Thursday, April 24, 2008

Teaching English as a Foreign Language: 21st Century Skills EFL Teachers MUST Have

The Little Red One-Room School House

Like the little red one-room school house, the days of computer illiterate and digitally-challenged English as a foreign language teachers are gone. Nowadays English and foreign language teachers must routinely conduct any number of digitally-based or online tasks.

Digital and Online Tasks

• Conduct online class sessions
• Communicate with learners between class sessions using e-mails
• Create and manage online groups
• Develop and post digital EFL materials
• Create, write and post to blogs and websites like ESL Base
• Participate in online ELT discussion forums
• Conduct online reading and research
• Both upload and download EFL materials to and from ELT websites

The list could go on and on. The world of teaching English as a foreign or second language is now, by far, a digital - and global one.

Passing to the Forefront

If EFL teachers are to continue in their respective positions, have any thought to higher salaries beyond the traditional “standard of living” pay raises, or want any increased responsibility and recognition to be able to pass to the forefront of their fields, the time has long since come for their incrementing their digital and online skills.

Modern, Digitally Competent EFL Teachers

The modern, digitally competent English language teacher should be abreast of 21st century teaching and learning tools.

Ask yourself for example:

• Do you have a personal or English Language teaching website or blog?
• Do you give and receive assignments via e-mail or online class room site?
• How frequent or intensive is your participation in English language teaching forums online?
• Are you familiar with and make use of English language teaching materials available at online websites for teachers?
• Are you keeping up (or trying to) with what’s happening in the field of English and foreign language teaching theory by researching, reading journals, reports, and blog posts (like this one) on the internet?

It’s Almost Never Too Late

If you find yourself needing a boost in any of these skills, getting the upgrade assistance you need may be as simple as completing a free online course or two. You might also see what help is available at your school, company or institution. A quick Google search (you DO know how to do THAT, don’t you?) will turn up hundreds if not thousands of other options.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-books,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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