn.

Teachers Roles
Being a teacher involves the assumption of two important roles: organising
learning (an academic role) and guiding and supervising pupils (a pastoral one).
The academic role encompasses a variety of activities including:

subject teaching
lesson preparation
setting and marking of homework
monitoring pupil progress
assessing pupil progress in a variety of ways, including marking tests and exams
writing reports
recording achievement
working as part of a subject team
curriculum development and planning
undertaking visits, field courses
reporting to parents
planning and implementing school policies
extra-curricular activities
being an examiner for public examination boards
keeping up to date, and so on
(after Capel, Leask and Turner 2009: 13)

Apart from the academic aspect, another aspect of teaching is the pastoral one. A
teacher is not only an expert in a subject but also a responsible adult in charge of the
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spiritual and moral welfare of the pupils. In this role, which may vary from school to
school, you may be involved in pastoral actions (dirigenie) that include:

getting to know pupils as individuals

helping pupils with problems;
being responsible for a form (being a classmaster/classmistress)
registering the class, following up absence
monitoring sanctions and rewards given to form members
reinforcing school rules and routines, e.g. on behaviour
writing reports, ensuring records of achievement and/or profiles are up to date
teaching lessons of personal, social and health education
organising house keeping activities
liaising with parents
ensuring school information is conveyed to parents via pupils
giving careers and subject guidance
extra-curricular activities, e.g. educational trips
liaising with other schools (e.g. primary, upper-secondary)

Professional Expertise
Classroom teaching is only the visible part of the job of the teacher. The invisible
foundations of the teachers work are, according to Capel, Leask and Toner, 2009,
professional knowledge and professional judgement (routines, skills, strategies which
support effective teaching). A teachers professional expertise includes:

planning of a sequence of lessons to ensure learning progresses and planning

for a specific lesson
evaluation of precious lesson
planning and preparation for the lesson
established routines and procedures which ensure that the work of the class
proceeds as planned
personality, including the teachers ability to capture and hold the interest of the
class, to establish their authority
professional knowledge such as subject content knowledge: pedagogic
knowledge about effective teaching and learning; knowledge of learners;
knowledge about the educational context in which you work
professional judgement built up over time though reflection on experience.
(Capel, Leask, Turner, 2009: 12)
A teacher is expected to develop confidence and higher levels of competence in all
these areas. Teaching requires you to transform the professional knowledge and
judgement you posses into suitable tasks which lead to learning. This is sometimes called
pedagogic knowledge. Knowing a lot about your subject does not automatically make
you into an effective teacher.
Think first!
Before reading the following section, make a list of the
knowledge and skills that you consider to be essential for any

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Professional knowledge is built from a number of different components:

Content knowledge: the content that is to be taught (important concepts and skills,
and knowing how the concepts and skills are structured and organised within the
General pedagogic knowledge: broad principles and strategies of classroom
management and organisation that apply irrespective of the subject.
Curriculum knowledge: the materials and programmes that serve as tools of the
trade for teachers.
Pedagogical content knowledge: the knowledge of what makes effective teaching
and deep learning (the basis for the selection, organisation and presentation of the
content); the integration of content and pedagogy for teaching the subject. This
includes: knowledge about the purposes of teaching a subject at different grade
levels; knowledge of pupils understanding, conceptions and misconceptions;
knowledge of curriculum materials available and knowledge of horizontal and
vertical curricula; knowledge of instructional strategies.
Knowledge of learners and their characteristics: age range (empirical and social
knowledge), cognitive knowledge of learners, knowledge of child development,
knowledge of a particular group of learners.
Knowledge of educational context: knowledge of a specific school, catchment
area, the wider community.
Knowledge of educational ends (aims), purposes, values and philosophical
and historical influences: both short and long term goals of education and of a

Knowing what kinds of knowledge a teacher needs to have is a starting point for
thinking about the complexity of the profession and about the professional knowledge that
you need to acquire.
Knowledge of content. You should know not only English but also be familiar
with the concepts used in the lessons and the skills the pupils are expected to acquire.
You amass this knowledge from a variety of sources: your education at home, at school,
at university, as well as though personal study and reading. All this knowledge will
influence the amount and organisation of knowledge you have. Content knowledge is
likely to be the area of greatest confidence for you as you begin teaching. You should
seek to extend the range of your content knowledge, as this process supports your
confidence for teaching and engages you with your subject on a personal level. However,
it is way you transform this knowledge into effective teaching that is most important
Pedagogical content knowledge. This a special amalgam between content
and pedagogy; it goes beyond knowledge of content in the direction of knowledge for
teaching: the ways of representing and formulating the subject that makes it
comprehensible to others. It involves knowledge of the most regularly taught topics, the
most useful forms of representations of those ideas, the most powerful analogies,
illustrations, examples, explanations, and demonstrations. It includes how you build
assessment into your planning so that feedback enhances your understanding of pupil
learning and enables you to plan the next lesson.
General pedagogical knowledge. This is the body of knowledge and
understanding that you need for the effective transformation of your content knowledge
into meaningful learning activities for pupils. This knowledge consists of broad principles
and strategies that are designed to guide classroom instruction, organisation and
management: settling a class, managing the learning environment for effective learning,
managing resources and other equipment, gaining and sustaining the attention and
interest of the class, encouraging the disaffected, supporting the less able and extending
the most able). It also requires you to adopt your content knowledge, planning for the
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immediate demands of teaching. You should know how to organise orderly classrooms
and use questioning skills that involve your pupils and lead to thorough understanding.
You also need to consider carefully how you should introduce pupils to processes (e.g.
writing reports or essays). By broadening your general pedagogic knowledge, your
classroom becomes a more varied and stimulating place for yourself and your pupils.
Curriculum knowledge. This is the full range of programmes designed for the
teaching of particular subjects and topics at a given level (programa analitic), the
variety of instructional materials available in relation to those programmes and the set of
characteristics that serve as both the indications and contraindications for the use of
particular curriculum or programme materials in particular circumstances. It includes
knowledge of the subject national curriculum and the requirements of public
examinations, such as the baccalureate.
Knowledge of learners and their charactersitics. There are different kinds
of knowledge of the learner. These include empirical or social knowledge of learners, (i.e.,
what children of a particular age range are like, how they behave in classrooms and
school, their interests and preoccupations, their social nature, how contextual factors
affect their work (e.g. weather, time of the day) and the nature of the pupil teacher
relationship. To these could be added the cognitive knowledge of the learners: knowledge
of child development and knowledge of the particular group(s) of learners that you work
with. This is a kind of knowledge that grows from regular contact with these learners, of
what they can and cannot know, do or understand. For instance, you should be able to
understand when your pupils need concrete examples and what kind of tasks increase
motivation and learning.
Knowledge of educational context. This refers to all settings where learning
takes place: schools, classrooms, nursery settings, universities, colleges, and the broader
educational context of the community and society. This knowledge ranges from the
workings of the group, classroom, school administration, to the character of communities
and cultures. It includes the range of teachiong contexts which affect the development
and classroom performance. These include the type and size of school, the catchment
area, the class size, the extent and quality of support for teachers, the amount of
feedback teachers receive on their performance, the quality of relationships in the school,
and the expectations and attitudes of the headteacher, as well as school policies, the
curriculum and assessment processes, monitoring and reporting, safety, school rules and
expecations of pupils and the hidden and informal curriculum which includes the values
demonstrated to pupils through the way the school is run.
Knowledge of educational ends (aims), purposes, values and
philosophical and historical influences. This includes the values and priorities which
shape the education pupils receive. Teaching has both short-term goals for a lesson or a
series of lessons, while education has long-term purposes (such as producing educated
people who can serve efficiently the needs of society).
All the aspects of professional knowledge are brought together in a personal
construct. This includes your values and assumptions about English (in your case) which
provides the basis of your work as a teacher. Positive attitudes are also fundamental to
effective teaching as personal teaching efficacy, energy, enthusiasm, caring and high
expectations promote pupil motivation.
Besides all the types of knowledge and attitudes, there are basic abilities that all
teachers should have to promote order and learning in the classroom.

Basic English Teaching Skills

Language Ability. Fluency and accuracy in English do not make anyone
automatically into a successful teacher of English. Many good teachers of English have a
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limited command of English. However, these teachers may have the advantage of
understanding better their pupils learning difficulties. The secret lies in being confident
about your English without being embarrassed about your lack of greater knowledge.
When your pupils will ask you Whats the English for .? and you do not know the
answer, it is better to say I dont know, but Ill find out for you rather than to try to avoid
answering the question. Do not feel embarrassed that you do not know every word of
English. Think of how many words of Romanian you do not know! We all continue to learn
throughout our lives. What is important is to work on improving the quality of the English
you use and want to teach your pupils. And there are lots of ways in which you can
develop your language skills.
Think First!
Before reading the following section, write down in the space
provided the answer to this question: What ways of improving
your classroom English can you think of now?

Here are a few solutions:

Make sure that you are familiar with the language in the lesson. The day before the
class, prepare the lesson by speaking out the words, phrases, and sentences, so
that you can hear how they sound. See if there are words which you have difficulty
in pronouncing, and try to get them right. If there is a cassette to be used with the
book, listen to the recording too, as this can help with pronunciation.
If you can, have regular meetings with other teachers of English to help each other
with the preparation of classes, and share with them your difficulties and your
successes. You may soon discover that each of you can gain something from the
experience of the others. There are also teachers clubs (cercuri) or teachers
centres (CCDs) where you may check up on anything you are unsure of by
asking colleagues or experts.
How big an advantage is, in your opinion, the knowledge of an
English-speaking country? Explain why you think this is so.

Effective communication. There is a strong link between effective

communication, pupil achievement and pupil satisfaction. The way you interact with pupils
influences their motivation and attitudes toward school in general and English in
particular. Four aspects of effective communication are especially important: precise
terminology, connected discourse, transition signals and emphasis.

Precise terminology is language without vague terms, which would leave the pupils
with a sense of uncertainty and detract them from learning.
Connected discourse is talk that leads to a point. If the point of a lesson is not clear,
if your talk is sequenced inappropriately, if incidental information is included, discourse
becomes disconnected. Keep your lessons on track, minimising time spent on matters
unrelated to the topic.
Transition signals indicate that one idea or activity is ending and another is

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beginning (e.g. All right, now well turn to). They alert the pupils that the lesson is
making a shift and allow them to adjust and get prepared.
Emphasis consists of verbal (e.g. Listen carefully now) and vocal cues (such as
raising the voice) and repetition, which alert pupils to important information in a
What practical implications may terminology, connected
discourse, transition signals, and emphasis have for teachers?

Introductory focus attracts pupils attention and provides a framework for the
lesson. In addition, it can increase motivation by arousing curiosity. In an English lesson
you can use concrete objects, pictures, models, materials displayed around the room,
information written on the board all meant to maintain pupils attention during learning
activities. Use objects, photos, maps, charts, etc. to provide introductory and sensory
focus during your lessons.
Using questions, you can guide learning rather than simply deliver information. By
questioning you can assess pupil background knowledge, cause pupils to rethink their
ideas, help them form relationships. You can also involve shy pupils, recapture pupils
wandering attention, promote success, and enhance self-esteem. Questioning can also
maintain the pace and momentum of a lesson. Effective questioning

is frequent
is equitably distributed
uses prompting
allows adequate wait-time

Giving feedback. The information pupils receive about the accuracy or

appropriateness of their responses and work is crucial in promoting learning. Feedback
gives pupils information about the validity of their knowledge or skills. It also helps them
to elaborate on their existing understanding. Feedback is also important for motivation
because it provides pupils with information about their increasing competence. Effective
feedback has four essential characteristics:

it is immediate or given soon after a pupil response

it is specific
it provides corrective information for the learner
it has a positive emotional tone
The teacher needs to provide feedback throughout all learning experiences.
Look at the following teacher pupil dialogue. Which of the
characteristics of feedback listed above is not illustrated by this
Mr. B: What kind of an animal is shown in the picture, Jill?
A panther.
Mr. B: Not quite. Help her out, Betty?

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Lesson structuring. Lessons are more coherent when review and closure are
used to summarise and pull ideas together. Review is a summary that helps pupils link
what they have already learned to what will follow in the next activity. It emphasizes
important points and encourages elaboration. It can occur at any point in a lesson,
although it is common at the beginning and end. Closure is a form of review that occurs
at the end of a lesson. It pulls content together and signals the end of the lesson.
Begin and end each class with a short review. Guide the review with questioning.
For instance, say We studied present perfect yesterday. Give me an example that
illustrates this, and explain why your example is correct.
These skills are interdependent as none is effective alone, but only in combination
with the others. Their interaction and integration are crucial.
Managing classroom time. You should know how to increase learning by using
time efficiently. Different types of classroom time influence learning in different ways:
Type of classroom
Allocated time
The amount of time a teacher uses for a content area or topic
Instructional time
The amount of time left for teaching after routine management
and administrative tasks are completed
Engaged time
The amount of time pupils are actively involved in learning
learning The amount of time pupils are actively involved in learning
activities during which they are successful.
As you move from allocated time to academic learning time, the correlation with
learning becomes stronger. Unfortunately, teachers do not always use time effectively.
Some teachers seem unaware of the importance of time, viewing it as something to be
filled or even killed. In order to increase learning, you should increase instructional,
engaged, and academic learning time to make as much use of the allocated time as
Organisation determines how efficiently time is used. It includes starting on time,
preparing materials in advance, establishing routines, etc. Routines reduce the load of
your working effort and memory, save your energy, and create a sense of order and
equilibrium in your classroom.
To check on your organisation and communication skills, you can ask another
teacher to visit your class and observe your language and nonverbal communication or to
see how many minutes you spend before actually beginning instruction. You can also ask
your colleague to see whether you clearly emphasise the important points in the lesson,
sequence the presentation logically, communicate changes in topics or the way you give
Besides knowledge, attitudes and essential teaching skills that are common to
teachers of all subjects, the teachers of English can use successfully a variety of other
abilities, skills and talents. Moreover, as a teacher you should be aware of the factors
affecting learning. This awareness will help you to enhance your pupils learning. Also,
you should be aware of what makes a good learner in order to try to make your pupils
good learners. Moreover, you should be aware of what motivates your pupils to learn
English and try to bring about factors which increase your pupils motivation.
However, some of the factors that affect your pupils leaning either cannot be
changed or are difficult to change.

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What factors cannot be changed and what factors can you
influence or change in making your pupils good learners of

Practical Skills and Talents

A clear voice, good presentation skills, self-confidence are all big advantages. Or,
perhaps, you are good at singing or playing an instrument. If you cannot play or sing well,
you can still have a song in your class by playing a tape or a record and singing along
with the recording. If you cannot lead the singing yourself, just join in and encourage the
pupils to sing.
Drawings are often used as a way of presenting new language and explaining new
vocabulary. You do not have to be an artist: just make sure that you keep the drawing
simple and you draw it big enough to be seen by every pupil in the classroom. Always try
it out or prepare it in advance.
Use your acting skills if you decide to read out a dialogue or organise a role play
activity. You will sound more convincing if you use different voices to indicate changes of
speaker. Even if you only change the loudness or speed or pitch of your voice, you will
still make the contrast between speakers clear. This will show your pupils what you
expect of them and will encourage them to take part in the activity. Otherwise, it is
unreasonable to expect your pupils to do things that you are not willing to do yourself. It is
always acceptable to say Im not very good at this, but Ill try.
Practical Classroom Skills. Your good performance in the classroom will have a
significant effect on the way in which the pupils see you and, consequently, on their
Think First!
Before reading the next section, think of the practical skills that
a good teacher needs.

Here are some necessary practical skills:

In the classroom, you should read clearly and loudly, without stumbling over
difficult words, with a good intonation and sounding as if you care about what you are
reading. Always practise any piece you want to use in the next lesson.
Organise your board work well, write legibly and quickly on the board. Write your
lines right, and your letters clear and big, so that they can be read easily from the sides
and back of the class). Clean the board before you start writing on it.
It is important for you to master the equipment. You need to know how to use an
overhead projector or a video player. The best way to learn is by hands on experience:
have someone explain it and demonstrate it, and then go through the various steps a
number of times yourself. Read carefully the instruction manual, if it is available. If you
cannot handle the equipment, you will get angry and frustrated, and you may lose the
respect of your pupils.
As a teacher you should be aware of the factors affecting learning. This awareness
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will help you to enhance your pupils learning. Also, you should be aware of what makes
a good learner in order to try to make your pupils good learners. Moreover, you should be
aware of what motivates your pupils to learn English and try to bring about factors which
increase your pupils motivation.
However, some of the factors that affect your pupils leaning either cannot be
changed or are difficult to change.
What factors cannot be changed and what factors can you
influence or change in making your pupils good learners of

The Effective Teacher

Think First!
Before reading the next section, think of the kind of teaching
you have mostly experienced in your life. This may also help you to
clarify what kind of teacher you see yourself as being in the future

Jim Scrivener considers that there are three categories of teachers: the
explainer, the involver and the enabler.
The explainer has limited knowledge of teaching methodology and relies mainly
on explaining or lecturing as a way of conveying information to the students. Done with
style and enthusiasm, with wit and imagination the lessons can be entertaining,
interesting and informative. The pupils are listening, occasionally answering questions
and perhaps making notes, but are mostly not being personally involved or challenged.
The pupils often receive practice by doing individual exercises after one phase of the
presentation has finished.
The involver knows well the subject matter (the English language and how it
works). However, she is also familiar with teaching methodology; she is able to use
appropriate teaching and organizational procedures and techniques to help her students
learn about the subject matter. Teacher explanations may be one of these techniques,
one option among many that she has at her disposal. She tries to involve the pupils
actively and puts effort into finding appropriate and interesting activities that will do this,
while still retaining clear control over the classroom and what happens in it.
The enabler knows about the subject matter and about methodology, but also has
an awareness of how pupils and groups are thinking and feeling within her class. She
actively responds to this in her planning and working methods and in building effective
working relationships and a good classroom atmosphere. Her own personality and
attitude are an active encouragement to learning.
This kind of teacher is confident enough to share control with the learners, or to
hand it over entirely to them. Decisions in her classroom are often shared or negotiated.
She sees herself as someone whose job is to create the conditions that enable the pupils
to learn for themselves. Sometimes this will involve her in less traditional teaching; she
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may become a guide or a counselor or a resource of information when needed. When

autonomous learning is going on, such a teacher may be hardly visible.
The three descriptions are very broadly painted. However, this simple
categorisation may help you reflect on what kind of teaching you have mostly
experienced in your life and may also help you to clarify what kind of teacher you see
yourself as being in the future.
Here are a number of factors in a teacher that might positively affect the learning
atmosphere in the classroom. The effective teacher:

really listens to her pupils

shows respect
gives clear, positive feedback
has a good sense of humour
is patient
knows her subject
inspires confidence
trusts pupils
empathises with pupils problems
is well-organised
paces lessons well
does not complicate things unnecessarily
is enthusiastic and inspires enthusiasm
can be authoritative without being distant
is honest
is approachable.

Carl Rogers, an American psychologist, suggested that there are three core
teacher characteristics that help create an effective learning environment: respect (a
positive and non-judgemental regards for another person), empathy (being able to see
things from another persons perspective, as if looking through their eyes) and
authenticity (being oneself without hiding behind job titles, roles or masks).
When a teacher has these three qualities, the relationship within the classroom are
likely to be stronger and deeper and communication between people much more open
and honest. The climate becomes positive, forward-looking and supportive. The pupils
are able to learn with less fear of taking risks or facing challenges. In doing these they
increase their own self-esteem and self-understanding, gradually taking more and more
of the responsibility for their own learning themselves rather than assuming that it is
someone elses job.
In order to improve the quality of the relationship teacher pupils, one does not
need to learn new techniques but to look closely at what they really want for their pupils,
how they really feel about themselves.
Here are some conclusions for English teachers:

The jug and mug approach may be inappropriate if it dominates classroom time.
Giving your pupils time to do things themselves may be much more important.
You may be a better teacher if you tried to make the enabling of learning your main
You need to ensure your pupils practical experience in doing things using language
rather than simply listening to explanations about language)
Being an over-helpful teacher could get in the way of your pupils learning. The more
you do things in the classroom, the less space there will be for the learners to do
It may be useful to help pupils become more aware of how they are learning. To
reflect on this and to explore what procedures, materials, techniques or approaches

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would help them learn more effectively.

It is OK for pupils to make mistakes, to try things out and get things wrong and learn
form that.

2 The Classroom: a Complex Environment

In most cases, you have to accept the room(s) you are allocated for your work. In
the schools where there are fixed rooms for English or language labs, you will have the
opportunity to create an appropriate environment (with wall-charts, posters photos, pupils
work, and the like) so that everyone coming in knows immediately that English is the
focus of attention there. But if you must move from class to class, you can still do quite a
lot to ensure that the environment in which your classes are held is as encouraging as
How would you describe the ideal room in which you would
love to teach?

Few classrooms are ideal. They may be too small or too large, too dim or too
bright, storage space may be limited, maps may cover the board, etc. Rearranging desks
is sometimes impossible, but if it is possible, try to experiment with different arrangements
to see what works best for you. Do not forget to consider the room arrangement in your
Before planning rules and procedures, you must consider both the characteristics
of your pupils and the physical environment of your classrooms. The relationship among
these factors is illustrated below.
Planning for


The physical

and rules
(after Paul Eggen and Don Kauchak. 2004. Educational Psychology, Pearson)

Class Atmosphere. The general atmosphere in the class can assist learning. Both
your behaviour and language and those of the pupils can contribute to this atmosphere.

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Think First!
What factors are the most important, in your opinion, for building a
good atmosphere in your classes? Put in order the following
suggestions according to how important they are for you and the
pupils you are teaching.

addressing pupils by name

encouraging the whole class to use first names
always being polite to your pupils
expecting your pupils to be polite to each other as well as to you
always being punctual to classes
encouraging your pupils to arrive to classes on time
encouraging pupils to apologise for late coming
making sure you do not show favouritism towards any particular
planning clearly what you are going to do in each lesson
allowing valid questions and interruptions
telling your pupils from the beginning what you want to achieve in
the lesson
saying, at the end of the lesson, how successful you think it has
including, if possible, every pupil in some way during each lesson
not letting one or two pupils monopolise the class
providing opportunities for the pupils to talk and listen to each other
reducing communication between you and your pupils to an
optimum amount
saying what you mean and meaning what you say: being firm in
approving or disapproving
doing the things which you have told your pupils you will do
treating all your pupils alike.

Classroom rights and responsibilities. Another important area for which you are
responsible is establishing and managing the rigths and responsibilities of the classroom,
including your own. It is important that these are clear to everyone and that rights are
counterbalanced by responsibility in terms of behaviour and participation. In order for the
classroom to run the way you wish to, it is important that you establish clearly the
framework according to which everyone must operate. There must also be clear and
appropriate sanctions for those who do not comply. Here are few areas to consider in
relation to the rights and responsibilities of your classroom:
Respect. Every pupil has the right to personal respect; everyone should use
respectful language; it is important to respect the views and beliefs of others.
Attention. Every pupil has the right to receive a fair share of the teachers
attention; when addressing the class at the teachers invitation each pupil has the right to
be heard; everyone must pay full attention to the requirements of the lesson; when the
teacher speaks all must pay attention.
Learning and teaching. All pupils have the right to learn; the teacher has the
right to teach; everyone has the responsibility of cooperating so that effective teaching
and learning can take place.
Safety. Everyone should expect to be safe; everyone must take all reasonable
steps to ensure that safety is not compromised.
There may be other rights and responsibilities that you wish to establish for your
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Think First!
Think now what these other rights and responsibilities may be.

You will find some more ideas in the following section dedicated to
Classroom Routines. The first few days of the school year are crucial to
classroom management, because they create lasting impressions and patterns of
behaviour for the year are established in these first days. Spend a little time at the
beginning of the year explaining how you intend the class to operate, and making it clear
what you consider to be acceptable behaviour. This should be done in a friendly but firm
manner, without sounding threatening.
Your life will be made easier and your class more successful if you establish rules
for your lessons which everybody understands and accepts. Here are a few examples of
teachers rules:
Primary school
Lower secondary
Upper secondary
We raise our hands Be in your seat and quiet Be in your seat before
before speaking
when the bell rings
the bell rings
We leave our seats only Raise your hand for Give your full attention to
when given permission by permission to speak or to others in discussion, and
the teacher
leave your seat
wait your turn to speak
What rules that you have already used when you were pupils
would you like to add to the lists in the table above?

Such rules can be worked out together with the pupils. Although involving pupils in
rule making does not solve all management problems, it is an important step in gaining
their cooperation. Once established, rules create a sense of ownership, and contribute to
the development of responsibility and self-regulation in your pupils.
Try to find out what the norms there are in your school, and comply with them. For
instance, the pupils may be expected to stand (or not) when you come into the room.
Homework may be collected by a pupil rather than by you. The board may be always
cleaned by the pupil sitting nearest to it or by a pupil on duty. If there are no norms, it is
wise for you to establish some of your own.
Asking your pupils to put up hands is not always appropriate in a class where
everybody must speak. Sometimes you need responses from pupils who do not know
them, or who do, but do not put up their hands. Make sure you first ask the question and
then name a pupil to answer. Ask a second or a third pupil if the first pupil is unable to
Get your pupils to put up their hands before they want to ask a question. This helps
to prevent noisy interruptions. However, do not insist on your pupils always raising their
hand before asking, as one of the skills they must acquire is that of being able to interrupt
and seek clarification.
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When would you insist on your pupils raising their hands?

Your pupils need to know in advance of the lesson what will need to bring to class.
You have to plan this and ask them to bring only what they will use. Then you should be
firm in reprimanding those who fail to bring what is needed to the first few lessons, so that
it becomes second nature for your pupils to bring the right things. On the other hand, if
you ask them to bring something and never ask them to use it, do not be cross if
someone fails to bring that thing to the lesson when you finally decide to refer to it.
With younger pupils, insist that they do not keep on the desk things which are not
to be used during the lesson.
Help your pupils establish an organised way of keeping their notes by using the
lesson/unit titles of the coursebook and perhaps the exercise/section/activity number as
headings. The pupils can then write under these headings and the notebook can be
referred to alongside the coursebook. If your pupils buy their own coursebooks, do not
forbid them to write in them or mark things they want to remember, or even colour the
pictures. If, however, books belong to the school, the notebook must become an essential
tool for the pupil.
There is almost always an established way in which young pupils will address you
and you them. With older pupils you may establish the form of address together.
However, this will depend largely on school custom and pupils expectations. Make it
clear from the outset what your name is and how you like to be addressed.
To plan a learning activity or a sequence for a certain class means to be able to
predict as much of the unpredictable as possible: you need to know your pupils and to
build up a wide repertoire of skills and techniques. All these will enable you to develop
useful structures and a personal style of teaching. You will then maximize both your
pupils potential and your own in the limited time and with the limited resources of the
In an ideal classroom, class management is invisible. The atmosphere is calm,
movement and interaction are comfortable, and pupils work quietly. The teacher gives
few directions and reprimands pupils infrequently. However, in the real world, some
classes are tough to manage. And yet, in most instances, a teacher can create an orderly
classroom. Doing so requires good knowledge of the pupils and careful planning. It also
requires the existence of a clearly understood and consistently monitored set of rules and
procedures that prevents management problems before they occur.
Classroom activities have characteristics that make them complex and demanding:
o Several activities and tasks occur at the same time. When you teach a classroom, you
need to maintain order, attract and keep your pupils attention, and keep them
involved in a learning activity (individual, whole class, small groups, pairs). You may
also have to deal with discipline problems.
o The events occur rapidly. Things happen quickly and you need to make many of the
decisions right now. This need to make quick decisions can be almost overwhelming,
particularly for beginning teachers.
o Events often take unexpected turns. You must always plan your classroom activity,
and try to anticipate as much as you can of what will happen. And yet it is impossible
to plan for all of your pupils responses. Pupils and classroom activity are often
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unpredictable, but experienced teachers get used to expecting the unexpected. The
unpredictable nature of classrooms increases their complexity and challenge.
o You teach in front of people. In a sense, you are on a stage and your successes and
mistakes occur in the public space. The pupils (and possibly other observers)
perceptions of your actions can have unintended consequences.
The complexity of a teachers activity is especially apparent in the large classes of
the primary and secondary schools, where the number of pupils and their immaturity
combine to put to constant test the teachers classroom managerial skills. In such a
context, knowing your pupils and knowing how to approach them is crucial.
You know that pupils think, act and feel differently at different
stages of development. What are the general characteristics of the
behaviour of the primary school pupils (grades 2 to 4) compared to
that of the lower secondary school pupils (grades 5 to 8)?

Whether you teach younger or older children, your way of approaching them,
especially in the early stages of the classroom activity, will be a major factor that affects
your pupils confidence. Learners of all ages should be treated with care and respect.
Knowing your pupils by name, knowing their backgrounds and interests, knowing about
their previous language-learning experiences and their attitudes to English will enable
you to help them learn more happily and effectively.
Being able to address your pupils by name has considerable advantages both for
you and for them. It avoids confusion which might arise in identifying which pupil should
be responding. Also, it is the natural way to attract somebodys attention; it speeds up the
organising of pair and group work; it generates a friendly relationship with the pupils and
among them, and it produces a secure atmosphere.
What can you do if you have large classes and you are not
good at remembering pupils names?

A language class gives you more opportunities to discover details about your
pupils lives than most other classes. Very often you may find yourself wondering what
you can ask and what is better to be left unasked. A good principle is never to ask your
pupils anything that you yourself would not wish to be asked.
Your pupils will find their English lessons more stimulating if some of their work is
concerned with things that interest them. You will want to find out what these things are
as almost any pupils hobby can be incorporated into an English lesson.

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Think First!
Before continuing to read this text, think where you can find
information about your pupils previous experience of learning

There is always an official syllabus (programa) of what needs to be taught at

each level, which you can consult. You can also ask your pupils to bring you the
coursebook(s) and notebook(s) they used. Sometimes, you can talk to the previous
teacher(s). This kind of discussion is very important as you may be able to find out what
your pupils strengths and weaknesses are. Both the pupils and the previous teacher may
also tell you what kinds of learning experience they had.
Sometimes, however, you will find that the class is different from what you would
have expected. This may simply mean that the class, or individual pupils within it, have
Think First!
Before continuing to read this lecture, think of what you can
do to find out what your pupils really know.

The best way to establish what your pupils already know is to start with a
diagnostic test to discover what they can and cannot do. However, when you give them
such a test, you must make sure that your pupils understand that the test is given only to
help you decide what gaps they have in their knowledge, so that you can help them to fill
these gaps.
In most cases, the young pupils attitude to English is more influenced by you than
by their wants or needs. Your enthusiasm and skills have an enormous effect on the
attitude of your pupils. However, positive attitudes to learning English need to be fostered
constantly, as pupils almost always reach a stage when they feel that they are not making
any progress. At this point you need to find new ways of motivating them and making
their study seem worthwhile by seizing every opportunity to make their learning
Remember that no matter what facilities the school offers, it is the lively, purposeful
class atmosphere with plenty to do, which you create, which will maintain your pupils
positive attitudes. The most important factor in keeping your pupils motivated is your own
skill and enthusiasm.

The Good Learners of English

Recent approaches is EFL have acknowledged the importance of the whole
person in the learner (as opposed to only their mental processes such as thinking,
remembering, analysing, etc.) The pupils bring to the classroom a range of less visible
things such as their needs, their wishes, their life experience, their home background,
their memories, their worries, their dreams, their anger, their toothache, their fears, their
moods, etc. Given the opportunities, they will make decisions for themselves and their
learning and they will move forward.
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New learning is constructed over the foundations of earlier learning. The pupils
will make use of whatever knowledge and experience they already have in order to help
them learn and understand new things. Thus the message taken away from one lesson is
quite different for different pupils.
Drawing on your experience as learners of English, you could draw the profile of
the good learners of English. Consider these features:

Perceptual skills: they can perceive new sounds.

Analytical skills: they can formulate hypotheses, memorise language items, monitor
their own speech and that of others.
Motivation: they have a high motivation.
Strategy: they concentrate on meaning rather than on form when practising; they
look for cues in the context.
Study: they can organise their studies and study independently (e.g. they make
vocabulary lists and use them).
Experiment: they try out their language knowledge and are uninhibited about making
Sociability: they mix well and work well in groups. They can transfer from Romanian
to English communication strategies such as paraphrasing, circumlocution, checking
that listeners have understood, etc.
Exposure: they seek out every opportunity to come into contact with English,
(watching films and TV programmes, reading books and newspapers, etc.)
Cultural openess: they are open-minded and open hearted with regard to foreign
cultures and individuals.
Age: young children do not make good learners of grammar.
Adaptability: they learn well despite the method, the teacher, and the school.
Think First!
What fundamental skill is hidden behind most of the features
listed above?

It would be difficult to imagine that all your pupils show all the above mentioned
features and are all good learners of English. However, you should be able to show your
pupils how to be good, which clearly involves helping them to become independent.
Independence is a quality which seems to cut across most of the features listed above.

Motivating Students
Language classrooms depend more than other classes on the climate; in its turn
this is influenced by the national and cultural influences on the language being learned,
the education system and the immediate classroom environment (M. Lewis in Richards,
J. C. and Renandya Willy A., 2002: 40). If the education system or the national
curriculum, and the status of the foreign language being learned cannot be influenced by
the teacher, the latter can influence the students feel about learning English. Teachers
can influence the classroom environment where learning takes place by motivating
unmotivated pupils.
Unmotivated pupils can be recognised when they fail to take part by sitting in
silence, they distract other pupils by talking off the topic, or they provide nonlanguage
entertainment. All of these call for teachers management skills.
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A future English teacher needs to know that teaching a foreign language involves
more than her pupils interest, for language is a skill that needs to be applied/used, not
just stored in the head.
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Teachers encourage language use through
both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Some students have strong intrinsic motivation as
they are already aware of the benefits of learning English. Others need to be reminded of
the benefits: standing better chances of getting a good job, making travelling more
rewarding and enjoyable, access to literature of all kinds in the original, etc. Extrinsic
motivation can come through rewards. Some of the activities done in class can be
presented as rewards to the pupils: supplying additional reading materials, showing a
video, inviting guest speakers, organising games, etc.
An ongoing aspect of motivation is dealing with the behaviour of particular
students. Teachers build a scale of responses to off-task behaviour, which helps them
decide whether to ignore or attend to the problem. Here are a few typical cases of off-task
behaviour and possible teacher responses (from M. Lewis, idem: 42 43)
1. The back-row distractor: the pupil who always sits at the back and distracts
Use eye contact while continuing to speak.
Stop mid-sentence and stare until the pupil stops.
Talk with the pupil after class to investigate the cause.
2. The nonparticipants: several pupils are not taking part in the assigned activity.
3. Ignore them if they are not distracting others.
Walk past their desks and ask if there is a problem.
Ask other teachers how the same pupils participate in other classes.
4. The overexuberant pupil: one outgoing student dominates answering most
questions, making most comments and filling most of the student talking time. This calls
for tact, because such a pupil is often a good language model for the rest of the class.
Interrupt with Thanks for that and call on someone else to continue.
Remind the student that there will be more talking time soon in groups.
Talk to the student individually later.
In brief, making quick decisions on what to do about a problem depends on
answers to questions like:

Does the behaviour hinder other students learning?

Is this just a single occurrence not worth wasting time on?
Is it a whole-class problem or specific to one or two people?

Remember that if large numbers of pupils are failing to attend to the lesson, there
could be a problem with the lesson itself. The task may be too difficult, or an activity may
have continued for too long, or the content may be boring. On the other hand, the
problem may not be within the class: a forthcoming event such as a match or even
unusual weather can change the mood of the class and signal to the teacher the need for
a change of activity.

Discipline is an important matter. As a teacher, you should be able to solve a
number of questions, referring to maintaining order, the amount of noise you can tolerate,
what you consider unacceptable behaviour and how you can punish misbehavers.

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How much freedom do you think you have in dealing with
discipline problems?

It is important to try to be fair, and not to punish misbehaviour severely on one

occasion while ignoring it on another. It is always better to avoid situations that may lead
to misbehaviour. If you keep your pupils busy and if they believe that what they are doing
is worthwhile, they will be less likely to become disruptive. Also, if you are well organized,
you are less likely to have problems with discipline.

Involving All the Pupils

You should seize every opportunity to give encouragement to those pupils who are
making a real effort and not just to those who are being successful. This can be done
briefly and frequently, without interrupting the flow of the lesson, by the use of Yes,
Good, Thats right and even by a simple nod of the head.
Avoid comparing one pupils performance with that of other pupils. It is always
more constructive to compare a pupils work with his/her own previous performance as
this gives the pupil a sense of ones own progress.
Ensure that all the pupils are included in the class activity. In large classes in
particular, it is very easy to miss some pupils out. Often teachers tend to focus on one
particular section of the class the area where the very good pupils sit, the front of the
class, or the area by the window , without realising it.
Think First!
Before you read the rest of this section, write down the means
you can think of used for including all the pupils in the class activity.

Here are some ways of making sure that you involve all the pupils.
Use the class register list. Your pupils will know if you are calling on them in
the order of the class register list. To avoid this, use every second or third name, or some
other pattern, so that they may not realise what order you are using. Avoid looking down
at the list (by putting it where you can see it easily). Also, to prevent the switching off of
pupils who have just responded, ask one or two for a second response.
Think of your class as a set of lines or rows of pupils and address a
question to a pupil from each line or row in turn.
Set rules. If your pupils tend to shout out the answers before the others have
time to try, make a rule that the pupil who has responded once must miss the next three
questions before s/he can answer again. This keeps the pupils busy counting, while
waiting to join in again.
Invite the pupil who answers to name the one who will answer next. If the
pupils get used to this system, it can move quite briskly and be successful. However, it
can become unpleasant if the pupils see it as a way of victimising their slower classmates
Repeat the question and/or prompt. If the pupil you nominated is unable to
respond, help him/her by repeating or prompting, while insisting that the rest of the class
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remains quiet. Sometimes, however, you may wish to pass a factual question to another
pupil, or the class in general.
Extra-Curricular Activities. Activities conducted outside lesson times can make
an important contribution to maintaining a good atmosphere in the classroom. If their
knowledge of English opens the way to other interesting activities, the pupils will take a
more positive attitude to their studies.
By organising a class library or an English club you can provide your pupils with
the possibility of extending their knowledge and interests outside the classroom as well
as giving them an opportunity for genuine communication. Try to help your pupils set
these up and then give them assistance in running them.
What advantages or disadvantages can you see in your
pupils attending the activity of an English club?

3. School. Getting a New Job

No two schools are alike. Schools may range from very formal, with strict discipline
to very casual, where discipline is not considered important. School principals also range
from authoritarian to permissive. It is important for you to realise what type of school you
are in and to adjust your own behaviour accordingly. While you are new, keep your
teaching style rather formal until you learn more about how the other teachers work. It is
always easier to become more relaxed with your pupils as time goes on rather than to
become more formal with them.
It is important to respect the norms of the school in which you are working and not
to impose your own system from the beginning. Once you have become accepted by the
other members of the staff, you may perhaps suggest ideas which they can consider and
possibly adopt.
In the beginning, you need to be careful about how much noise your classes make.
You may need to try to convince the other teachers and the school principal that in order
to learn to speak English and understand the spoken language, your pupils will need to
make some noise, that group and pair work cause some noise.
School responsibilities are relevant for teachers of all subjects. They are important
aspects of school life and affect the status of English in the school. This in turn affects
what you can achieve. Understanding the system can save you a lot of time and trouble
and leave you to devote more energy to the actual teaching - learning process.
Here are a few guidelines for beginning the school year:
Explain requirements and grading systems
(particularly with older pupils)
Emphasize that learning and classroom order are
Plan with great care during this period
Conduct eye-catching and motivating activities
Plan structured instruction Assess pupils skills and background knowledge
Use large- rather than small-group instruction
Minimize transitions from one activity to another
Begin teaching rules and procedures the first day
Teach rules and procedures Discuss and practise rules and procedures during
the first few days
Establish expectations

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Intervene and discuss every infraction of rules

Begin communication with Meet the parents or send them a letter, and state
your positive statements for the year
Call or visit parents after the first or second week to
nip potential problems in the bud
As a teacher you have responsibilities to your pupils, their parents, your head of
department, your school, youe headteacher and others. Being an effective teacher does
not mean simply knowing English. It also means delivering lessons that are intellectually
robust, challenging and stimulating; managing the classroom effectively and faily,
assessing pupils progress promptly and accurately; modelling in your own behaviour and
practices what you expect pupils to do; planning for the inclusion and the needs of the
individual learners; managing the rights and the responsibilities of the classroom;
upholdong school policies and procedures; responding to the pastoral needs of your
pupils; completing administrative duties; contibuting to the wider life of the school;
knowing your legal responsibilities; and so on.

This unit presents the complexity of the job of being an English teacher and the
many requirements that you need to comply with: you must have a deep understanding of
the process of learning and of the characteristics of your pupils, a good understanding of
the topics you teach; you should be able to represent the topics in ways that are
understandable to pupils, to organize and maintain productive learning environments.
As a teacher, you are responsible for classroom learning and should be able to
increase it. You should be caring and enthusiastic, a good role model, and have high
expectations for your pupils. You should be well organized, know what is going on in your
classrooms, use your class time well, and communicate clearly. You should present
content in attractive ways, provide clear and informative feedback, and review important
ideas. You should use effective questioning strategies, prompt pupils who do not answer
successfully, and give pupils time to think about their answers. You should be able to
draw, write legibly and speak convincingly, and maybe have other talents, too.
You should be able to create a classroom atmosphere conducive to learning and
establish rules and routines which enhance the use of classroom learning time.

Further Reading
Capel, Susan, Leask, Marilyn and Turner, Tony, 2009, Learning to Teach in the
Secondary School: A Companion to School Experience, Routledge
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Anca Cehan