Next month, TEFL Express will be releasing a brand new 25 hour Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL) course. Now, I don’t usually use this blog to endorse any of TEFL Express’s products, but I thought I’d make an exception in this case. Namely, because I think that it’s important for those in the TEFL industry to know what a TEYL course is, and how it can benefit them in their career and their classroom teaching. Also, as I was involved in the creation of the course, I wanted to give some insight as to how we filmed this video course and what you can expect to get out of it.
This post is a behind the scenes look at the making of the course. If you’d like specific information about the course content, pricing, release date and more, please take a look at the course’s landing page by clicking on the picture below.
How Can a TEYL Certificate Help Teachers
Most TEFL, CELTA, certTESOL courses, etc. are focused on adult learners and language teaching in general. Where all of these courses touch on the concepts of teaching young learners, anyone who has been in a classroom of five-year-olds will tell you that it isn’t enough. Teaching children requires a different classroom management skill set. It requires specific knowledge of teaching methodology that works with YL. It requires the ability to create lessons packed with activities that children will find fun. Basically, while not completely going back to the drawing board regarding language teaching, it does require rethinking your strategies.
There are basically two solutions for improving your teaching young learner skills, one is simply experience. It won’t be easy, but if you keep trying different strategies out, things will improve. Also, you can observe your more experienced peers, which will go a long way towards making you comfortable in a YL classroom.
The second solution is taking a TEYL course. Increasingly, language centers and schools are looking for teachers with this qualification. Young learners is the fastest growing segment of TEFL teaching, and applicants with either experience or extra qualifications are usually chosen over those without. This is definitely the case at my school.
Meet the Teachers
For the TEFL Express TEYL course, I chose two experienced colleagues and friends of mine who have both been teaching for nearly ten years. I specifically chose these two teachers as their teaching styles are extremely different, but both are very effective.
Ashley is an American teacher who, for the past four years, has been a head teacher at an elite private secondary/high school in Hanoi, Vietnam. However, before that time I knew Ashley as a goofy, fun primary teacher who always did an excellent job of getting into the minds of children and engaging with them at their level. Where Ashley has clear classroom rules and extremely organized lessons; she always manages to make her classes a fun and relaxed place to be.
Sebastiano is half Italian and half English. Seb likes to be in control of his class at all times and has a lot of different methods to do so. He’s a student of the “Power Teaching” methodology but makes it fun and enjoyable for the students. Seb is very much like a manager of the class, who facilitates activities and delegates responsibility to students whenever possible. Where not exactly Ashley’s opposite, their styles are unique, and I’m sure that you’ll learn a lot by watching them in action.
How Were the Classes Organized
Firstly, I’d like to proudly report that these videos were not rehearsed. There were no scripts for the students. There were no scripts for the teachers. These are real students in real classroom situations. There were specific aspects of YL teaching that I wanted to get on film and, with the help of these experienced teachers, we were able to do so. Again, you can read all you want about teaching concepts, but seeing a teacher put them into action will help you understand.
To make the videos, we had a large center in Hanoi organize two different classes for us. One is with students aged 8-11 and one is with much younger students 5-7. Young Learners is a term that includes primary age students all the way to teenagers. The goal was to make sure that students taking the course would get to see interactions with both age groups and see how different they are.
Though the level of the students is not a beginner, the methodology of these teachers, and the course content in general works for any level. In fact, teaching different level students, especially low level, is specifically addressed in the course.
Why I wish that I Could Have Taken this Course
I can still remember the fear that gripped me my first day of teaching a YL class. It was a group of five and six-year-olds that had only been studying for a few months before I got them. I was able to make the class fun for them, and I kept trying to adapt my teaching, but I couldn’t shake the fear that I was somewhat of an imposter. That I didn’t really know what I was doing and that my methodology was, at that time, fairly ad hoc.
I learned a lot from my fellow teachers, but it wasn’t until the second teaching job that I got the professional development that would have helped me so much in my early teaching days. Though I had classroom routines, I wasn’t really aware of them or exactly why they helped. While I was creating fun games, I wasn’t as focused on making them inclusive and centered on my aims as I should have been.
The professional development that I got, was a TEYL class led by one of the center’s managers. There were a number of input sessions, readings, and observations that started me on the path of mastering my skills as a YL teacher. Ten years later, having led numerous TEYL courses and workshops of my own, I hope to offer new teachers the benefit of the knowledge that I wish I’d had before that first day.
For more information about the course, and to find out if it would be a good fit for you, take a look at our TEYL Course landing page by clicking on the picture below. We are putting the finishing touches on the course as I write this, and it will be available next month.