Building confidence in the EFL or ESL Teacher
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Building Confidence in the Teacher

(from Module 6 of the TEFL for Target Learner Groups Course)


by James Parmelee

This article is about more than just building your students' confidence in you as a teacher (which is extremely important); it is also, in the process of that, about how to organize and live a happier life yourself. As for building student confidence in yourself as the teacher, all of this follows from those all-important first impressions. Punctuality and professional dress, along with thoughtful (and relevant) planning and preparation will demonstrate your professionalism.

Your keenness and enthusiasm will set the example. Be calm, unruffled and give due consideration to all questions or queries. Be sure to follow up! Write down any points which need following up.

Be consistent, and aware of any prejudice or bias you might have in yourself.

Be impersonal, but not non-personal.

Be approachable and available: Give students times and telephone numbers or places for further assistance.

Get to know your students as people and remember that you, too, are human.

Do not be aloof, but get down to the level of the student, especially as concerns the actual teaching.

APPLY TO YOUR TEACHING

(and to your teaching institute personnel)
The Principles of 'Basic Human Relations'

I. FUNDAMENTAL TECHNIQUES IN HANDLING PEOPLE

  1. Do not criticize or complain.
  2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager desire to know you.

 

II. SIX WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU

  1. Become genuinely interested in people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important word in any language.
  4. Be a good listener; encourage people to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely.

 

III. TWELVE WAYS TO WIN PEOPLE TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never tell a person he or she is wrong.
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying, “Yes, Yes” IMMEDIATELY.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his (or hers).
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

 

IV. NINE WAYS TO “CHANGE” PEOPLE WITHOUT GIVING OFFENSE OR AROUSING RESENTMENT

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes only indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving orders.
  5. Let the other person save face: Leave a “way out”.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

 

V. FUNDAMENTAL RULES FOR OVERCOMING WORRY

  1. Live in a day-tight compartment, meaning plan each part of the day.
  2. Learn how to face trouble:
    • Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?”
    • Prepare to accept the worst.
    • Try to improve on the worst.
  3. Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry, in terms of your health.
  4. Keep busy.
  5. Do not fuss about trifles.
  6. Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries.
  7. Cooperate with the inevitable.
  8. Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more.
  9. Do not worry about the past.

 

VI. SEVEN WAYS TO CULTIVATE A MENTAL ATTITUDE THAT WILL BRING YOU PEACE AND HAPPINESS

  1. Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope.
  2. Never try to get even with your enemies.
  3. Expect ingratitude.
  4. Count your blessings – not your troubles.
  5. Do not imitate others.
  6. Try to profit from your losses.
  7. Create happiness for others.

 

VII. THE PERFECT WAY TO CONQUER WORRY:

  • Pray, meditate.

 

VIII. HOW TO KEEP FROM WORRYING ABOUT CRITICISM:

Remember that unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment.

Do the very best you can.

Analyze your own mistakes and criticize yourself.

 

IX. SIX WAYS TO PREVENT FATIGUE AND WORRY AND KEEP YOUR ENERGY AND SPIRITS HIGH

  1. Rest before you get tired.
  2. Learn to relax at your work.
  3. If you are a housewife, protect your health and appearance by relaxing at home.
  4. Apply these 4 good working habits:
    • Clear the desk of all papers except those relating to the immediate problem at hand.
    • Do things in order of importance.
    • When you face a problem, solve it then and there if you have the facts necessary to make a decision.
    • Learn to organize, deputize and supervise (delegate).
  5. Put enthusiasm into your work.
  6. Do not worry about insomnia.
    • If you can’t sleep, get up to work, or read until you feel sleepy.
    • Remember: Nobody dies of insufficient sleep.
    • Do some exercise; plan a regular program.

 

X. BASIC TECHNIQUES IN ANALYZING WORRY

  1. Get all the facts.
  2. Weigh all the facts, then come to a decision.
  3. Once a decision is reached, act.
  4. Write out and answer the following questions:
    • What is the problem?
    • What are the causes of the problem?
    • What are the possible solutions?
    • What is the best solution?

 

XI. A BASIC MODEL FOR PROBLEM-SOLVING

  1. Acknowledge the person’s feelings.
  2. Ask questions to clarify feelings and the situation.
  3. Summarize your understanding of the problem.
  4. Ask the person if your understanding is correct.
  5. Explain what you can or cannot do to help.
  6. Problem-solve with the person.
  7. Reassure the person of your willingness to help.
  8. Follow through on all agreements made by setting a time and date.

We hope that the Lesson Guide above is what you were looking for, and that it will help you in your ESL/EFL teaching career. However, if you have not completed your interactive TEFL Course training yet, we recommend that you do your training with TEXT-AND-TALK Academy in Thailand (the Land of Smiles), where the people are friendly, students are respectful and our course trainers are 'people persons' who care about you and will help you with your career in every way.

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