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TEFL Masterclass – “Just Do It” – and Other Confidence Strategies That Don’t Always Work

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Krisia Justesen – Teacher Trainer & Founder @Lightning English.

Over the past 15 years, Krisia Justesen has been dedicated to teaching English in three different countries. With a remarkable global footprint, she has resided in eight countries, immersing herself in six distinct languages. As an English educator, Krisia has cultivated inventive techniques and teaching methods. Krisia’s instructional philosophy aims to provide an efficient and effective path for learners to achieve linguistic proficiency.

What you will learn

In this workshop, we’re going to look at confidence. We’ll examine how our training and materials help us to build confidence in our students and discuss whether or not what we are doing now is adequate, as well as if, in fact, it is even our job to venture into confidence-building with our students.

By understanding what confidence-building strategies are built into the systems that we use, we can see how these techniques work, and whether or not they are serving all of our students, or if they are giving some students an unfair advantage.

For those who are interested in taking a step further from what’s in the textbooks, Krisia will share four practical strategies that she employs to successfully help her students become more confident with their English in the real world, beyond the classroom walls. Her clients are typically adults who have successfully completed their English studies, sometimes as high as university level, but find themselves unable to use their English when the need arises, but the strategies apply to all levels and all ages.

Workshop Summary

Introduction to Confidence Building Strategies

The speaker introduces a masterclass titled “Just Do It and Other Confidence Strategies that Don’t Always Work. The masterclass aims to address the struggles some students face in applying their classroom learning to real-world situations.

The Essence of Confident Students

The masterclass explores the characteristics of confident ESL students, including realistic self-awareness and an active engagement in learning. The session raises the question of whether nurturing confidence is a teacher’s responsibility, given that not all students respond uniformly to traditional teaching methods. The speaker highlights the need for tailored approaches to accommodate diverse student backgrounds and challenges, acknowledging that competence does not always translate to confidence, especially in real-world contexts.

Coaching and Mentoring for Confidence

The speaker proposes four main strategies to boost student confidence. The first is coaching and mentoring, where she recommends the GROW model (Goals, Reality, Obstacles/Opportunities, and Will). This model involves setting clear, achievable goals and understanding the student’s current situation to identify challenges and opportunities. Integrating this coaching approach into classroom activities, such as group discussions and individual assignments, can significantly enhance student engagement and confidence.

Real-World Application of Classroom Learning

The second strategy is to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world application. The speaker advises teachers to start with tasks students are comfortable with, gradually increasing the challenge to prepare them for real-life English usage. Gamification of tasks and the use of social media platforms are suggested as ways to engage students in English conversations about their interests, thereby enhancing their confidence in practical settings.

Goal-Oriented Teaching Approach

The third strategy involves goal-oriented teaching, where teachers take students’ personal goals seriously and break them down into achievable steps. By tailoring examples and assignments to align with these goals, students can better visualise and achieve their objectives. Lesson plans should be connected to these goals, providing students with a clear trajectory for applying their learning to their desired outcomes.

Fostering Social Groups for Language Practice

The final strategy the speaker recommends is the formation of social groups based on shared interests or goals. These groups, which can be online or in-person, encourage communication in English and offer additional opportunities for students to practise and build confidence. By emphasising the use of English within these groups, students can extend their learning beyond the classroom in a more natural and engaging environment.

Conclusion and Continuous Improvement

In conclusion, the masterclass emphasises the collective impact of coaching, real-world application, goal-oriented teaching, and social group involvement in enhancing student confidence. These strategies address the disparity between classroom learning and practical use, especially for students who may not naturally apply their learning in everyday situations. Continuous review and refinement of these methods are essential to meet the evolving needs of students. The speaker underscores the teacher’s role in not just delivering content but in shaping confident, competent language users who are equipped for real-world challenges.

Reflective Questions

Have a quick think about the reflective questions below in order to get the most out of the workshop:

  1. What’s something about you that you are confident about?
  2. Where does that confidence come from?
  3. Is there something you theoretically should be confident about, but you just don’t feel it?
  4. Are there differences in the ways your students build their confidence?

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