Monday, June 30, 2014

My First TOEFL Group

Even though I took my first steps on teaching independently with TOEFL-IELTS training, I did it with individual classes on a one-to-one basis. I had never had the chance to work with a group other than General English courses, so having the opportunity to start training and preparing a group for the test was a total challenge. After six intensive months, I have finally finished this group training and now we are only waiting for the test to come, and I am reflecting on the good things about working with a group for this type of course.


It has been a good experience, indeed. Compared to working only with one student, it has definitely been more dynamic, less stressful and generally better for the students and more fun for me. Presenting the basics of the test to a group has generated much more questions and consequently better understanding of its parts, timing, evaluation fundamentals, types of questions and practicing advantages. Moreover, working on grammar and vocabulary as well as the four main skills involved in taking the test has been enriching for each student since working in pairs or as a group represents more discussion, better clarification at student-student level and excellent team work and support.

On the other hand, the teacher-student stress has completely disappeared from the classroom as I have left all evaluation practice, timing and feedback on a one-to-one level among students, just keeping a close monitoring. Furthermore, students have felt more relaxed and have gained more confidence for the speaking section which is one of the most stressful for them. As for the reading timing, working in teams before entering the individual training for this section has represented a real success on managing the skimming and scanning techniques and has finally drawn students back from the intensive reading tendency, giving them strength on analyzing questions and be clear on how to find answers.

Finally, we all feel better after this new experience and we trust this preparation course has left great experiences that will be really useful on developing our skills beyond the test itself.