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Was your course too generic

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  • flyeogh
    Participant
    3 May, 2017 at 12:05
    • Total posts: 19

    Just interested on any feedback here from any who have completed a TEFL/TESOL/whatever course?.

    I fully understand the problems for those offering generic (especially on-line) courses. It isn’t easy. But many doing these courses have an objective in mind (teach in Germany) while others have more general objectives (I want to travel the world and pick up work wherever I can). Some are fluent in their students 1st language while others do not even know what that first language might be.

    My question is: Did your course meet your needs?

    Take for example a question: Find in the reading passage four words your students will find difficult and that need pre-teaching. Well a Chinese student might find the word “Satan” difficult while a spanish student “Satán” would not.

    Of course one could put notes relating to the context of the answer but that is difficult when the course is on-line and the answer is limited to say 40 words.

    Equally if the tutors are not aware they may mark your answers down simply not understanding why you are highlighting a false friend for example.

    Just wondered if anyone had found their course addressed this and/or if it was ever an issue?

    Many tx for any thoughts.

    dan
    Moderator
    10 May, 2017 at 12:39
    • Total posts: 770

    Take for example a question: Find in the reading passage four words your students will find difficult and that need pre-teaching. Well a Chinese student might find the word “Satan” difficult while a spanish student “Satán” would not.

    I think the ideal question would be, for example:

    “Imagine you are teaching in a Spanish high school. Your students are aged 15 and have an intermediate level. Find in the reading passage four words your students will find difficult and that need pre-teaching.”

    This would of course address the problem, but for a pre-service (entry level) course is probably too specific. It would involve trainees going off to research typical problems that learners with Spanish L1 (first language) have.

    I think in keeping the question quite generic (or, more specifically, keeping the course material that’s taught to enable them to answer this question quite generic), it gives trainees practice in finding the kinds of words that need to be pre-taught. Then, when they go off to teach in different contexts, the skill that they’ve acquired in doing this can be fine-tuned according to their students’ L1.

    flyeogh
    Participant
    10 May, 2017 at 15:48
    • Total posts: 19

    Dan again many thanks for your thoughts.

    You’re thinking is in-line with my current thoughts. I understand that the course will have to focus on multi-lingual and generic for the reasons you offer. But I at least expected to be able to offer my method and reasons and receive critique to help me advance.

    To expand on the example I gave above I offered:

    To pre-teach the word ‘nagging’ : (self-role-play earlier and repeat now) pretending to take a call. “Yes, a dentist appointment, I’ll do it, yes ……” Hold phone at arm’s length, mime annoyance. She keeps ??????? me.

    Here I have used 32 words of the avarage of 20 allowed (I robbed words from other answers) but still it is a rather stunted answer.

    However this was met with:

    “you need to stress the repetition of being asked over and over. You could say ‘You called yesterday, you called 5 mins ago’, etc. But again, add a definition to your example.”

    When I ask where the additional word allowance is coming from or can I see a model answer my requests are ignored.

    Maybe I just expect too much from such courses or ESL teachers are only expected to know the blindingly obvious?

    Anyway seems a pity to abandon the course now when a third of the way through and with a score of over 95% but I certainly feel I’m going through the motions and learning nothing I couldn’t pick up here.

    Any thoughts welcome.

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