This month Bridge’s head English teacher in Denver, Timothy Samuelson, sat down with Denise Kray, our head IDELT trainer, to talk about the extensive training that our trainees go through in order to teach English at Bridge.
Tim: Denise, I received my TEFL (teach English as a Foreign Language) certification in Madrid, Spain and felt that I was decently prepared for entering the classroom when I finished. It wasn’t until I started teaching at Bridge that I really felt confident about my role and the expectations students had of me as an ESL teacher. When trainees finish their BridgeTEFL, IDELT, or CELTA course, what can students and institutions expect from them as new teachers?
Denise: Trainees who successfully complete a four-week Bridge IDELT™ training program with us at BridgeTEFL are considered ready for an entry-level position as a Teacher of English in a Foreign Language classroom. Here at BridgeTEFL, we maintain a tradition of training and certifying qualified teachers in our IDELT™ and CELTA courses. All of our teachers are motivated, well-trained and eager to work in the TEFL market. We are confident in referring them to our own institutes as well as schools worldwide.
Tim: Could you tell me a little about what trainees learn during their time with BridgeTEFL? What makes the trainees so well-qualified and ready to confidently enter the classroom immediately after completing their course?
Denise: During their time with us, BridgeTEFL teachers-in-training have an intensive introduction to the principles of teaching English as a foreign language and best practices as espoused by the Communicative Approach to TEFL. Each trainee works conscientiously throughout the course to fulfill all requirements to pass. This includes establishing good rapport with both groups of adult students in teaching practice classes, developing good classroom management skills, assessing learner needs in order to plan and teach lessons which take account of learners’ backgrounds, learning preferences and current needs, using and adapting materials effectively and efficiently to prepare and execute lessons designed to develop learners’ overall language competency by satisfactorily defining and analyzing the language systems and language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking) as well as how they are learned.
Tim: My TEFL course was very intensive, but I remember feeling that I wasn’t assessed nearly as much as I had expected. Being a teacher at Bridge has really allowed me to put my skills to use and receive consistent, practical feedback on ways to improve my overall performance in the classroom. How do you determine that trainees are ready to apply the principles they have learned throughout the course?
Denise: Trainees demonstrate their understanding of teaching methods, techniques and language awareness through writing their own lessons based upon material appropriate for the class level by implementing what was presented in input sessions, through executing teaching practice classes, and through producing written assignments on the following topics: language related tasks, teaching skills related tasks and professional development tasks. Trainees must also demonstrate that they are satisfactorily skilled with the planning and presentation of material to learners of English as a Foreign Language in the areas of: conversation, listening, grammar, function, pronunciation, vocabulary, reading, and writing using the Communicative Approach as the foundation for all activities in their classes.
Tim: Are there any other topics that trainees focus on which are related to the issues of classroom management or handling questions that don’t typically come up in the classroom?
Denise: In addition, trainees cover the areas of: teacher resources, multi-media in the classroom including e-learning resources for students, the history of the English language, and cultural issues for the EFL teacher.
Tim: What can students and institutions expect from BridgeTEFL graduates in terms of professionalism and general attitude in the classroom, as well as in the workplace in general?
Denise: Trainees demonstrate professional development by writing self-evaluations of every lesson they teach, completing observation tasks of peers, giving valuable and accurate feedback to peers, showing preparedness and willing participation in input sessions (interactive lecture sessions), and observing professional English language teachers in the classroom. They observe the things that are expected of them throughout the course.
Tim: What does Bridge provide to potential employers to ensure that its graduates are ready to enter the classroom on their first day?
Denise: Throughout their time in training, trainees demonstrate a clear understanding of these topics and activities and we feel they are ready to apply them to their own classroom and students. In appreciation of each trainees’ efforts, BridgeTEFL provides a final report that serves as a professional recommendation from BridgeTEFL and course trainers.
Thanks Denise for chatting with us, and thanks to all of our wonderful EFL teachers and trainees for being such great teachers! Do you have or have you had an EFL teacher to whom you’d like to say thank-you? Leave us a comment below!