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Top 10 Reasons to Get TEFL Certified

Top 10 Reasons to Get TEFL Certified

This guest article was written by Bridge Education Group. With over 35 years of industry experience, Bridge’s goal is to empower a global community of English teachers and support excellence in English language teaching. In addition to our accredited portfolio of TEFL courses, Bridge offers articles, teaching resources, webinars, and more!

Embarking on a journey to teach English as a foreign language opens up a world of opportunities and enriching experiences. Earning a TEFL certification can be a transformative step for those aspiring to teach English, broaden their horizons, and make a positive impact on global education. Let’s explore 10 compelling reasons to get TEFL certified.

1. Qualify for TEFL jobs

Teaching English as a foreign language is a booming industry, with flexible employment options ranging from teaching in public or private schools to teaching English online. EFL teachers can teach locally or abroad, and many pursue a digital nomad lifestyle, teaching online while traveling.

For any of these pathways, TEFL certification is a requirement. Most employers will require at a minimum a 120-hour TEFL certification from an accredited organization, and even for those who teach English online independently as business owners, private tutors, or marketplace tutors, a TEFL certification prepares you for the classroom and establishes the professional credentials needed to market your services.

Quality TEFL/TESOL certification like the 120-hour Master Certificate should provide a solid background in English language teaching methodology and effective lesson planning. The 120-hour Master Certificate is an online, self-paced, interactive course that is tutor-supported and includes job advising modules.

If you’re looking to stand out from other job applicants or apply to TEFL jobs in competitive regions, the 150-hour Bridge International Diploma in English Language Teaching (IDELTOnline™) provides graduate-level online certification and can be used as a pathway to an advanced degree in TESOL. This university-affiliated course is led by a master’s level instructor and focuses on an in-depth study of English language learning theories and methodologies while providing practical training in curriculum design and effective teaching practices.

2. Start your journey abroad

One of the biggest reasons to get TEFL certified is access to the global opportunities that arise from certification. For teachers looking to live and teach abroad, there are several lucrative options. You can work for a public school, an international school, private and government language programs, or a language institute. Schools, institutes, and programs, which offer the stability of contract work as well as the opportunity to teach in a classroom environment, typically require a TEFL certification, as do online programs.

Another option for ESL teachers is to become a digital nomad, teaching online while traveling and immersing yourself in new cultural experiences. Digital nomads teach English online in several ways: You can be an online marketplace tutor, freelance with online language companies, or teach online independently as a teacherpreneur. An online TEFL certification helps teachers stand out in online marketplaces and programs and provides independent teachers with the credentials to market their services. Many countries offer digital nomad visas for qualified remote workers who want to live and work in a foreign country.

3. Adequately prepare for the classroom

The ESL classroom can be challenging due to language and cultural barriers. A quality TEFL certification equips teachers with the tools needed to maintain rapport with students while helping them meet their educational goals. Among the myriad topics teachers will learn from a TEFL course are:

  • Classroom management skills
  • How to motivate students
  • Effective ways to track student progress – and how to remedy a lack of progress
  • How to create lesson plans
  • How to provide feedback and correct student errors
  • The top methodologies for teaching EFL

These skills are essential to ensure that your students are meeting their language learning goals.

4. Increase your confidence

Earning a TEFL certification is a great way to ensure a strong educational foundation in EFL learning theory, so you are confident in your instructional strategies.

David Leach, originally from the U.S. and now teaching English in Japan, completed Bridge’s 120-hour Master TEFL Certificate.

“I was looking for a general, all-purpose certificate that is widely accepted,” he said. “The course gave me a lot of ideas for presenting new material to students at various levels, and a lot of good ways to review previous material so the students don’t forget it. Additionally, thanks to the writing assignments, I have a new collection of lessons I can use in adult classes. Finally, it also gave me insight into why the textbooks are organized the way they are. Now, I can look at the textbooks we use and understand some of the thinking and philosophy that went into designing them.”

5. Continue your professional development

If you’re already an EFL teacher, you know the value of continuing professional development.  Professional development courses help teachers hone their existing skills while also introducing new industry concepts and materials. Targeted training certifications like Bridge’s Specialized Certifications and Micro-credentials provide instruction and resources to further develop your skills in niche topics.

Showcase your skills to potential employers with the Teaching English Pronunciation Micro-credential or break into a new TEFL industry with the Teaching Business English Specialized Certification. Find higher-paying jobs in niche EFL subjects with certifications like the Teaching IELTS Exam Prep Micro-credential or Teaching TOEFL Test Prep Micro-credential. If you’re a marketplace tutor or run your own online English teaching business, highlighting this type of specialized training with a digital badge helps you grow your portfolio of private students.

Beyond the employment benefits, targeted training will improve your instructional skills and strategies, making you a more effective teacher and better able to support your students’ language learning journeys.

6. Improve your cultural awareness

A TEFL certification will also prepare you to optimize the cultural exchange opportunities you’ll find within any EFL classroom. Whether you’re teaching online or in person, being able to identify, collaborate with, and embrace many cultures is a key part of the job. Students who want to learn English can be found all over the world. A quality TEFL certification program will explore cultural competence, build self-awareness, and provide teachers with practical knowledge and strategies for teaching cultural competence to their students.  

7. Better understand the motivations of your students

Language learners come with a wide variety of experience levels and reasons to learn. Young students are often supplementing their regular schoolwork. Adult learners tend to seek TEFL instruction to make career advancements. Many students take ESL courses to pass a language proficiency test and obtain a visa or get accepted into a degree program. TEFL certification will familiarize you with the different reasons students seek to learn English and help you identify which teaching strategies are best to use in each case.

8. Connect with other teachers and industry professionals

Joining a TEFL program means gaining access to a community of teachers and educators all over the world. The benefits of a TEFL network may include finding jobs, gaining teaching advice and ideas, locating accommodation in a foreign city, or simply enjoying the support of others working in the same industry. These communities of practice are an incredible resource for teachers of all experience levels.

9. Build an independent teaching career

As previously mentioned, the online English teaching market is booming and provides opportunities for teachers to become their own bosses. For teachers ready to build an independent online English teaching career, membership to a program like the Teacherpreneur Academy provides resources and support through workshops, info sessions, and the Succeeding as an English Teacherpreneur Specialized Certification. Academy members learn the practical skills needed to thrive as business-minded educators through continuous learning and mentor support and instruction.

10. Make a difference in the lives of your students

Have you given thought to what your legacy will be? Teaching English, whether in person or online, has a lasting impact on the lives of your students. And you’ll learn and grow from your experiences as well. A TEFL certification opens doors to new professional and personal experiences, making it a worthwhile investment.

Savannah Potter

Savannah is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience as a content creator, editor, and journalist. Currently specializing in culture writing with a focus on the digital nomad revolution, she enjoys finding where culture, business, and technology meet. Early adopter, coffee aficionado, people person.

How to Permanently Relocate to Spain

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Kickstart Your Career With Exciting TEFL Jobs Worldwide

Kickstart Your Career With Exciting TEFL Jobs Worldwide

Our mission is simple: to connect passionate educators with incredible opportunities to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) all around the world. Imagine a career where every day is a new journey, where you’re not only teaching but also learning, immersing yourself in vibrant cultures, and making a real difference in the lives of your students. That’s what TEFL jobs with RVF International offer. So, are you ready to transform your passion for teaching into a passport for worldwide exploration and impact? Let’s start this exciting journey together and discover the countless benefits that TEFL jobs have in store for you!

Explore the Different Types of TEFL Jobs

As a certified TEFL teacher, a multitude of exciting job roles await you. If you’re a recent graduate or a newbie in the teaching field, school placements in various countries like Spain offer an excellent starting point for your career. For those with more experience under their belt, you can unlock numerous additional benefits as locations across the globe are on the lookout for TEFL-certified educators like you.

Is flexibility a priority? Online TEFL jobs let you teach from any corner of the world. And for those who wish to make a difference, volunteer positions in underprivileged communities provide a meaningful way to use your skills. In short, whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned professional, RVF International has a TEFL job tailored to suit your career aspirations and lifestyle preferences.

Tips for Landing Your First TEFL Job

Embarking on a career in TEFL can be an exhilarating journey filled with opportunities to explore new cultures, meet people from diverse backgrounds, and significantly impact students’ lives. Thinking about teaching English in Murcia or Madrid? It all starts with a TEFL certification.

But how do you land that first job that sets everything in motion? We’ll provide a few tips that will help you navigate the job market, make informed decisions, and secure the first TEFL position that aligns perfectly with your career aspirations and personal goals.

  • Embrace the Culture: One of the unique aspects of a TEFL job is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. Be open-minded and respectful of local customs and traditions. This will enrich your personal experience and help you connect better with your students.
  • Plan Ahead: Preparation is key to successful teaching. Spend time understanding your curriculum, planning your lessons, and gathering the necessary resources. Remember, a well-prepared teacher is a confident teacher.
  • Continuous Learning: As a TEFL teacher, you’re also a perpetual student. Keep up-to-date with the latest teaching methodologies and strategies. Attending seminars, workshops, or online courses can significantly enhance teaching skills.
  • Be Patient: It’s normal to encounter challenges, especially when starting out. Remember, every great teacher was once a beginner. Stay patient, ask for guidance when needed, and learn from your experiences.
  • Build Relationships: Building strong relationships with your students, their parents, and your colleagues can make your TEFL journey more fulfilling. It’s also a great way to understand different perspectives and improve your teaching approach.

Benefits of Pursuing TEFL Jobs

Choosing to embark on a TEFL career is not just about teaching English; it’s about embracing an opportunity that opens doors to personal growth, professional development, and global adventures. Here are some of the benefits that make TEFL jobs incredibly rewarding:

Global Opportunities

TEFL certification gives you the freedom to work in numerous countries across the globe. Whether you’re dreaming of South Korea’s high-tech cities or Spain’s sun-soaked beaches, there’s a TEFL job waiting for you.

Cultural Immersion

Living and working in a new country allows you to deeply immerse yourself in a different culture, learn a new language, and broaden your perspective — experiences you’d be hard-pressed to find in many other professions.

Career Development

TEFL jobs offer excellent opportunities for professional growth. From starting as a classroom teacher to progressing into roles like academic coordinator or director of studies, there’s always room for advancement.

Make a Difference

As a TEFL teacher, you have the chance to make a significant impact on your students’ lives. You’re helping them develop a skill that can open up countless opportunities for their future.

Flexible Work Options

With the rise of digital learning, online TEFL jobs are more prevalent than ever. This means you can live and teach from anywhere in the world, providing you with an unbeatable work-life balance.

Financial Benefits

Competitive salaries, coupled with benefits like free accommodation, airfare reimbursement, and low cost of living in certain countries, mean you can save while you travel.

Become Part of a Global Network of TEFL Teachers

Embarking on a TEFL career is the beginning of an exciting journey that promises growth, adventure, and the chance to make a profound difference in students’ lives. With RVF International, you’re discovering a profession that offers global experiences, cultural immersion, and limitless opportunities for professional development.

Are you ready to turn your passion for teaching English into a passport for worldwide travel? Let’s make your dream a reality! Take our TEFL certification and take the first step towards an extraordinary international teaching career. Get started with RVF International – where your TEFL journey begins!


Start Your Journey to Teaching Excellence With Our TEFL Courses

Start Your Journey to Teaching Excellence With Our TEFL Courses

RVF International is where your journey to teaching excellence begins! Our TEFL courses are specifically designed to transform passionate learners like you into world-class educators. We believe in the power of education to change lives, and we want you to be part of that change.

Our comprehensive TEFL courses go beyond just a certification. They’re your gateway to a rewarding career in teaching English, whether you choose to inspire students in exotic overseas classrooms or connect with them in the digital realm from the comfort of your home.

With our well-crafted modules, expert instructors, and a supportive community of successful graduates, you’ll feel comfortable stepping into the global network of educators just like you!

Join us at RVF International, and start your journey today. Are you ready to embrace this exciting new chapter in your career and teach English in Madrid and other amazing locations worldwide? Learn more about our exciting TEFL courses. Enroll now, and let’s shape the future of education together.

The Core Modules of Our TEFL Courses

Our modules cover it all, from mastering the nuances of English grammar to understanding the unique needs of young learners. Immerse yourself in the art of storytelling, classroom management, and more, and understand its impact on learning English. Our 11 comprehensive modules will allow you to evolve into an inspiring educator who can make a real difference in students’ lives. Dive in, and let’s reshape the future of education together!

Module 1: Introduction to English Language Teaching

Starting with a solid foundation, this module provides an essential introduction to English language teaching. It includes a thorough exploration of ELT methods and approaches, L1 and L2 learning, as well as effective L2 learning strategies. This is your first step towards understanding the intricacies of teaching English as a foreign language.

Module 2: Grammar Teaching

Delve into the art of teaching grammar in our second module. Here, we cover the importance of metalanguage, comprehensible communication, and acceptability. You’ll also explore the nine-word classes and the twelve verb tenses, crucial components in mastering English grammar instruction.

Module 3: Essential Skills for EFL Teachers

This module focuses on the professional standards for EFL teachers. You’ll learn about the concept of a growth mindset, understand learner and teacher expectations, and discover the basics of lesson planning. Equip yourself with the skills that make an exceptional EFL teacher.

Module 4: Motivation and Learner Preferences

Understanding your students is vital to effective teaching. In this module, you’ll learn about motivation and its essential elements, the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, influencing learner motivation, and the VAK Learner Preferences Questionnaire.

Module 5: English Grammar Overview

This comprehensive module provides a deeper look at English grammar, including similarities and differences with other languages, effective grammar presentations, and reliable reference materials. Get ready to deepen your knowledge of the English language.

Module 6: Challenging Elements of the English Language

In this module, we tackle phonological and phonemic awareness, lexis and its importance, selecting and presenting vocabulary, and the appropriateness of language and cultural contextualization. Prepare to navigate the challenging aspects of English with confidence.

Module 7: Teaching Skills 

Sharpen your teaching skills with this module. It covers teaching listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills and explains how to use the 5-step lesson plan to structure your lessons effectively.

Module 8: Lesson Planning and Lesson Delivery

In this pivotal module, you’ll delve into the most crucial teaching skill: lesson planning and delivery. We’ll guide you through setting clear objectives and goals, understanding the purpose and principles of lesson planning, and mastering the 5-Step Lesson Plan. Learn how to implement controlled and uncontrolled exercises and activities effectively and adapt your lesson plan in real-time.

Module 9: Essential Teaching Skills in Everyday Teaching

Module 9 of our TEFL course is your guide to mastering essential teaching skills for everyday practice. Understand the art of creating an effective learning environment, including strategies for organizing and controlling your classroom. Gain specialized knowledge in teaching young learners and learn about diverse assessment methods, including self- and peer-assessment, portfolios, project work, and dialogue journals.

Module 10: Classroom Management

This module teaches you about effective classroom management, setting up your classroom, positive reinforcement, teaching young learners, and providing feedback and correction. Master the art of managing a classroom and providing constructive feedback to help your students.

Module 11: Teaching Young Learners

Young learners require a unique approach to teaching. This module focuses on teaching young learners, covering the key differences between younger and older learners, teaching grammar and lexis, and assessing young learners.

Embrace a World of Teaching Opportunities with Our TEFL Courses

The world of English teaching awaits you, and there’s no better time than now to equip yourself with the skills to make a difference in countless lives. Our TEFL courses provide you with an understanding of teaching methodologies, classroom management techniques, and innovative lesson-planning strategies to ensure your success in the classroom.

Your journey to teaching excellence is just a click away. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – join RVF International and our community of successful TEFL graduates who are making a real impact worldwide. Enroll today and start your journey to teaching excellence!


About TEFL: Our 120-Hour Course That Helps You Teach English Abroad

About TEFL: Our 120-Hour Course That Helps You Teach English Abroad

Say hello to our exciting and informational 120-hour TEFL course, designed to equip you with all the skills you need to teach English abroad. With RVF International’s well-refined course, you’ll find yourself navigating all aspects of teaching English abroad. One day, you’ll be diving into engaging lesson plans in an interactive online classroom, and the next, you’ll be using those very skills to inspire students in a bustling city halfway across the globe.

Our course is more than just a ticket to a job — it’s a passport to adventure, a bridge between cultures, and a stepping stone to a truly rewarding career. Whether you’re a seasoned educator looking to diversify your teaching skills or a travel enthusiast seeking a meaningful way to explore the world, our TEFL course has the insight and content you need. Ready to turn the world into your classroom? Get started today with our TEFL course and learn how you can teach English in Andalucia and other locations in Spain!

Learn How to Teach English Anywhere and Anytime!

With our flexible 120-hour TEFL course, we empower you to learn how to teach English anywhere and anytime, breaking down geographical and time barriers. This course is designed to arm you with a robust understanding of the English language from wherever you want to be. Take the course at any time with the flexibility to study at your own pace. You’re free to keep up with your daily commitments while still learning valuable information.

120 Hours of Quality and Valuable Content

Immerse yourself in 120 hours of rich, in-depth content with our TEFL course. Every hour is packed with insightful lectures, interactive exercises, and practical assignments designed to give you a solid foundation in teaching English as a foreign language. From the intricacies of grammar to the art of lesson planning, our course covers all facets of teaching English, ensuring you’re well-prepared for any teaching scenario. Experienced educators carefully curate each module, ensuring every moment spent learning is valuable, engaging, and beneficial.

Boost Your Teaching Skills

Give your teaching skills a boost with our 120-hour TEFL course. Our curriculum is designed to enhance both your theoretical knowledge and practical abilities, taking your teaching prowess to the next level. You’ll embrace into the core principles of teaching English as a foreign language, master the art of classroom management, and learn how to create captivating lesson plans that inspire and engage. Plus, through interactive exercises and real-world assignments, you’ll get to apply what you’ve learned, honing your skills in a practical context.

Enhance Your Career!

Ignite your career with a TEFL certification and step into a world brimming with exciting opportunities. Whether you’re an aspiring educator or a seasoned professional, our TEFL course is your ticket to a rewarding global teaching career. It’s a golden key that unlocks doors to schools and institutions worldwide. Imagine teaching English in the bustling streets of Spain and embracing the country’s unique culture. This qualification adds a competitive edge to your resume, showcasing your commitment to professional growth and excellence in teaching. You’ll open up new doors to future teaching positions and ways to expand your skills like never before. Ready to skyrocket your career prospects? Enroll in our TEFL course today!

Enroll Now: Start Your Journey to Teach English Abroad

Ready to embark on an unforgettable journey teaching English abroad? RVF International’s 120-hour TEFL course is your passport to a world of opportunities. Master the art of teaching English, enhance your skills, and open doors to exciting teaching positions in Spain. Enroll now to become the exceptional English teacher you’re meant to be.


Tips for Teaching ESL to Kids & Teens in Spain

A guest post by Jamie from ESL Teacher 365

If you are about to start your teaching journey in Spain, or are already there and looking for some help, this blog post will cover tips for teaching both kids and teens in the Spanish classroom. Jamie is a certified US teacher who taught in Madrid, Spain for 5 years and loves sharing ideas to help other teachers.

Tips for Teaching Kids Ages 3-8

1. Establishing a Routine: Build Comfort and Confidence

Children between the ages of 3-8 thrive in environments where they can predict what comes next. Establishing a routine in your ESL classes provides a sense of security and helps build confidence among young learners.

Begin each class with familiar activities – a greeting, reviewing the calendar, or singing a specific song. Consistency in starting the class helps children understand what to expect and eases them into the learning process.

I always start with a hello song, weather song and a holiday/month themed song. We also have a calendar routine to start our day as well as the letter and number of the week which I incorporate into games.

Tip: Choose a “class leader” at the start of each class to assist with the routine, ensuring everyone gets a turn to be in this special role. Utilize name cards to keep track of whose turn it is to be the leader.

2. Plan Short, Sweet, and Engaging Activities

Young children have shorter attention spans which gradually get longer as they get older. Plan more activities than you think you’ll need and be ready to switch gears if you notice your students aren’t engaged with the activity.

I like to have a backup plan of flashcard games and worksheets on hand in case I need to change activities quickly. As the school year progresses, you’ll get an idea of your students’ favorite activities and can pull these out as needed.

Tip:  Implement “brain breaks” between activities. These short pauses might involve dances, games, or other energetic diversions that refresh and refocus young minds. Just google “brain breaks” to find some ideas.

3. The Magical World of Songs, Chants, and Dances

Music and dance are perfect for beginning language learners. Songs, chants, and dances not only make learning enjoyable, but also assist in phonetic development as children become familiar with the sounds of English. Dance is also a huge part of the Spanish culture, so most Spanish kids are willing to get up and move.

In one of my Spanish schools we used the Jolly Phonics system which includes songs and chants for all the sounds of English.

Be aware that a lot of the teaching materials in Spain are British, so if you are American or Canadian, be prepared to teach some different sounds than you are used to.

Tip: Don’t shy away from repetition. Kids often enjoy singing the same songs and repeating chants, which also reinforces learning. It’s boring for you – and you might wake up in the middle of the night with them stuck in your head – true story – but it’s great for your students.

4. Puppets and Props: Your Teaching Assistants

Puppets and props can be your allies in maintaining engagement and managing the classroom. A puppet can serve as a model for dialogues, an enforcer of calm (puppets might “hide” when the class gets too loud), and a source of fun and imagination during lessons.

My Spanish students were OBSESSED with my puppets and loved asking them questions.

Tip: Use the puppet to demonstrate conversations, role-play scenarios, and introduce new vocabulary in a context that children can relate to. Have your students repeat after the puppet and ask it questions during Circle Time.

Tips for Teaching Kids 9-12

1. Integrating Interests: Making Lessons Relatable

As children between the ages of 9-12 begin to develop a more defined sense of self and explore various interests, integrating these elements into your ESL lessons can significantly improve engagement. Whether it’s sports, video games, or popular characters, utilizing these themes in your teaching materials and activities makes the learning process more relevant and enjoyable for the students.

Tip: An example of this would be using popular characters like Pokémon to practice comparatives and superlatives in a fun and familiar context. Spanish students really love soccer (football to them) and I recommend asking your students what their favorite tv shows, books, cartoons and characters are.

2. Pair and Group Activities: Fostering Cooperation and Social Skills

Encourage cooperative learning through pair and group activities. This not only aids in language acquisition through peer interaction but also helps develop vital social and cooperation skills. Be mindful of the competitive elements within activities, ensuring they are healthy and supportive, as children in this age group can be very sensitive to losing.

From my experience teaching in Spanish classrooms, Spanish kids LOVE to play games, compete against one another and participate in high-energy activities. While of course this may not be true of every student, in general planning large group and pair activities worked well. Do be aware that class sizes may be large and you may need permission to move desks. When the weather was nice, I often got permission to take my students outside for group activities.

Tip: Begin to integrate more reading and writing activities at this age, utilizing printed words or sentences that they can manipulate and engage with during activities. I like using Canva to print out words, sentences and pictures and most of my schools had a way to laminate these papers so they would last longer. Just ask your secretary or school admin!

3. Realia: Bringing the Real World into the Classroom

Incorporate realia – real objects and materials – into your lessons to make the English language more tangible and relatable for students. Utilizing newspapers, advertisements, everyday objects, and songs not only enriches the learning experience but also provides a practical context for language use. This also allows students to learn through their 5 senses.

Tip: When teaching abroad, bring items from your home country to share with your students, offering them a glimpse into different cultures and lifestyles. One of my favorite units was the clothing unit. I always brought in some clothes and students had a fashion show where they had to create a look and critique other looks using phrases we had previously practiced. Get creative!

4. Celebrate Progress: The Power of Praise

Maintaining motivation can be challenging as children grow, so it’s important to celebrate their progress and efforts. Provide positive feedback and ensure that the learning environment is one where making mistakes is seen as an opportunity to learn.

Tip: Regularly acknowledge and praise students’ efforts and achievements, reinforcing their motivation to learn and participate.

Tips for Teaching Teens 13-17

1. Respect and Relevance: Acknowledging the Emerging Adult

Teens are navigating a pivotal time in their development, exploring their identity, and forming their points of view. Ensure that your ESL teaching approach respects their growing autonomy and seeks to make lessons relevant to their experiences, interests, and future aspirations.

At some of the Spanish schools I worked at, teen students were preparing Cambridge and Trinity English examinations. I pulled out small groups of students to work on the speaking part of the test and in these exams they are often asked to give opinions and answer questions. Some may feel overwhelmed when answering these questions because they haven’t developed their own opinions yet, so provide opportunities in class to develop this.

Tip: Debates and activities where students make choices based on different scenarios allow your students not only to practice their language skills, but also to develop their own values and opinions.

2. Empower Students Through Responsibility

Provide opportunities for teens to take on responsibilities within the class, such as leading activities, peer teaching, or managing certain aspects of the class. This not only empowers them, but also fosters leadership and organizational skills.

When appropriate, you can pair weaker and stronger students together, but I don’t recommend doing this all the time.

Tip: Assign different roles during group activities, jigsaw readings, debates and projects. Rotate these roles so everyone has a chance to be a leader.

3. Project-based Learning

In Spanish schools, you may be teaching other subjects such as Physical Education, Art, Science, Social Studies or even Philosophy – just in English. This creates opportunities to improve your students’ language skills through content-based projects.

Science projects were a huge hit with this age group and they didn’t even seem to notice that they were communicating in English with one another.

Tip: Teaching isn’t one size fits all. Offer students the option to complete projects in pairs, small groups or independently.

4. Encourage Self-Expression

Create a safe and supportive environment where teens feel comfortable expressing their opinions and ideas in English. To create this kind of environment, you need to get to know your students on an individual level and show them that it’s ok to make mistakes.

I like to pull out my students one at a time each quarter to have an informal chat about how they are liking my classes and their learning goals. You can have the rest of the class work on a reading, etc. while you conduct interviews.

Tip: If you notice that a student is feeling or acting  “off” during a lesson, pull them aside after class to chat. Do not do this during class as it can be embarrassing for the student. If you are teaching in Spain as a language assistant, work with your co-teacher to address any issues.

Teaching ESL to kids and teens in Spain involves understanding the distinct needs, interests, and challenges of each age group. If you are a new teacher, ask if you can observe a veteran teacher at your school.

Teaching in Spain means teaching in a different education system and culture. Bring some of your own experience and ideas into your classroom, but remember to be open-minded and flexible. Happy teaching!

About the author:


Jamie Gajewski is a US educator who taught in three different schools in Madrid, Spain between 2010-2016. She currently teaches online from Australia and helps TEFL teachers start their own teaching journeys. You can check out her YouTube channel ESL Teacher 365 for more resources and tips for TEFL teachers.