In the last post, I looked at the…
“Hi, I just finished [some degree], and I’ve decided to teach IELTS” syndrome.
I mentioned two factors that you, the students, should consider: Factor 1: Teaching IELTS is very very complicated, and Factor 2: Materials & Practice (and lots of it) are very very necessary. Let’s continue with this, giving Factor 3.
Factor 3: Experience
The next factor is the teaching of IELTS and the use of IELTS material, which requires techniques that have to be developed over years. Doing a theoretical university course (maybe from a bad university in the UK) is just the barest minimum. The theory needs to be practiced, developed, and techniques and materials have to be acquired. Teachers also need to develop the realisation of what works in class, and what does not work.
The truth is that Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is extremely complicated, requires the teacher to develop his own materials and techniques through practice and years of experience. Working out how to balance fluency, accuracy, pronunciation, maximising student-talking-time, classroom management, timing, staging of activities, lesson planning, overall course design, student psychology, and on and on and on …… all need (to repeat) many years of hard experience before it begins to become truly effective.
So, when some totally inexperience person suddenly claims to be able to ‘teach IELTS’, it’s time to be very careful. It is easy to meet a group of learners in a coffee-shop, and together turn pages in an IELTS book, while spoon-feeding a regurgitated mix of dubious material from trendy IELTS websites. It is even easier for some people to shamelessly lie about how effective it all is at helping you in the IELTS test. Even if this service is cheap (or free - but be very careful of such promises), it’s unlikely that it's going to do much for your IELTS skills, and remember that bad advice could take your IELTS mark down! Do you really want that to happen?
Find the meaning of the underlined words, also repeated below.
- dubious (adj)
- to spoon-feed (n)
- to regurgitate (v)
- dubious (adj)