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June 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 3

ISSN 1755-9715

How to Navigate in an EFL Class with Just Pen and Paper?

Ozge Ozgen has been working as an English instructor at Foundation Universities in Turkey for 20 years. She is currently an instructor at Ozyegin University. She is interested in Reflective Teaching and Intercultural Communication. She holds an MA degree in English Language Teaching and a certificate in Teacher Education. Email:

Call it generation Y, Z or Millennials (are we perfectly aware of the distinction among them?), as a language instructor, our job has never been so profoundly overwhelming on top of other teaching and non-teaching duties. These are the times we feel far from zealous. I use the term ‘we’ deliberately hoping that this motive behind our common conception might be empathized by other ELT practitioners, as well. Below are the possible constraints which make us feel this way:

  • if you are an EFL instructor like me, who are accustomed to teaching students having almost no opportunity to interact outside the class and improve their spoken language abilities, other than a classroom environment,
  • despite the adequate physical setting of the whole university in terms of educational and academic resources, students seem more reluctant to proceed their self-studies than ever,
  • whether in a flipped class or by adopting the most-student centered, eclectic approach to give them the utmost freedom to express their views and opinions and enhance meaningful learning experiences among them, they are more absorbed into their mobile devices than ever,
  • in spite of creating a positive learning atmosphere where students feel the minimum peer pressure and appreciate the teacher’s guidance as a facilitator, some of the students still feel unenthusiastic,
  • due to lacking sufficient study skills from their prior educational background, to some extent, they feel lost or unprepared and therefore are unable to fully participate to the lessons,
  • having a hectic schedule so as to follow the requirements of the curriculum, attend weekly meetings, arrange office hours & tutorials to help our students as much as possible, not to mention contemplating the needs and concerns of your students and the upcoming lesson even at home,
  • last but not the least is dealing with Z generation and their needs and the constant battle an instructor will eventually confront is: should I adjust myself and design my lesson plan according to their limited attention span of 7-10 seconds, or expect them to retain knowledge longer than this period of time, which their former counterparts were capable of doing in the last decade or so, which make you feel more resentful at the end of the day?

Undoubtedly, as we are still striving to find our way and balance in our own learning and teaching contexts, these could be the potential issues which need to be addressed not in the short run obviously, but in the upcoming years in order to win generation Z.



Preville, P. (2018), How to Teach Generation Z in the Classroom?

Brech, J. (2013), Shorter Attention Span: The Impact of Technology on Our Brains. › shorter-attention-span-technology.


Please check the Practical uses of Technology in the English Classroom course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Methodology and Language for Primary course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Methodology and Language for Secondary course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Teaching Advanced Students course at Pilgrims website.

Tagged Voices 
  • On the Teaching of English in Matanzas Province, Cuba: Memories
    Rolando Víctor Ramos Roque, Cuba

  • How to Navigate in an EFL Class with Just Pen and Paper?
    Ozge Ozgen, Turkey