TEFL: The Way Forward

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected us all and here in Malta the tourism industry has been hit particularly hard. And so have private language schools.

Dramatic Drop

At the moment, many are reluctant to travel as airports and flights seem to be at greater risk – or at least, that is the public perception. As a result, whereas last year about 80, 000 learners joined courses in Malta’s EFL language schools, this year the numbers are dramatically lower. Will they improve? Might a vaccine be found? Will people travel again freely and come to Malta to learn and develop their English Language skills? The answer may well be yes. But the reality is that we simply don’t know. So how should language schools plan for the future?

Until the pandemic hit us, Malta based its language school product on several unique selling points (USPs): quality language courses; an environment in which English is used confidently outside the language schools; sunshine; the blue Mediterranean; and, for those who wanted it, an interesting historical heritage to explore.

Going it alone: teaching quality

Now all of these have gone, bar one: quality language teaching. That must be the top target for those who want to ensure the survival and the prosperity of the EFL industry in Malta. Don’t get me wrong – the quality is already high and clients’ overall satisfaction with their English Language tuition is impressive. But whereas before the quality of the tuition was bolstered by those other USPs, now we must rely on the quality of teaching alone.

There are several areas that can be focussed on: ensuring the highest standards of teachers’ English proficiency, both spoken and written; greater awareness of and familiarity with a wider variety of teaching and learning methods; greater confidence using educational technology; and the ability to adapt.

The secret: flexibility and adaptability

This last area – adaptability and flexibility – may well become an essential skill in the months and years ahead. Learners may return to the physical classroom but others may well opt for online learning. Teachers, then, will need to feel confident teaching at times face-to-face in a physical environment … At other times managing and teaching in an online environment. And, if the latest trend is anything to go by, they may also need to learn how to operate in a physical and virtual classroom simultaneously – what is being termed as hybrid courses.

TEFL courses which offer a crash course in basic TEFL survival teaching skills need to take this new reality on board and help their trainees to feel ready to handle both physical and virtual environments. At onlineteflteacher that is precisely what our tefl courses do.

And as teachers gain experience, they need to deepen and broaden their knowledge and skills by, for example, attending CPD (Continuing Professional Development) workshops and aiming for higher qualifications in this new 21st century TEFL. Scenario.

Forward and upward: the way to go!