Course Content

Module 1: Introduction to TEFL
As an English as a Foreign Language Teacher, you, and only you, are in charge of what goes on in the classroom. The success of a lesson and what has been learnt is pretty much up to you. You are responsible for many things such as setting up the classroom, setting up tasks, giving instructions, correcting students, and to a certain extent, the group dynamics of a class. In a nutshell your primary role is to “create the conditions in which learning can take place” (Scrivener 2009). If you have ever learnt a language in a traditional classroom setting, you will understand how difficult it can be. If you haven’t learnt another language, it might be a good idea to start! This will provide you with the ability to view the learning experience from a student’s perspective. You’ll realise how challenging it can be. You might be worried about making a mistake in class; you may not understand what the teacher wants you to do. You might not understand what has been written on the board or how to pronounce words put in front of you. An otherwise confident person, in this setting may feel incredibly shy and self conscious and the whole experience could, perhaps be rather stressful. A number of authors have discussed such stresses in the classroom or “affective filters” (Krashen 1985) and their detrimental effect on the learning process and, in our case, language acquisition. You progress through the course by taking the test at the end of each module. These tests are not there to try to catch you out. On the contrary, it has been proven that assessment aids learning so we will only ask you questions that are based on key information given in the modules.

  • Welcome To The World of TEFL
  • Quiz 1: The TEFL World: Questions
  • L1 and L2
  • Quiz 2: L1 and L2: Questions
  • What makes a competent and effective teacher?
  • Quiz 03: What makes a competent and effective teacher?: Questions
  • Setting the stage
  • Quiz 04: Setting the stage: Questions
  • Icebreakers
  • Quiz 5: Icebreakers: Questions
  • Student Feedback
  • Quiz 06: Student Feedback: Questions

Module 2: Grammatical & Syntactic Awareness
English learners are generally grouped into the following six levels: Beginner Elementary Pre-intermediate Intermediate Upper intermediate Advanced However, in some schools/institutions you may find different classifications. The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is widely accepted in European countries, as well as increasingly on an international scale, and aims to standardise language learning, teaching and assessment. There are three general categories (A-Basic User, B-Independent User, C-Proficient User) which are further broken down into two levels. Basic User A1 – Breakthrough or Beginner A2 – Waystage or Elementary Independent User B1 – Threshold or Intermediate B2 – Vantage or Upper Intermediate Proficient User C1 – Effective Operational Proficiency or Advanced C2 – Mastery or Proficiency Another method commonly used is grouping students into classes named after the exams they are preparing for, particularly in the case of the Cambridge ESOL examinations. These are: KET – Key English Test PET – Preliminary English Test FCE – First Certificate in English CAE – Certificate in Advanced English CPE – Certificate of Proficiency in English There are additionally two Cambridge exams for young learners (ESOL YLE) known as Starters, Movers and Flyers. More about the CEFR The CEFR is very important, so it’s crucial that we explore this further. You may teach in a school where their approach and syllabus is fully built on the CEFR classifications and terminology; thus, it’s paramount that you have a solid grasp of it. It’s not difficult. Background Different terminology is used in EFL when describing a student’s proficiency/competency in language as compared to mainstream English classes in, for example, the USA or the UK. As you’ll already know, measuring a student’s proficiency in language is not an exact science. No universal system of rating exists. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR or CEF) is, perhaps, our best guide. There are other guides. Many organisations adapt the CEFR levels to suit their particular levels. Fortunately, nearly all good coursebooks will identify which level the materials are intended for and schools will have similar class labelling to indicate what level the students are studying. So, there’s no need to worry! 1. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR; sometimes called the CEF): What is it? The CEFR is a standard, international scale of levels for language learning. It has 6 levels in ascending order from A1 to C2. The CEFR gives you a detailed description of learner level by skill, in a language-neutral format. Because it is language-neutral, it can actually be used for any language in the world. It is a useful reference document for school directors, syllabus designers, teachers, teacher trainers and proficient learners. Language testers and examination boards are increasingly using the CEFR as their scale of levels, though some give each level their own name. The table we will explore in a moment shows the 3 bands (A-C) with each of those bands divided into two, giving us six main levels. It also describes (provides descriptors) which represent what a student should be able to do at each level. You may have heard of other student level terminology in EFL, i.e. Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Very loosely, you can see the CEFR levels as similar to Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced – though the CEFR levels are more precise than these terms (and calls them Basic, Independent, and Proficient). 2. The CEFR’s approach: Communicative language competence The CEFR’s approach is based on the notion of communicative language competence– the increasing ability to communicate and operate effectively in the target language It will be useful for you if we expand a bit on the CEFR’s view of communicative language competence. Communicative language competence has a number of component parts: it includes linguistic, socio-linguistic and pragmatic competences. Each of these competences is made up of knowledge, aptitudes and skills. Linguistic competence Linguistic competence comprises the knowledge and skills related to: lexis (generally, words and phrases) phonology (generally, relationships among the speech sounds) syntax (generally, the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language) and other features of language systems, considered independently of the sociolinguistic impact of variations in use and of the pragmatic functions of the utterances produced. It concerns not only the range and quality of knowledge (for example, the range and precision of lexical knowledge) but also involves cognitive organisation and the way this knowledge is stored in memory (for example, the question of how a lexical item fits into the networks of associations the speaker has available) and the accessibility (for example, how an item can be recalled, activated and its availability for use). Socio-linguistic competence Socio-linguistic competence refers to the knowledge and skills involved in using language functionally in a social context. Since language is a social phenomenon, its use requires sensitivity to social norms and customs which affect to an important degree all linguistic communication between representatives of different cultures, even if the participants are frequently unaware of them. These social norms affect, amongst other factors, rules of address, greetings and politeness, the way in which relations between generations, sexes, people of different social status, social groupings are expressed through special language markers, linguistically codified rituals, differences in register, dialect and accent, through vocal rhythms, for example. Linguistic competence leads us to consider social and intercultural parameters and the way in which they influence language use. Pragmatic competence Pragmatic competence involves the functional uses of linguistic resources (carrying out language functions, speech acts) using scenarios or predetermined scripts of interactional exchanges. It also involves mastery of discourse, cohesion and coherence, the recognition of text types and genres, using irony or parody. Even more than in the case of this factor than for linguistic competence, the development of pragmatic skills is strongly influenced by interactive experience and by the cultural environment. Let’s have a look at these CEFR Bands and Level Descriptors at a Global Level You will find the Global Scale is a useful starting point. Study this well. It’s not difficult. It’s an excellent guide, an aide-memoire, which will keep you on track when you start on your TEFL journey. CEFR Bands and Level Descriptors - Global Level Level Level Descriptors Proficient User C2 Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations. C1 Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices. Independent User B2 Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options. B1 Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. Basic User A2 Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need. A1 Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help. We can also use the ‘+’ to indicate the top half of a level. For example, ‘B1+’ means the top half of the B1 range. You will find this convention followed in various course books. 3. Why do we need the CEFR? Even among teachers of the same language in similar contexts there can be a lot of variety in what is meant by terms like ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’. This variability increases significantly across different languages, in different countries, with different age ranges of learners, etc. The CEFR makes it easier for all of us to talk about language levels reliably and with shared understanding. 4. What is it used for? The CEFR is used for many different practical purposes: Developing syllabuses Creating texts/exams Marking exams Evaluating language learning needs Designing courses Developing learning materials Continuous assessment of others, or self-assessment Teacher training programmes 5. Is it just about levels? The CEFR has been very significant in language learning and teaching because its impact goes beyond merely describing learner levels. It has underpinned a particular approach to language learning as the one most commonly recommended or expected in language teaching today. This is the Communicative Approach we explored earlier. It not just about levels. The descriptions of levels in the CEFR are skills-based and take the form of Can Do statements, as in the examples below. These descriptions of ability focus on communicative purpose and make for a very practical approach, which looks at what people can do – rather than on specific linguistic knowledge. The CEFR is particularly useful because it applies the same set of levels to all the various sub-skills and areas of competence: the basic four skills (speaking, reading, writing and listening) communicative language (e.g. turn-taking, asking for clarification) types of interaction (e.g. obtaining goods and services, interviewing) and more linguistic skills (e.g. vocabulary range, phonological control) It allows you link up skills in each of these areas with the student’s overall level. Examples of ‘can do’ statements from the CEFR Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need. [A2, Global Scale] Can understand enough to follow extended speech on abstract and complex topics beyond his/her own field, though he/she may need to confirm occasional details, especially if the accent is unfamiliar.[C1, Listening] Can understand a wide range of long and complex texts, appreciating subtle distinctions of style and implicit as well as explicit meaning. [C2, Reading] Can write personal letters and notes asking for or conveying simple information of immediate relevance, getting across the point he/she feels to be important.[B1, Written interaction] Can use stock phrases (e.g. “That’s a difficult question to answer”) to gain time and keep the turn whilst formulating what to say. [B2, Turn taking] You can view a list of Can Do statements at 6. What’s in it for you? How can the CEFR be useful for teachers? Understanding language levels better The CEFR helps you to understand a standardised terminology for describing language levels. National, local and school policies are increasingly being described in CEFR levels – and so it’s important to understand what they mean. Seeing more clearly what learners need to work on The CEFR describes what learners need to be able to do to reach the next level. You will find it particularly useful in showing how different component skills are described at each level. You have an idea of what a B2 student is like, but what should they be able to do in terms of listening to lectures/speeches, or writing correspondence, or spoken fluency? The CEFR helps you see what is needed for different aspects of learning English. Curriculum plan If a teacher responsible for working out what is going to be taught in a class – just her own or for the whole school – it is very helpful to use the CEFR as a broad framework. Look carefully at the descriptors for the levels you need – not just the Global Scale, but component scales as well where relevant. What do you want your students to achieve in each course on their path to the target level? This can be further elaborated by looking at the information coming from English Profile, which we’ll come to in a moment. Of course, most teachers do not need to create their own curriculum. By choosing a course book that is aligned to the CEFR, you have a syllabus created by experts – which you may then choose to adapt for your own circumstances. 7. Should you introduce your students to the CEFR? Yes, it’s very useful for students to understand how mastery of a language builds up from beginner to mastery. Of course, this needs to be suitable for their level and age, and it is probably adults and teenagers that will find it useful. Scales – adapted to their language level – are really useful for self-assessment, which can be very helpful in developing language skills. 8. English Profile The English Profile Programme involves major research projects that are all working towards a reliable, detailed description of the actual learner English that is typical of each CEFR level. Initially, the focus has been on vocabulary and grammar, and the English Vocabulary Profile is now complete for all six levels, A1-C2. A separate research team is developing a similar resource, the English Grammar Profile, which describes the gradual mastery of grammar across the six CEFR levels. Cambridge University Press has given teachers around the world access to their research into vocabulary learning across the CEFR. Go to the English Profile website – and click on Free Registration English Vocabulary Profile. This will allow you to find out which words and phrases – and individual meanings of each word – are typically mastered by learners at each CEFR level. This is a really valuable tool to make decisions about what to teach students as they progress. Cambridge University Press authors and editors make extensive use of this research in developing their course materials. Use it well! In this module we’re going to look at an overview of the grammar taught at each level as well as going over some key grammatical terms and what they actually mean, and see how to teach the different tenses.

Module 3: Lesson Planning
A lesson plan is essentially a step-by-step guide detailing exactly what you will do throughout the course of the lesson. It is an important way of ensuring the lesson is coherent and achieves its final objective(s). But that’s not the only important purpose. Your lesson plan needs to motivate your students to learn. Because motivation is so important in teaching and learning, we have dedicated the whole of Unit 4 to motivation. So, for the moment, remember that a key purpose of a lesson plan is to motivate your learners to learn. For most schools, lesson planning is a formal requirement but there’s not necessarily one method of EFL lesson planning which is considered universal. Ideally your school should have a general procedure, partly because if you are absent for any reason another teacher can understand exactly what you were intending to do and can carry that out with as little confusion as possible. The important thing, therefore, is that your plan is thoughtful and detailed, not only to achieve your lesson aims but also for the smooth-running of the class. When planning a lesson, you need to think about a variety of factors, including: Overall objective Learning outcomes Logical development of stages Time management The way you plan an EFL lesson depends largely on the type of skill you are focusing on (language, pronunciation, reading etc.) on that particular day. There are certain recognised procedures for the preparation of each and in this module we are going to look at the three most common: Presentation Practice Production (P.P.P.) Test Teach Test (T.T.T.) Task-based Learning

Module 4: Lesson Planning Plus
So, now that you know the different approaches to lesson planning, it's time to go about actually creating your plan! There are a number of factors to consider when planning, and a variety of materials, resources and aids you can use to make the best lesson possible for your students. In this module we’re going to look at lesson aims, components of a lesson plan, planning an individual lesson and how to choose assessment tasks, course books, reference materials, supplementary resources and teaching aids. Much of what is covered corresponds to what is examined in part of the Teacher Knowledge Test (the TKT); a qualification teachers can take to show their knowledge of language and EFL teaching.

Module 5: Controlled Practice with Games
Over the last thirty years or so, attitudes to language learning have changed dramatically. In the past, the focus was on grammatical accuracy and the minimisation of errors. This meant that lessons were largely focused on learning grammar mechanically through repetition of a rule. Drilling was also a technique used repeatedly by most teachers and practice of the target language was very controlled; learners were expected to memorise dialogues in order to reduce mistakes as much as possible. Students, therefore, often had a very good understanding of the building blocks of a language but couldn’t put them together themselves in real time. But in today’s society, the need for people to be able to communicate effectively in English, whether for work or travel, has altered the way we think about teaching. This has meant that the role of teacher and student has almost reversed – the learners are now expected to be active participants in the lesson and can increasingly shape their own learning. The teacher has become a facilitator for learning rather than a regulator. Compare the two lesson plans. What are the features which characterise each? greenred Which style do you think is an example of CLT? [2] All this has led to new approaches to EFL teaching, one of the most popular modern methods being Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) or the Communicative Approach. In this module we’re going to look at what CLT actually is, the tasks and activities used in a communicative classroom and error-correction techniques which are effective and don’t discourage communication.

Module 6: Lexis, Phonology & Functional Language
Although grammar and skills are obviously going to be key areas for EFL teaching, we shouldn’t forget the building blocks of the language: words and their meanings. Whilst it can be relatively simple to relate an object to the word used to describe it, for example ‘fountain’, a student won’t automatically remember after hearing it once. They also won’t understand all the various meanings that word may have, the way it should be pronounced and the different contexts it can be used in. Learners of English need to be exposed to a range of vocabulary and expressions time and again in order to fully understand their correct usage. That’s why in this module we’re going to look at the ways in which we attribute meaning to certain words, the sound of the language and functional language (the expressions we use for certain purposes i.e. greetings, polite requests etc.).

Module 7: Listening Skill (Receptive)
The four language skills are listening, reading, writing and speaking. These skills can be broken down into two groups: receptive (or passive) and productive (or active) skills. Listening and reading are both classed as receptive skills because they require learners to receive language and understand it. Speaking and writing, on the other hand, are productive skills which require students to produce language for themselves. Learners often find it easier to develop their receptive skills, especially at the beginning, as they need to be exposed to the language before they can go on to produce it. However, all the four skills are linked and need to be developed more or less simultaneously. For example, if a student is able to pronounce a word correctly, then they are more likely to be able to understand it when they hear it spoken. Similarly, working on reading skills can help to enhance a student’s writing. The four skills naturally support and complement one another. In the following modules we’re going to look at each of the four skills in more detail and focus on ways of developing each when teaching EFL. But first, it’s critical that we explore Learning Styles. These influence what materials and examples you will use, and the way you will present them, when teaching your learners. An awareness of learning styles is paramount when teaching the 4 skills, and vocabulary and grammar.

Module 8: Reading Skill (Receptive)
Reading, like listening, is a receptive skill because it involves responding to a text instead of producing one. Work through this module to find out the key concepts related to reading skills. You are going to watch a video of an authentic reading skills lesson. We feel this is a very effective way to demonstrate some practical areas of teaching as well as helping with your lesson planning thought process.

Module 9: Speaking Skill (Productive with Vocabulary)
The two productive skills are speaking and writing because they require students to produce language. They are sometimes also known as active skills as opposed to the passive, or receptive skills of listening and reading. Normally these skills develop after the receptive skills because students need to receive language before they can produce it, but ideally they should be developed simultaneously as they complement each other. In this unit we’ll look in more detail at speaking skills and what is required to develop them. Please also refer back to the 'Functions' video (module 6) which provides you with a good example of a speaking lesson.

Module 10: Writing Skill (Productive with Vocabulary)
Writing is the last of the four skills we’re going to look at in detail. Like speaking, writing is a productive, or active, skill because it requires students to create language themselves in written form. Today, written communication, especially in the workplace but also for social purposes, is incredibly important. There are many different texts types, some of which we write on a daily basis, others which we use less often. A few of these are listed below: E-mails Shopping lists Essays Stories Text messages Reports Letters Minutes of meetings Postcards Diaries etc. Because there are a range of reasons why we write a particular text, there are several different styles of writing we employ to communicate our message appropriately. Take a look at the following two units to learn more about what’s involved in writing skills and how to teach them effectively.

Module 11: Grammar Focus
In this Module, we will first explore the areas of grammar which are often deemed to be a little bit tricky. It’s often not the meaning of a grammar element that’s the tricky bit. It’s the teaching of it where some teachers feel a bit unsure. So, we’ll cover these key tricky grammar areas first of all. These are in separate Units: Unit 1: Phrasal verbs Unit 2: Prepositions Unit 3: Idioms Unit 4: Conditional forms Unit 5: Direct and reported/indirect speech Unit 6: Modal verbs Then, we will move on to some very useful and practical Grammar DVD lessons. With what you absorb and learn in this Module, together with what you have already learned in Module 2-Grammar Awareness, you’ll be good to go and ready to handle any grammar question in any situation.

Module 12: Targeting Children
Teaching children can be the most challenging and most rewarding experience of teaching. Once you become an experienced EFL teacher, you will be able to compare teaching different types of classes for example, adults versus children. It is true to say that children’s brains really are like sponges. Adults may need to work very hard at remembering vocabulary for example whereas children will surprise you in that you need to do far less to help to stimulate their memory reserves. If you can engage them in tasks and maintain control, you will be responsible for helping a child learn a second language. As a result, this could be a life changing experience for them in terms of future relationships perhaps and career possibilities.

Module 13: Classroom Strategy

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