A TEFL course full of surprises

The TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) course that I have just finished was one full of surprises. It also made me do things I would otherwise NEVER do in my life:

– I learnt how to join 9 dots (in lines of 3) with 4 lines.

Once learnt, everyone did it again but differently. His point was to demonstrate the differences in perceptions when speaking the same language. Imagine what would happen when you don’t speak the language of your students!

– In the beginning of the course, he asked us to do a 20 minute presentation on any topic of our choice. All presentations were excellent.

He walked in the next day with a sheet of paper that had chunks of our presentations written, that were full of slang. They weren’t even full sentences. He wanted to stress how much slang we use in daily life, and that a foreign language student would never understand us if we spoke the way we do normally.

– On day one – he asked us to write down answers to 20 questions. Including name, birthday, favourite movie, hobbies, favourite teachers in our lives etc.

The next day he came in remembering all our names (x9 students), birthdays and favourite movies. Stressing the importance of making your students feel important in class by knowing and remembering things about them.

At the end of the course he made us read out the names of our favourite teachers and why we loved them – those points were added to our ‘how to be a good teacher’ lists.

– In one of the classes, the professor taught the class standing on his table. He dramatically lit and smoked a cigar half way through as a break. It was a ‘keeping our attention’ activity. We couldn’t take our eyes off him.

-To explain to us the importance of props in class he came in one day with a Russian hat on, made us breakfast (toast, oranges and orange juice) that ended in a shot of whisky. (at 10am!)

– For extra credit, we had to go watch a movie in Korean and write a review.

– Just like he asked us 20 questions, we had the right to ask him one question each.

Some idiot asked him ‘what is the meaning of life’?
He landed up doing a whole class on that, as an example of how absolutely anything can be used to teach in a foreign language class.

He told us what he thought was the meaning of life, made us listen to some great music, and then made us meditate!

-And lastly, our final class included a lesson in Bulgarian.

Yes. It was to make us understand how you feel when you have a teacher in the class who doesn’t speak your language.

The course was 120 hours, so I cannot go into everything. Definitely a class and teacher I will never forget.

1 Comment

  1. Nice post. I feel very fortunate having been raised speaking english, especially since I’m learing/learned spanish. I was checking out a site about TEFL International I was thinking on getting certified. Of course, you have lived in so many places I’m sure that you can adapt well in any enviroment.

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