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want to teach english but bad grammer skills....what do I do

 
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cozmick1



Joined: 30 Sep 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:42 pm    Post subject: want to teach english but bad grammer skills....what do I do Reply with quote

I'm thinking off going to Thailand to teach English and my main concern is that I don't know enough about the language to teach it. I am a native speaker but really don't know much about grammer/ parts of speech and the like. I'm thinking about auditing an English class at the local community college to prepare....Is this the right move?
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 866
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely!

Basic English grammar ( Wink ) was not part of the curriculum when I was in elementary/secondary school (I graduated in 2002). I started my TESL degree with the knowledge of a five paragraph essay but no idea what a gerund was (isn't that some sort of German contraption?). So, I chose plenty of English grammar electives when I got to university (as well as second language classes). It was very helpful.

Your students (I'm not familiar with Thailand specifically but I have dealt with learners from other Asian countries) will likely know basic grammar and parts of speech. As an EFL teacher, you will need to know as well. You do not want to stand up in a classroom and have a student explain to you what the different tenses are. Or what a tense is. Embarassed

What about teaching itself? Have you given thought to a TESL/TEFL certificate? Why do you want to teach English?
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cozmick1



Joined: 30 Sep 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey....thanks for the advice. I basically want to experience living internationally (I've travelled quite a bit) while bringing something to the table. I think the experience will broaden my understanding of people and life. I'm thinking about certification so I have a better idea of how to teach esl but the money is a bit of an issue....
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 866
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If funds are limited, I would recommend taking a TESL certificate instead (ie. CELTA) and purchasing a quality grammar book instead of taking the grammar class.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind that foreign students will learn English grammar (not "grammer" Rolling Eyes ) differently than we native speakers. So what you learn may not translate into a way to teach. I'd say for that reason a grammar class is less valuable than training to teach English, so if you have a choice, do the latter. Ideally, do both, IMO.
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 516

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Glenski about focusing on teaching techniques, plus, the basics of English grammar can be learned fairly easily (I think). Pick up an advanced book that an EFL student would use and check out the grammar review sections. This should give you all of the tenses, conditionals, uses of adverbs, etc. Also I'm not sure a college English course would give you much grammar info anyway, unless it was specifically called that. As an English major, my college required only one course, History and grammar of English and we didn't do EFLish grammar.

Of course you'll want to be able to rattle off rules if asked but much more important is how you will design a lessons to focus on a specific skill. Teaching methodology is much more complex and deserves much more of your attention. As for spelling, well, usually avid readers r gud spelrs Smile
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2731
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd suggest a several-pronged approach, in roughly increasing order of necessary time invested:

1) Get a "good grammar"-style book - those aimed at native speakers wanting to bone up on the basics of any traditional~relatively mainstream grammar they might've missed in their schooldays. The books by Gordon Jarvie or Graham King are reasonably brisk and breezy examples aimed at the UK market. Or you might be able to pick up a high school or college composition textbook cheap, that contains several chapters on grammar e.g. I have IIRC a Macmillan English 11 textbook somewhere, that even has Reed-Kellog diagrams LOL ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence_diagram ). But if you've got money to spare, you really can't go wrong with Leech et al's English Grammar for Today (though bear in mind that this is a relatively thorough and "formal" course in grammar and grammatical analysis).

2) Get an EFL learner practice grammar, such as Murphy's Essential/Basic Grammar in Use, to show you how elementary EFL grammar is contextualized for students.

3) Get a reasonably comprehensive grammar proper, to refer to when learning to teach, and indeed when actually teaching for a living. I think Eastwood's Oxford Guide to English Grammar hits the right sort of level, and is well-organized (i.e. in an order that can be read through and studied, unlike A-Z-ordered reference books such as Swan's Practical English Usage, good though that is), indexed, and presented. The Collins COBUILD Grammar is also well worth a look for its very functional and 'lexicogrammatical' approach (e.g. it provides detailed lists of verbs that share the same structures and thus similar meanings).

4) Get a book on the basics of TEFL pedagogy, such as Haycraft's Introduction to ELT, Lewis & Hill's Practical Techniques, Scrivener's Learning Teaching, or Harmer's How to Teach English (in order of date of publication).

5) Enrol on a course such as the CELTA, if funds permit.


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:16 pm; edited 4 times in total
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rioux



Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 322

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much will a CELTA cost?
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daniel_hayes



Joined: 18 Jun 2007
Posts: 177

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cozmik, this is a common anxiety, I know I worry about it lots!! I have a CELTA and I am a teacher (in Spain), but my grammatical knowledge is still ............... limited.

I have a few of the books mentioned, and I read them when I have time. It seems to be that we teachers often learn grammar 'on-the-job'. I have onlt been teaching for about 5 months, so I have a long way to go.

It is the strange uses of grammar that I have a problem with ie. when a student spots a fatal flaw in the text-book, and I don't know the answer. This situation fills me with dread; I HATE it. I try and avoid shrugging my shoulders, but often that's what happens, and I say 'English doesn't make sense, but what can we do?'

Good luck and relax. I am sure you'l be a great teacher, BUT I'd say some kind of tefl or celta is essential, or you really won't know what the hell you're doing at the beginning.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4847
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: want to teach english but bad grammer skills....what do Reply with quote

cozmick1 wrote:
I'm thinking about auditing an English class at the local community college to prepare....Is this the right move?

I'm with Santi on this one; this could be very beneficial.

In addition to auditing English classes to improve your grammar, look into doing some volunteer work at one of your local nonprofit ESL literacy or refugee ESL programs as a teaching assistant or classroom tutor. Although these classes may focus primarily on conversation English, this would still give you an opportunity to both observe a classroom teacher and be mentored at the same time.

And of course, seriously consider getting a valid TEFL cert or CELTA. Given your limited funds, avoid the temptation of doing a cheapie online TEFL course; save your money for the real thing.
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cozmick1



Joined: 30 Sep 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow...great advice everyone! Thank you! One question though, I hear that tefl cert pales in comparison to the celta...is this true? If I want to get to Thailand by May (when classes start) I can only afford tefl but not celta...is tefl ok? (I'm sure this has been answered already so I apologize in advance for asking again)
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 866
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cozmick1 wrote:
Wow...great advice everyone! Thank you! One question though, I hear that tefl cert pales in comparison to the celta...is this true? If I want to get to Thailand by May (when classes start) I can only afford tefl but not celta...is tefl ok? (I'm sure this has been answered already so I apologize in advance for asking again)


Yes and no. Most TEFL certificates are not up to CELTA standard. Some are much more comprehensive than CELTA (like mine) but it cost a lot more and took far longer to complete (one year full-time university). CELTA will be your best bang for the buck and is pretty short.

Sorry, I don't know anything about other TEFL certificates besides CELTA and my own comprehensive one, so perhaps someone else can help.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4847
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cozmick1 wrote:
I hear that tefl cert pales in comparison to the celta...is this true? If I want to get to Thailand by May (when classes start) I can only afford tefl but not celta...is tefl ok?

If you can't afford to do a CELTA, look for a TEFL cert course that's 120 hours of face-to-face instruction and includes supervised teaching practice with real students. Another option is to complete a CELTA or equivalent TEFL cert in Thailand---course costs might be lower there than in your home country. And speaking of money, make sure you'll have enough to cover your airfare, food, and settling-in costs once you decide you're ready to head overseas. Know before you go in order to avoid disappointment and unpleasant surprises.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cozmick1 wrote:
Wow...great advice everyone! Thank you! One question though, I hear that tefl cert pales in comparison to the celta...is this true? If I want to get to Thailand by May (when classes start) I can only afford tefl but not celta...is tefl ok? (I'm sure this has been answered already so I apologize in advance for asking again)

TEFL is a general term. CELTA (and the Trinity TESOL) are just the most internationally accepted certificates. (Some of our American colleagues tell us that SIT is also well-recognised - my advice would be to look at advertisements by employers in the country of English - also, ask on the Thai forum board if Thailand is favourite). However, other TEFL certificates are good if they give you experience of observing teachers and being observed teaching. You shouldn't use online courses.

Re grammar: You need to read up on grammar before taking a course like CELTA, as the assumption is that you already have some understanding.

Re. avoiding grammar: maybe I shouldn't say this, but some employers (mainly in China) want you primarily for conversational work. So I guess you may be able to go, use your general command of English and try to bone up on the grammar later on. But it is a bit risky, as being exposed as weak in this area might not go down well..
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