What are the best teaching techniques for EFL classes?
The answer depends on the students and their levels of proficiency.
The reasons for learning a language could be:
- Integration into an English-speaking society: The student wants to immigrate to an English-speaking country.
- Education: English might be part of the school curriculum.
- Entertainment: Learning a foreign language (especially English) would enable them to listen to English songs, read English literary works, or watch movies in English.
- English for Special Purposes (ESP): People who wish to conduct international Business will need a basic comprehension of the English language.
- Lingua Franca: Countries that have several languages use English as a bridge language.
What options are available to the student for learning English?
- Private one-on-one tuition
- Adult learners class
- Primary or secondary school education
- University-level education.
Teachers focusing on either of these modalities use different terminology, teaching materials, and teaching style.
An overview of teaching techniques:
- Reading aloud to students – This is popular among younger learners. This technique involves reading, explaining, then reading the same passage through.
- Flashcards – This technique is suitable for kindergarten and primary school learners.
- Communicative language teaching: This is important for improving students’ speaking, writing, listening, and reading. This technique prevents students from just focusing on reading or writing by themselves or listening to passively without interaction.
- Blended learning – Blended learning is a combination of face to face and online teaching. This style of teaching requires computer learning tools.
- The online-only classroom is wholely computer-based tuition. In this teaching style, there is no face-to-face teaching.
To achieve success in teaching English to EFL students, teachers should consider which among the techniques above suit their students’ levels of English, ages, and motivations.
Teaching techniques for different purposes:
For integrating into an English-speaking society:
An example of full immersion in English is when non-English speaking immigrants move to an English speaking country. An English only classroom would be the fastest way to gain a basic comprehension to function in society. In this class, the teacher should create a 100% English-speaking environment for their students to practice the target language all the time to achieve their goals of merging into the English-speaking society.
Many Countries where English is a second language, English is taught from a very early age. Teachers need to follow the syllabus of the school to teach, yet they need to be flexible so that their English classes can be both fun and useful. Teachers should consider students’ ages (from primary to high schools) to decide their teaching methods to motivate their students to learn English.
For ESP students:
ESP (English for Special Purposes) classes should provide students with opportunities to build English vocabulary in their specific areas. Examples are English for banking, advertising, contracts, import, export, law, insurance, advertising, marketing, and finance. There are different ESP books by various publishers for schools and teachers to choose to teach students. The current trend of teaching ESP is the communicative approach, in which students are given as many opportunities to communicate in their specific areas as possible. This approach is believed to be useful for ESP teaching by many language educators.
No one technique of teaching English is suitable in all contexts. Every teaching method suits a particular group of students:
- Children may want to learn English through stories.
- Business students need to build vocabulary around their profession
- Those who learn English for entertainment might find online classes suitable
Similar stories apply to other students of English. As teachers, we need to know what teaching technique would suit our students best to have the most effective English lessons.