English as the Second Language (ESL) class is about teaching English to those who have other languages as their primary spoken language. In a 2000 United States survey, it showed that about 10 % of the population do not speak English as fluent as other may be. Aside from that, there are also families whose main primary language at home is not English.
With these statistics, it would be very important to back these lagging students with some necessary language courses and programs. Today, high school and primary education already have ESL classes that can be offered with their foreign students.
If you are teaching ESL, then here are some important tips or suggestions that you could use for your next class:
• For them to understand you, you do not have to speak louder. They are not deaf, they are not just as fluent as you are with English. Speak slowly, clearly and with distinct sounds.
• To correct pronunciations, teach them how each sound is created, the proper position of lips, tongue and teeth for each sound. It would be better if they would speak slower first so that they would be more understandable. As they increase their ability, they could increase their speech pace too.
• Grammar can be very difficult and complex. Even fluent speakers would have problems or misses with grammar. You can use numerous methods that would easily help them understand, like reading newspapers, watching ESL programs, role-playing, writing short narrative and actual conversations.
• Encourage your students to participate or ask questions or clarify some points that they do not understand. If you think your students are not confident enough to raise questions in front of the class, you can explore other methods. Before your class ends, ask them to write points that they do not understand or their questions. Make these questions the starting point for your next class.
• To emphasize on a specific point or make sure that students will be taking notice of important parts of the discussion, make them understand that what you are saying should be noted.
• When learning a new language, being exposed to it as much is possible is important. It would help in speeding up their language understanding and being articulate. You can encourage your students to participate in social activities that would allow them to be surrounded with English speakers.
• Show some energy when teaching. Move around the room, use different gestures. Just make sure that your gestures would match the words that you are using. Do not be afraid to be funny and make fun of yourself once in a while.
• Positive reinforcement works with everybody. Acknowledge their improvements, compliment them with their developments.
If you are teaching a beginner, then it would best to expose your students to different voices speaking the English language. This would make them exposed to different kinds of accents and recognize English words easily. There are games that can encourage shy and reluctant students to share their thoughts.
Teaching formal English responses can be boring and dreadful for some students. You can introduce slang terms and responses that they would normally hear in public places. This would make your students acquainted with language that they would frequently encounter.
As a teacher, you would need to adapt to your students level and ability. Some teachers would have a checklist where they would be able to monitor their students’ development. This would allow instructors to improve or suit their teaching methods to their students’ interest, ability and capacity. Learn from your students too. Allow yourself to learn too. Student should learn from teachers and teachers learn from their students.