Learning English as a second language can be a harrowing experience for students of all ages. As one of the most difficult languages to become fluent in, English represents a steep hurdle for children and adults alike. When setting out to learn English, the right teacher can make all the difference. The ability to guide students through tricky lessons and communicate complex material in simple terms is sure to serve any English language educator well. However, for teachers who are still finding their footing, teaching English may seem like an arduous undertaking. Budding English teachers who want to set the stage for their students’ success should put the following pointers to good use.
Emphasize Hands-On Learning
When studying a new language, many students benefit from hands-on learning. While repetition and note-taking still play a vital role in ESL studies, they’re no substitute for exercises that require students’ direct participation. There are many different types of hands-on exercises, but students acting out various skits and scenarios is arguable the most common. Such scenarios include buying groceries, going to the post office and placing orders at restaurants. Performing these skits gives students a solid grasp of day-to-day English use and increases the odds of retention. Fortunately, many high-quality ELL resources contain materials that pertain directly to hands-on learning.
Engage in Daily Language Drills
As any seasoned language student can attest, repetition is a big part of studying foreign languages. Repetition is vital to retention, and retention is vital to fluency. With this in mind, every ESL class should include daily language drills. For example, at the beginning of each class, take care to ask your students a series of questions in English. These questions should be relatively mundane in nature. “How are you feeling today?,” “What did you do last night?” and “Do you have any plans for later?” are among the most common examples. Answering these questions may prove difficult for students early on, but within weeks, offering solid responses to these queries should come as second nature.
Be Mindful of Your Pacing
As previously stated, English is a difficult language to learn fluently. While it may be tempting to breeze through the course material as quickly as possible, this approach is not conducive to retention or comprehension. This is why it’s important for teachers to be mindful of their pacing and avoid the temptation to move on to new lessons before previous lessons have been fully digested by the class. Repeatedly reviewing the same material may seem cumbersome, but it will ultimately strengthen your students’ grasp of the English language.
Studying English as a second language is no cakewalk. Both children and adult learners frequently struggle with the various complexities and inconsistencies synonymous with the English language. This is where knowledgeable educators enter the equation. While students bear their fair share of individual responsibility, it’s a teacher’s job to simplify the material and guide learners through complex lessons. Luckily, with the aid of the previously discussed tips, helping your students achieve success in their pursuit of the English language doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.