When combining students who can barely understand English with teachers who know nothing of their language, teaching English as a second language to students can be daunting. Even experienced and skilled teachers need a strong level of patience to teach ESL or English to beginners.
Nevertheless, it is possible to teach students English, even if it is not their native language. It is a difficult process but ultimately becomes a rewarding experience. Just as with any other subject, every student learns at his or her own pace and level. Therefore, teachers should adapt their English teaching process to suit each student’s learning habits, ensuring that everyone gets the most from their class.
To help you succeed and improve the English learning proficiency of your students, we have listed the top 10 tips to follow in the process.
But first thing’s first, you need to have the right qualifications. You are likely a native English speaker, but that does not necessarily mean you are qualified to teach the language. If you’re serious about becoming an English teacher, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline. You also need a TEFL certification, which is a Master’s in TESOL or TEFL. Once you have completed your certification, you can either teach students online or embark on your new teaching career–locally or internationally.
Now, let’s dive into what you can do to speed up your student’s English-learning progress:
- Keep instructions clear and simple.
- Let them listen first.
- Use plenty of visuals.
- Always make sure that your students understand the concepts.
- Start speaking with your students in English.
- Establish English as the classroom language early on.
- Make English teaching fun.
Keep instructions clear and simple
Most teachers can’t resist the temptation of explaining the course outline and activities with polite filler words. After all, nobody expects their teachers to be rude. However, a student who only knows just a few words of English won’t appreciate it or even understand it. Instead, deliver clear and easy-to-understand instructions, using as few words as possible (you can also use gestures if needed). To show politeness, use simple words, such as “please,” “pardon,” and “thank you.” You can also use common phrases, such as, “Hello everyone!” “How are you doing?” “Take your book, please,” and “Please give me your worksheets.”
Let them listen first
Students will likely start speaking English from day one. However, it takes some time for people to familiarize themselves with a foreign language. Also, a lot of students won’t be interested in speaking at all. For those students, don’t pressure them into talking. Instead, tell them to listen to you actively. They will have plenty of opportunities to practice speaking.
Use plenty of visuals
Using visuals is one of the best and compelling ways to teach any subject, including a second language. Visuals can be physical objects in the class (such as books and chairs), or they can be shown on a computer screen or projector. By using visuals, your students can see the objects and learn their English translation. You can also make your own visuals, such as cue cards or a vocabulary tree with words to help students expand their vocabulary.
Always check your students for understanding
One significant mistake most English teachers make is assuming that every student has understood the lessons or classroom instructions. In countries that don’t follow Western teaching methods, students may not raise their hands, even if they don’t understand something. They are embarrassed to admit in front of their classmates that they don’t understand because they feel that they are less smart. Because of this, they remain silent.
Teachers need to study their students’ body language, so they can figure out what the students understood about the lessons. Plus they should ask the students questions such as, “Okay, can anyone explain to me what I have explained in a few words?” Students will let you know subtly or directly whether they’ve grasped the concepts or not.
Start speaking with your students In English
If you’re serious about your students learning and speaking English quickly, you should have regular conversations with them in the language. Most students can’t learn or speak English fluently because they struggle to break the mental barrier of testing their language skills.
Speaking the language as soon as possible helps them overcome shyness and talk confidently. You may have guided students through numerous vocabulary exercises, teaching grammar lessons and theories for weeks. Still, you won’t get any benefits unless you encourage them to speak English with you and other students in the class.
Most students learning English have a hard time finding someone to practice their English speaking skills with in conversation. Luckily, thanks to the internet and popularity of online English learning, it has never been easier to practice your English speaking skills. One of the most commonly used options is English Tutor. You can choose from over 10,000 English tutors, who are ready to chat with students and offer English tuition over webcams. Not only is this highly effective, but it also offers the students undivided attention, allowing them an uninterrupted speaking session with a native speaker or expert English teacher in the comfort of their homes.
Establish English as the classroom language early on
You need to establish a medium of instruction when you’re teaching English to beginners. Encourage your students to ask you questions in English, and respond to answers in English as well. Regardless of how cooperative and friendly you are towards your students, and regardless of how learner-friendly your classroom atmosphere is, students and teachers alike can find the experience overwhelming. Because of this, even you may find that you are not entirely following what is going on. Therefore, you should establish the classroom language as English early on to accelerate the English learning progress.
Make English teaching fun and less boring
It’s already daunting enough to teach a foreign language, and even more so when doing that for hours. Teaching for extended periods will not only bore you and your students but also make learning English less enjoyable. To ensure that your students aren’t bored out of their minds and eagerly waiting to get out of the class as soon as they hear the bell, do your best to make your lessons as fun and engaging as possible. Ask your students what they’re interested in, and incorporate those interests into the learning process. For example, if they like movies or any specific TV series, you can have them watch or reenact the movie in Spanish.
Learning English is not simply about attending classes. To accelerate English learning, students should surround themselves with English by interacting with others in the language, living in an English-based environment, and thinking to themselves in English. If you want your students to learn English quickly, some of these definitive techniques will help them progress.