The great thing about teaching at Shane is that you have such a diverse mix of teachers. This gives Shane an individuality which you may not find at all schools in your area. The mix of backgrounds enhances the lessons as the students receive a truly international perspective on the English language and everyday English situations. Having teachers from so many different places can also bring up many different opinions.
Being a teacher at Shane or any TEFL school you can come from a teaching background, a corporate background or you could have just graduated. This means that each teacher has their own unique way of doing things and working. Due to this diversity, Shane needs to keep the greater part of the business streamlined and consistent. This is why the Shane teaching methods are so important.
As a teacher at Shane, we are lucky enough to have a very well structured and thought out curriculum which also leaves room for your teaching style in lessons. Many teachers are not sure of the importance of these methods, and others claim they do not work well within them. So I thought I would give a brief explanation as to why they are so important for us as teachers, for the students and for Shane as an educational institute.
Teaching a lesson is the same as doing public speaking: you have to go prepared. Some may feel that lesson prep is a waste of time or they are used to doing it so they can just ‘wing it’. If you briefly look over the lesson for the day and do none of your own preparation, you are doing yourself and the class a disservice. Not only can you be caught off guard in class if a question is asked or a student challenges you on something, but you will lose your individual flair as you wouldn’t have sat and put any creative thought into the lesson. Keeping teaching exciting is a creative challenge, so use your prep time wisely to add that extra zing to the lesson.
Here some more handy info on lesson planning: Lesson Planning: From Winging It to Writing It All Out
PPP: Present, Practice and Produce
I see the eyes rolling, but you must understand how important the above structure is. Not only does it give your lessons as a teacher a great framework to work from but having this structure is extremely important for the students to be able to piece different parts of the English language together. When presenting you may feel like you have said the target language over a thousand times and that the students know this so why review it in the next lesson. We need to place ourselves in the student’s shoes.
You teach these classes every day in your first language, but remember this is an entirely new language for them, they also have a full day at school getting jam packed with eight or nine other subjects before coming to learn the most foreign thing they’ve ever encountered. So be patient and keep repeating. I bet if you had a Mandarin lesson each day after a day at work and the teacher whizzed through the language from the week before you would mentally check out. Start falling in love with presenting and practicing as the student’s need it, and you will notice the difference as soon as you don’t repeat or a student misses one class.
No one can complain about the production part of the lesson because this is where you as a passionate teacher can get those creative juices flowing. For the production activities, come up with relevant, relatable ways the students are able to get used to using the target language. Set up dialogues, real life situations, or get the students to produce brochures, news stories or advertisements. Bring the language to life for the students.
By making use of media channels, games or platforms the students use, you are able to make them understand where and how you use the target language in real-life situations. For example, many of my students play a virtual reality game on their cell phones, where they create a character, build a house and take this character to the shops. We have used their game to produce characters and I have asked the students to describe their character if the lesson is about adjectives for example. Alternatively, we could describe the character’s possessions (nouns) or what the character has done recently (verbs and tenses). Enter their world to understand how you can integrate English into it to make it more engaging for them.
At times it may seem repetitive or boring for you as a teacher, but I hope after this article you can understand why we are asked to teach the way we do. Not only is it a great structure for the students and teachers, but for Shane, as an international company, they need to be able to guarantee their clients, teachers and students consistency throughout the schools around the world in order to ensure strong brand continuity. These methods are the added value that you get from the Shane Company, clear thought out, effective methods which are easy to teach with as they still allow innovation from the teacher.
Teaching is one of the most creative occupations there is, so it is up to you as a teacher to make use of the Shane methods and extend them in the classroom to work most effectively for your given age group and classroom culture. Practice patience, practice English, and always have fun with the lessons.
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About the Author
Tatum Condon is a 27-year-old South African girl with an Irish family. Her dream growing up was to be a mechanical engineer for Formula One’s Team McLaren. Any sport which is in water, she does it. Even if the water is frozen, count her in. She is currently teaching and living in the land of smiles, Thailand, while sharing stories of my life adventures and experiences. She hopes you enjoy.