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Mona Ghani

By Mona Ghani

The following tips for English Language Instructors are provided by Mona A. Ghani, Editor/Teen Stuff; He Said She Said; MENA Special Olympics.

If you’re an instructor, you most likely feel as if you’re on stage, during any particular lesson; all eyes are on you and all ears are ready and waiting to hear what you’ve got to say. This can be rather stressful on an instructor. Being a foreign language instructor, there are some things that I must particularly look out for, and there are always general things that any instructor must watch out for. So, let’s look at a couple of things that you can enhance because if you don’t notice them… students will notice them.

Day 1

Day one is definitely make it or break it. Walk in confident, yet friendly and don’t hit the syllabus from the start. Take your time to get to know your students, and let them get to know you. Show genuine interest on why those students have enrolled in that particular course. Consider it a ‘me, me, me’ day, and let students talk about themselves for a while. Because if anything interests anybody, it’s themselves!

Show your energy. Students want to see and feel robust energy coming out of you. The more energetic you are, the more interest they will take in you, and later on, in the material you’re teaching. Walk around the class, use your body language, even if it’s just a smile and don’t sit stagnant behind a desk, reminding every student of their nightmarish school days!

Your voice is something that every student will take back home. So, make sure there is energy in your voice; and energy does not equal volume. Energy in the voice shows your enthusiasm. Avoid any monotone flat sounding voice, that will put students to sleep if not monitored properly.

Set your class rules from day one. Be friendly yes, but not too friendly that your students don’t know who’s boss! If you have any particular rules that you expect them to follow, state them loud and clear, so there is no room for debate later on.

YouTube Video

Solo, Pairs or Group?

By Mona A. Ghani

By nature of their work and their knowledge, an instructor can be quite intimidating for students. Supposedly, you, as an instructor, should know more than your students (which by the way, isn’t always the case!).  But besides your knowledge, a trainer is also trained on how to manage a class, and it’s here where he must decide which type of learning is less intimidating for the students. Basically, you have three choices; each with its advantages and drawbacks.

Going Solo: Definitely, a student working solo would be the best choice for the instructor to know exactly how well or how poorly that student is doing. The work presented will not reflect anyone else’s work except that student, making it easier for the instructor to pin-point strong points and weak points of that student. But as any instructor will tell you, the solo experience for a student is just so nerve wracking that they actually present you with work far less than their actual capabilities. Students find the idea of being ‘alone’ very distasteful and if it were up to them, they would even like to take their tests, quizzes and exams with another partner, if only they could!

Pair Work: Many instructors, at least language instructors, are usually trained to have students work in pairs. Pair work is more comfortable for students, knowing that someone else is there for them to lean on. But pair work should be monitored in the sense that pairing up doesn’t mean always putting a student with his closest friend in the class. There must be a variety in the pairing, so that you don’t always have one very strong pair of students, while another pair is like the blind leading the blind. A good pair would be one weaker student paired up with a stronger one. This forces the weaker student to pick up his performance, plus also helps the stronger student by correcting some mistakes of the weaker one. Or maybe that sounds too much like paradise?

Group Work: By far, it’s the most fun way to run a classroom; fun for the students and the instructor. This doesn’t mean amusement park type of fun; but rather a way where a sense of competition is created amongst students, leading to more enthusiastic work. It also works well with large classes. But alas! Nothing is ever perfect! In group work, most likely you will find 2 or 3 students doing all the work, while the rest just look on as if watching a movie or soccer match. Again, strict monitoring must be done, and the instructor should make it clear that he knows who is working and who is sunbathing on the beach!

The management of any class should have students in a rotation form, where they get to know other students and learn from others. According to the task at hand, an instructor should know which method is better or needed. Either way, an instructor should unglue those students who always seem to be glued together.