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  • Selling textbooks after you’ve finished using them? Here’s some advice February 28, 2012
    These days, being a student is in many ways more demanding than ever. In other ways, though, those attending university have never had it better. The advent of the internet has brought a wealth of information to the modern learner’s fingertips. The advent of sites like Wikipedia has made conducting research and building up […]
  • Want to employ the best teachers? Test them! February 22, 2012
    Are you looking for new teachers? Make sure you do into the process with a clear strategy for how you ensure you end up with the best candidate. Employee assessment tests are extremely important in enabling you as a recruiter of teachers to be able to make measured and well-informed decisions about the type […]
  • Online learning: Do you have the right personality? February 13, 2012
    Research has shown that online learning is better suited to people who are verbally oriented, rather than those who have visual or kinesthetic skills. For this reason, notes Jonathan Ginsburg, whether or not a student is successful in an e-learning course can depend considerably on their personality and their learning type. Before taking an […]
  • Alternative careers: Operations management February 13, 2012
    Tired of the hoi polloi of everyday life as a language teacher? Why not train to become an operations manager instead? An mba in healthcare management is an absolutely indispensable industry qualification which enables those who take it to hone their decision making abilities. The importance of a healthcare mba In today’s bloodthirsty world, […]
  • Can we use dreams to teach English? January 11, 2012
    Dogme ELT is rooted in the experiences of the learner and what they bring with them to the classroom. Our unconscious mind regularly sends us communication in the form of dreams: it is an advantage to understand the meaning of these messages. As our subconscious sends us only constructive information about our existence, it […]
  • Types of Professional Evaluation in Language Education January 3, 2012
    Introduction Curriculum evaluation has become of increasing interest to educators and curriculum planners since the 1960s (Richards 200 I), and since then it has embraced various aspects of language programs. Evaluation has not only been defined in terms of the purposes it serves, but it has also been given a central role by professionals […]
  • Careers for Graduates of Online TESOL Courses January 3, 2012
    Many exciting opportunities await a qualified TESOL or Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, notes David Alexander. As the English language gains more and more prominence in the global community, the ability to communicate using it becomes more important. Expect that the demand for individuals with TESOL diploma courses to be greater […]
  • Alternative Careers: Health Care Administration January 3, 2012
    The modern health care business is a viable alternative for tired TEFLers: full of doctors, nurses, as well as technicians who all have to work in an efficiently running workplace. Consequently, health care administrators center their work on the decision making aspects of medical facilities. Online colleges which deliver a health care administration degree […]
  • Alternative careers: public administration December 22, 2011
    The alternative careers series continue with an investigation into public administration. For disillusioned TEFLers, the career option of public administration is a realistic alternative. Public administration is concerned with the accomplishment and the regulation of public policy throughout the diverse branches of government. Public administrators oversee […]
  • Promoting EFL Speaking Activities in the Class: Teacher’s Roles December 9, 2011
    What Is “Teaching Speaking”? What is meant by “teaching speaking” is to teach EFL learners to: Produce the English speech sounds and sound patterns Use word and sentence stress, intonation patterns and the rhythm of the foreign language. Select appropriate words and sentences according to the proper social setting, audience, situation and subject matter. Org […]

General Tips for Teaching English

June on the TEFL Times has been set aside for a series of articles from Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa, the creator and writer for TEFL Tips.

English teachers are professionals and as such need to remember somethings while in the classroom. Here are some ideas to help get you started.


● Act like a teacher. As a foreign teacher, both students and teachers will look up to you as a representative of your country. Act professional.

● Make class interesting. Prepare a variety of activities and games.

● Be consistent with the rules. You shouldn’t play favourites-make sure you treat all your students equally.
● Plan your lessons ahead of time. Winging it doesn’t work. You will have to think about what you want to teach before you enter the classroom.

● Make sure the topic is appropriate. Some issues that are accepted at home are taboo here.

● Speak clearly and loudly.

● Tell the students why you want them to do something.

● Expect the unexpected. Maybe you planned an activity for ten students and only five showed up. Always have a back-up plan.

● Keep an open mind. Some countries have laid-back ideas about timing. Students may show up ten minutes late.

● Ask your students for feedback. Most times they will be honest and tell you if they liked or didn’t like the activities you planned. They might also have suggestions for things that you can do in class.

● Adapt your teaching style. Some students like to thinking things over and have everything perfect before speaking. Others want to shout out the answer as soon as they know it.

● Bring realia into the classroom. Pictures from magazines, photos from home, real objects make lessons come alive.


● Wear weekend clothes to class. Jogging pants, jeans or shorts aren’t acceptable. Women should cover their shoulders, stomachs and knees. Sleeveless shirts are ok, but spaghetti straps aren’t. Men should wear dress pants and a dress shirt with a collar. Piercings and tattoos should be covered up.

● Dumb students down. Just because they can’t answer a question, doesn’t make them understand. Ask a different question or see if someone can help the student.

● Embarrass your students.

About the author
Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa is the creator and writer for TEFL Tips, The LA Job List, and The Ultimate Peru List. She enjoys answering people’s questions about TEFLing and Peru.

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3 comments to General Tips for Teaching English

  • Charlotte Rohrer

    One of the most important things is: Feel good about teaching!
    Personally I have to suggest and add here:

    1. In Asia, students are more accustomed to seeing their teachers dressed semi-formally. At the beginning, you will be much more likely to gain their respect (and the respect of the school director) if you follow this custom.

    2. Check for real understanding. Students may look at you and nod their head without really understanding. Make sure they understand you by asking them a question using the language you wish to target.

    3. Try to use proofreading software. It’s used to correct student material on writing or grammar errors. Remember: Even teachers can commit mistakes. And nothing is worse than that IMHO.

    4. Give your students homework to do, including those grammar worksheets. Don’t waste class time doing work that students could do on their own. Their class time is better spent listening to your English and participating in real communication.

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  • [...] Teaching English Updated 19 November 2009 This article has also been published in the ELT Times. [...]

  • [...] Updated 5 January 2012This article has also been published in the ELT Times. [...]

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