Alumni Spotlight: Frances Harmey

Frances Wilden is a 52 year old Australian teaching in indigenous communities in Australia's north. She came into teaching late, after 20 years as a journalist and five years ago decided to try teaching in remote communities. Students in these communities have very strong culture and they're learning English as a third, fourth or even fifth language. It's challenging but very rewarding and she has to bring every ounce of creativity she can muster to my job. The TEFL course she completed through ITTT saved Frances from having to go back to a university course and she thinks it has been much more practical than anything else she could have done. Frances plans to do some overseas work soon.

Frances Harmey

Why did you decide to get TEFL Certified with ITTT?

Frances: I wanted an online course that could fit around my life and after a bit of research, ITTT looked the best. I phoned and had a helpful conversation so signed up straight away. It was easy and well organized from the beginning. It came with DVDs which gave me some visual assistance. I really wanted one to one contact and my tutor was fabulous from the start.

How did this TEFL Course impact your teaching experience?

Frances: I'm a trained teacher and a journalist but the TEFL course was a great grammar refresher for me and in a form that allowed me to see the lessons from the students' perspective. It gave me lots of resources as well as ideas for teaching. I think it improved my teaching practices (I've only been teaching for 6 years) and made me reflect on different ways in which I could engage students.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering an Online TEFL Course?

Frances: Be disciplined about reading the course material and completing the activities straight away. Applying the new knowledge immediately helps it stay with you longer. Keep organized notes – I have referred to mine over and over again since completing the course.

Anything else you would like to share?

Frances: Teaching Indigenous students in Australia is slightly different to most other situations but I have found that tactile activities are the most successful. Games and activities where students have to manually match up cards, walk around the room, move from chair to chair seem to work well and are great for engagement. From the course I took away a good understanding that the initial engagement activity must help students see the relevance of what they're learning. Then they're more motivated to get involved.