The Oxford TEFL Blog

How the Online Teaching IELTS course helped me meet the needs of my students

Monica Buenrostro is an English teacher from Mexico and has been teaching for about 20 years. In June 2020 she took our 30-hour online Teaching IELTS course. In this blog post she explains how this course helped her meet the needs of her students and the high demand for a specialised IELTS teacher.

Why did you decide to take the 30-hour Online Teaching IELTS course?

Most of my experience resides in teaching English as a foreign language in high school, and I can say that I enjoy it very much. Teaching teenagers can be challenging, but it can be truly rewarding as well, and that is my case.

As a variant to my daily duties teaching English in high school, I was given the wonderful opportunity to teach online ESL classes to people around the world. I have taught students from Ghana, Congo, Vietnam, Venezuela, Argentina, Burkina Faso, among others, and this too has been a wonderful experience since I have got to know people from around the globe.

However, during the past few months, there has been a significant reduction in the number of students that enrol in their online classes due to several reasons. Besides the pandemic and the uncertainty that it is causing, on the bright side more and more people already speak English, and they have higher goals in mind, like taking an IELTS exam for migration purposes. The number of students enrolling in IELTS preparation courses has increased significantly, as opposed to the ESL program which was decreasing. I saw a nice opportunity to keep working for this wonderful school and continue meeting amazing people from all the corners of the world if I was properly trained to teach IELTS preparation courses.

Why did  you choose Oxford TEFL as your course provider?

The next natural step that I needed to take was finding a school that would train me for that. I had experience with IELTS as a taker of the exam, and I had the ESL teaching expertise, but I didn’t know how to teach IELTS strategies to my online students, and this is where Oxford TEFL came in handy. I looked around to find different schools that would provide me with IELTS instructor training, but there were very few, and the ones I did find were not as complete as Oxford TEFL.

Not only was the format ideal for me (I was moving from a face to face format of teaching in my high school to teaching 100 teenagers online), but it also provided me with great material that I was able use right after I got my first IELTS student. Online, asynchronous tasks combined with a very nice instructor that would provide an online tutorial every other week was the perfect combination for my lack of time to have synchronous sessions all the time.

What was your tutor like?

My instructor, Tim Brown, was very helpful and clear in his explanations. He enriched the course with more ideas during the tutoring sessions, and my classmates were a nice source of more ideas since some of them already had a lot of experience in teaching IELTS courses. Tim’s feedback when turning in the assignments was prompt and very clear. As a teacher with no experience teaching IELTS, his observations were very convenient for me.

What was the course format like?

The course was divided into three modules with lessons to review, quizzes to take, a discussion forum, and an assignment that came after the tutoring session with Tim. The modules were divided by the skills that are tested in the IELTS exam, so each module was aimed at becoming familiar with the skill and the aspects students struggle the most with. In our discussion board, we usually discussed the main problems students face while responding to the questions of that particular skill, and how we as instructors can provide some guidance and tips. As I mentioned before, I had no experience with being “on the other side” of the exam as an instructor of the course, but as a taker of it only, so this format made the course user-friendly and appropriate for my needs.

What are your main take-aways from this course?

I finished my six-week course with a clear idea of how the exam works, how students struggle with the exam, and with lots of practical material ready to be used. I also learned that this exam can pose a great challenge to the students, and for this reason it is important for me to be ready to provide useful tips and exercises, and also to boost their self confidence to be ready both mentally and emotionally.

Who would you recommend the 30-hour Online Teaching IELTS course to?

I recommend this course to all the people like me who are starting a new endeavour in the field of IELTS preparation, but I also think experienced teachers can get a lot from it, since the material and the tips provided by the instructor and the new ideas provided by the classmates can be very useful. I want to thank my instructor Tim for his guidance, and I want to thank all the people at Oxford TEFL for making this experience of becoming an IELTS teacher a smooth and easy process. There is more to learn, of course, but this has given me a wonderful start.

Do you need to upgrade your skills to meet the changing demand of your students? Or would you like to compete for some of the most sought-after jobs in ELT? Apply for our 30-hour Online Teaching IELTS course with expert tutor support and gain an additional certificate to impress employers.



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