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Help with Topic Essay for TEFL course application

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  • Sammyd1
    Participant
    11 November, 2016 at 11:09
    • Total posts: 1

    Hello, I hope you can help me please. I am looking to apply for a TEFL course and I have a topic essay to complete. The question is ‘Two learning experiences – 1 successful and the other unsuccessful- 300 – 750 words.

    Okay so my first query is in what style do I write? 300-750 words is very short, especially to cover two different experiences. Should I write in a very formal essay style or what do people suggest?

    For the unsuccessful learning experience I was going to write about whe I took A’level Maths and failed. I guess I need to talk about the reasons why I failed, mainly finding the course very difficult when previously I had not had much problem with most subjects at school and lack of motivation and drive to study Maths (as it was my father that insisted I take the subject, which I myself hated) and what I learnt from the experience. Firstly how it feels to really struggle at a subject and be that person in the class that is the only one not ‘getting it’. And secondly that motivation and determination to pass needs to come from the student and their will, not from being forced into study.

    For my successful learning experience I wanted to talk more recently about my five years in Thailand and when I first arrived in Thailand to teach in a school without any prior experience. I had to learn how to teach EFL very quickly and on the job….my first lesson was horrible, but I worked really hard at studying teaching methods, watching fellow teachers teaching and trying to work out what worked and what didnt so I could improve my teaching styles accordingly. I also learnt the need for preparation but also learnt how to improvise when having to take unexpected lessons and built up a ‘bank’ of ‘last minute lessons’ I could pull out the bag to deal with such situations. And also how to adapt my teaching style depending on the age of classes and their level of English.

    But how do I say all this in only 750 words. Also is my learning to be a EFL teacher a good example or might they question why I took no formal training before and will this count against me.

    Also in a TEFL interview will they ask me lots of grammar based questions? I need to brush up on termnology etc and hoped to have time to do this as the course is not until March.

    Thanks in advance for your help :)

    dan
    Moderator
    11 November, 2016 at 11:21
    • Total posts: 770

    Okay so my first query is in what style do I write? 300-750 words is very short, especially to cover two different experiences. Should I write in a very formal essay style or what do people suggest?

    I would write in a natural way. It doesn’t need to be very formal, essay-style, but not casual either.

    For the unsuccessful learning experience I was going to write about whe I took A’level Maths and failed.

    Good example, and some of the things you’ve touched on in that paragraph show that you’re thinking along the right lines.

    For my successful learning experience I wanted to talk more recently about my five years in Thailand

    Another good example and it won’t count against you. Again, some of the things you’ve touched on are the kinds of things that are good to mention for this part.

    In terms of getting it all into 750 words, my advice would be to firstly write everything that comes to mind, without worrying about the number of words. That way you know you have all the ideas that you want to include down on paper. Then count the words and see how much work it needs to make it more conicise. Look at ways that you can be more concise. Can you combine two ideas into one? Have you said a similar thing twice in two different ways? If you’re still well over, think about trimming out one or more less important points, but always look at being more concise first. This is partly what they will be looking for – are you able to write a clear and concise answer, without rambling, and prioritising the most important points, etc.

    Also in a TEFL interview will they ask me lots of grammar based questions?

    Probably. You may get a pre-interview task on “language awareness” or some questions may come in the interview itself. They won’t expect you to be a grammar expert though – what they should be looking for is that you’re able to think clearly about language and how it’s used. This doesn’t mean that you need to know all the terminology at this stage.

    Hope that helps and good luck.

    Dan

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