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The Recent Tendencies In English Language Teaching

The Recent Tendencies In English Language Teaching

As the world settles into the rhythms of daily life as it emerges from a global pandemic, like many industries, the field of teaching English as a foreign language has changed drastically.

The previous need to push lessons online revealed the potential for growth in an industry that had been under-utilizing technology. Further advances in technology then cemented this change, transforming English teaching into a viable career path for individuals across the globe, and making learning the language more accessible than ever.

 

Blended Learning

Whilst in-person learning was once esteemed as the best way to get to grips with a language, the option to take lessons online has brought teaching English into the 21st century, and the age of convenience. The finessing of online platforms ensured that teaching English online could be more than just a useful alternative in times of need, redefining the understanding of what the space of an ESL classroom was.

Now students have the option to schedule a lesson, like they would a meeting, without ever needing to leave their offices.

This convenience extends to schools and teachers too. Language schools can expand their business, no longer confined to the physical boundaries of the city they’re in. Teachers can also save time, with their days no longer tied up by traveling from place to place to teach business courses, or exam preparation in local schools.

For language schools in Europe, online lessons can also offer a quick-fix solution to the post-Brexit complications of hiring British native-speakers, who can work comfortably from their own homes in the UK. This avoids a lot of new red tape and ensures that students can still enjoy learning from mother-tongue teachers.

 

Online Platforms

Online platforms, such as Zoom have become popular mediums for English lessons. Functions such as being able to save the chat, share your screen, and even separate the class into groups allow teachers to replicate a classroom environment, and students to keep extensive notes on their lessons on their computers, even if they forget to write anything down. Moreover, the platform is available both as an app or for use on your computer, so in the case of a technological malfunction, students and teachers alike have a plan B in the form of their smartphones.

This increase in the use of online platforms does, however, bring new expectations of English teachers with it. Schools in particular will expect their teachers to be competent users of various digital platforms, and technologically savvy in general.

Although online teaching training is often offered as an additional unit, depending on the tefl level you opt for, schools are unlikely to offer training in this area. Reading up on the various options you can choose from to train as a teacher will give you a better idea of how the courses work.

Students, on the other hand, will expect their teachers to have access to a strong internet connection, and to have a reliable computer, as well as excellent headphones for the best online learning experience possible.

Netflix

In 2021, Netflix had 209 million subscribers worldwide, which in terms of teaching means an abundance of listening content for students to make use of in their free time. Students can now take it upon themselves to improve their listening skills outside of the classroom, without it necessarily feeling like homework.

With so much content in English only a click away, English learners will be able to tailor their listening to their own interests, developing their vocabulary with regards to that topic in the process.

Not only that, but teachers can also demand a little more accountability from their students; streaming and downloading are so readily available, as highlighted on wiseloaded.com, that there are no longer any excuses for students not working on their listening on their own time too.

It should be noted that this new approach, with regard to encouraging students to take control of their own learning, is only really applicable to higher levels. The idea of watching films, or full episodes of a series in English remains quite a daunting undertaking for lower levels.

For this to become a useful resource for all levels, teachers would need to be up-to-date on content that could be manageable, and of interest to their students, which could ultimately end up adding to their workload.

 

Apps

There are now numerous apps to suit every individual English learner’s needs, following this trend of embracing technology as a tool to study. Duolingo, which allows users access to its basic features for free, is useful for building vocabulary and focuses predominantly on translating sentences.

The app also regularly reminds its users to complete some exercises to maintain their streaks, making it the ideal choice for those that need a push to study outside of class.

In terms of language apps that require you to pay, Babbel has an intensive focus on grammar for those that would like to brush up on the rules, whilst Busuu helps students build on speaking basic sentences, with feedback from native speakers, who also use the app.

Although language apps have certainly come a long way, English learners should bear in mind that the use of them is not equivalent to taking lessons. In general, they are great for supplementary material to support a student’s learning alongside their English classes, or just a gentle refresh of English for those wanting to ease back into it slowly.

For this reason many may see paying for an app, as well as a course, as excessive, and ultimately which app you opt for as a student will depend entirely on how motivated you are to learn the language.

As a whole, English Language teaching hasn’t changed so much as the space in which it is taught has. Students, schools, and teachers are now afforded a lot more flexibility thanks to technological developments, and society leaning into them.

Teaching English has ultimately become easier than ever, really enforcing its place in the world as a global language, as people across the globe connect online to learn.

 

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