TEFL Success Stories – Part 34

Sharon – Italy

What keeps you motivated? The belief that what I’m doing is interesting, successful and useful. Every time I get positive feedback from one of my students I get a boost that encourages me to go on.

Best teaching moment (in your current teaching situation)? Imagine 90 advanced learners from the University of Verona running around a lecture theatre, fully engaged in a mingling/drilling activity. It was a classroom management nightmare but they told me it had been really useful for them. Another very positive moment was recently when I saw just how much my learners’ writing was improving after work on collocation and language patterning combined with dictionary skills training.


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Worst teaching moment (in your current teaching situation)? Having to deal with a class of over a hundred students who were expected to fit into a classroom designed for a maximum of forty people. Apart from the fire hazards, etc, it was very difficult to know who to send away. In the end the only solution seemed to be to split the group into two.

The biggest challenge you face (in your current teaching situation)? To keep everything fresh, motivating and still help learners to prepare for their exams. I have tried to do this by introducing blended learning courses slowly into my normal courses. Motivating learners to spend time working autonomously online has been a challenge as many are very busy with other subjects too, but I must say that I’m pleased with the online work done so far this year. The feedback has been very positive too.

What have you learned from your students? I have learned this year from my students that motivation is a key issue. It’s something that, with limited time available, we have not worked on too much in the past. However, this year I provided a series of motivation podcasts on our Moodle platform and the success they met with was actually overwhelming. So I will not underestimate, in future, how important this is for them.

What’s next? I think that I would now like to concentrate on teaching and training in technology-related areas, learning more about Second Life.

Top tip for other teachers? Keep your sense of curiosity and fun, so that you explore new things and learn along with your learners.


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