Teaching English as Second Language (ESL) is very much in demand these days thanks to the international reach of English and the huge demand for the language in different parts of the world. However, many of the classrooms where ESL teaching is done are in countries where the language has hardly penetrated. There are intensely challenging situations for teachers to face. So, here are some ESL teaching tips that can make language learning fun as well as highly effective.
1. Divide students into groups. Team work is a very effective way of learning languages because children interact spontaneously. It also keeps boredom at bay. Keep groups small so that each child gets sufficient opportunities for self expression.
2. Encourage students to read aloud. This allows teachers to check pronunciation. Also, students are more likely to pay attention to other students than to the teacher and so they learn faster.
3. Check whether the student has understood what was taught by asking them to explain concepts to you. Besides being highly interactive, such sessions also allow students to come out of their shell.
4. One of the most important and perhaps the toughest aspects of ESL is pronunciation. Foreign learners find it very difficult to pronounce English like a native speaker. Teachers must take special care to establish the right pronunciation, whenever possible. Model the word yourself and ask children to repeat after you. Stress placement and syllables are easily learnt this way. It is also a great way of bringing in some change when children are bored with regular exercises.
5. Allow students to talk to each other by minimizing the teacher’s talking time in class. The more children start using the language, so much better will their grasp on the language.
6. Make learning fun by encouraging students to guess the answers even when they are unsure of what needs to be done. Also, each time you drop a clue, you are teaching them more ways of expressing themselves.
7. When students make mistakes, allow them some time to correct themselves. If they realize they have made a mistake, they will try and rectify it even if it takes some time. If possible, correct their mistakes anonymously. You can do this by making a note of the mistake and introducing it in class a while later.
8. ESL teaching requires teachers to monitor students on an ongoing basis. One of the easiest ways to monitor progress is to allow students to take the lead. Sit at the back of the class and allow children to ask questions, hold discussions and so on.
Learning a new language is a lot like learning how to ride a bike. It requires a lot of practice and it is likely that you keep falling off a number of times before you get the hang of it. Once you learn to ride the bike though, it becomes instinctive and comes without having to think about it.