7 ESL Teaching Tips for Getting Your Students in the Learning Zone:
1. Learn Your Roles and Duties :
Teaching ESL can make for a demanding career. You have to learn your duties, responsibilities and everyday chores. If you’re unsure, speak to the director of the school or language institute you work at. Consult with the more experienced teachers who are working there. Get to know the premises, the equipment and the materials you’re expected to use.
Talk to colleagues, read relevant websites and visit teacher forums or blogs so that possible questions you have about your role can all be answered.
2. Be Realistic but Ambitious :
You always want to be ambitious and get your students to learn even more information. You want to challenge them and really push them to do their absolute best.
However, you’ll need to strike a careful balance here. Get to know your learners and their ages, backgrounds, skills, English levels and learning styles. From there, try to be realistic. What kinds of activities, tasks and learning goals can you set for them so that their language skills are significantly strengthened?
These learning goals need to be both ambitious and realistic. Always set high goals for them so that they’ll gain more knowledge and self-confidence. By setting high goals that are still realistically within their reach, you’ll set them up for sure success. This taste of progress will motivate them to learn even more.
3. Motivate Your Learners:
Knowing how to really motivate your students is undeniably important for a good classroom experience. Learning anything new, let alone learning something as complex as a foreign language, is a process which demands serious time and effort.
No matter the age of your students (young children, teenagers, young adults or adults), motivation is key to success.
You’ll have to tap into their needs and desires. Why do they want to learn English? Do they need to communicate for job purposes or do they want to enroll in universities in English-speaking countries? Do they need to sit for exams to earn certificates?
They might be too young to know their extrinsic motives and, in this case, learning games will be essential for teaching them English. Winning games gives them rewards for their learning, which gives them a tangible reason to keep learning.
All these details are important to take into consideration before you start planning your lessons. If you don’t focus your English lessons on something that really matter to them, then it might be hard to keep motivation levels up.
4. Create a Supportive Learning Climate:
Students need a safe and supportive learning environment, especially when they’re learning a foreign language.
Practising a language out loud might expose their weaknesses to their peers and teachers. This might make them hesitate to speak in front of everyone and really hone their language skills.
As their teacher, it’s your responsibility to create a supportive climate in which they can learn, practice and flourish without fear. While you’ll need to draw attention to certain language errors, you can’t be too critical or judgmental. Under no circumstances should you have an ironic or discouraging tone!
For effective language learning to take place, students need to feel secure and encouraged to go further.
5. Improve Your Classroom Management Techniques:
Time management and classroom management. Surely, you’re familiar with these two basic notions.
But how are they accomplished in an ESL environment?
It’s important to manage your classes and deal with possible problems of naughtiness or lack of discipline. However, remember that students who are interested in the lesson probably won’t be causing any real problems.
The more challenging, engaging and fun your lessons are, the fewer discipline problems you’re going to face. For this reason, remember to actively include all your learners in the lessons and, of course, take their various learning styles into consideration.
For instance, your kinesthetic learners will tend to get bored and restless easily if asked to stay in the same place all the time. If your problem students are high-energy fidgeters who want to run around all the time, add some physical games to your lesson plan to channel that energy towards learning.
6. Use Your Imagination, Creativity and Instincts:
Okay, you’ve prepared your lesson plan but the tasks you’ve designed seem a little stiff, inappropriate and unimaginative for your learners’ level or needs. Perhaps they seem too basic or too cliché. This is all too common.
What can you do at this point? Well, redesign!
Why not follow a more creative path instead of following the traditional path? Conventional teaching methodology will be well within your comfort zone, but it can be rather unchallenging for your students. Shake things up!
This can actually be applied to any language skill (listening, speaking, writing or reading). Shake up your lesson, get multimedia materials involved, talk about a popular culture that everyone loves, let students express themselves and play with language. Your students will have fun but also benefit from the experience as well.
7. Be Authentic:
Twenty or thirty years ago, ESL teachers didn’t have the multitude and range of resources and materials that we have today. Technology has undeniably assisted us in this area. At the click of a button or the tap of a touchscreen, we can explore thousands of textbooks, worksheets, lesson plans, games, activities and PowerPoint presentations. We can share our most successful materials with one another, expanding the reach of our knowledge and building upon each other’s experiences.
However, the great number of available resources and material can confuse and disorient us. What should we choose and how do we know when the given material or resource is appropriate for our learners?
Do your research, visit trusted sites, talk to other colleagues and come up with the best material and resources that you feel will fit your learners in the best possible way. Oh, and you can always check out what we post here at FluentU. Our blogs are filled with hand-picked resource recommendations from across the internet.
Don’t forget that you’re teaching a foreign language that, in most cases, isn’t spoken as a first language in your learners’ communities or households. As a result, you’ll need to include authentic material that will familiarize your students with the language they are taught.
Nowadays, we ESL educators definitely can’t complain about struggling to find authentic material. The Internet has given us thousands of convenient solutions to this problem. We can dive into websites, videos, films, song lyrics, online magazines, video games or even social media.
The FluentU language learning program is loaded with its own collection of authentic English video content. FluentU takes real-world videos-like music videos, movie trailers, news, cartoons and inspiring talks-and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. Say “goodbye” to spending hours searching for good videos on YouTube and say “hello” to focusing on actually teaching your students.
The general objectives of teaching English in Saudi Arabia according to the new curriculum document published in 2017 aims for the students to be able to:
1. develop their intellectual, personal and professional abilities.
2. acquire basic language skills in order to communicate with the speakers of English Language.
3. acquire the linguistic competence necessarily required in various life situations.
4. acquire the linguistic competence required in different professions.
5. develop their awareness of the importance of English as a means of international communication.
6. develop positive attitudes towards learning English.
7. develop the linguistic competence that enables them to be aware of the cultural, economic and social issues of their society in order to contribute in giving solutions.
8. develop the linguistic competence that enables them, in the future, to present and explain the Islamic concepts and issues and participate in spreading Islam.
9. develop the linguistic competence that enables them, in the future, to present the culture and civilization of their nation.
10. benefit from English speaking nations, in order to enhance the concepts of international cooperation that develop understanding and respect of cultural differences among nations.
11. acquire the linguistic bases that enable them to participate in transferring the scientific and technological advances of other nations to their nation.
12. develop the linguistic basis that enables them to present and explain the Islamic concepts and issues and participate in the dissemination of them.
Educational standards covered in this WebQuests:
1- Recognize the main idea and supporting details (literal comprehension skill).
2- Read for gist (literal skill).
3- Read for detailed information (Literal comprehension skill).
4- Identify importance save money.
5- Create an article and conduct an interview about the ways of saving money.
6- Use advanced thinking skills such as evaluation, synthesis, and analysis.
7- Develop their collaborative learning skills through group work.
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