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Foreign Language Teaching Methods: Online Professional Development

Some of us who are interested in language teaching and peace are specifically educated in those fields and have received adequate training and done much study of those topics. But some of us, like myself, are just taking first steps into teaching and may or may have not studied language teaching extensively.

As teachers that want to be as effective as possible, most of us without formal training would love to get as much instruction as we can, but time and funds sometimes can make that difficult. I know that has been my experience, so I was excited to discover this free short online teaching course offered by the University of Texas in Foreign Language Teaching Methods. The course is geared to teachers instructing high school and university students, but many of the principles are useful for all ages.

It covers the broader areas of Skills, Language, and Classroom, with sub categories under each, such as methods for teaching listening, pragmatics, assessment, etc. Each sub category has 4 short lessons attached to it, with questions to get you thinking about your personal teaching methods and what might work in your own classroom.

The one area I would have liked to see more options discussed was the classroom management and discipline section, which featured primarily the traditional “take control of the classroom” type philosophy, which is not always the most helpful for the well-being of students and for the learning atmosphere. However, there were some good ideas about ways to help maintain order that could be very useful, depending on your classroom, so do take the time to see what ideas are presented and discern whether they would help create the classroom climate you are looking for or not.

The course is a great springboard for pursuing further questions that you might have about teaching that you haven’t even realized you had yet!

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Contributing Author

Abigail Long is a 2012 graduate of Messiah College in Grantham, PA, and a member of Fairview Ave Brethren in Christ Church in Waynesboro, PA. She spent 14 months teaching English in South Korea at the Connexus Language Institute and is deeply interested in the connections between language learning, teaching and peacebuilding.

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