4 tips for making your ESL teaching easier and more fun!
Always give clear guidelines
When teaching a course, Fiona Savage says one should always give clear guidelines to students at the beginning. These should include not only what course work is expected from students, but also the teacher’s expectations as to attendance, punctuality, homework, etc. This will help prevent misunderstandings and problems later.
Always have a lesson plan
There is nothing worse than being unprepared, says Michele Bowman. Some people may be able to do lessons “off the cuff” after years of teaching –however, even these people probably have some kind of lesson plan jotted down some where.
Always have a backup plan
You never know what’s going to go wrong and when, especially in adult programs! Fiona Savage suggests always having a spare exercise or language game up your sleeve. She also suggests preparing more materials than you strictly need for a lesson, as it is sometimes unpredictable how fast a class will work from day to day.
Rick Rosenberg keeps a short-duration activity file on hand at all times, for this reason. His file includes two lists of riddles and answers (students memorize one part and move around the room to find the person with the matching riddle or answer). He also keeps a password-like game called “Just-a-Minute” (by Elizabeth Claire) handy, with his own adaptation of it with vocabulary the class is working on, and a packet of short interesting articles about topics of interest to students.
He keeps this file on hand to reinforce the language or activities of the class, or as something to fall back on if he sees the students want a break or a change of pace.
Use real language
Have students study the language that is going on around them. Janice Higdon has her students take Ipod recorders with them to the workplace, stores, restaurants, etc. and bring language samples into class to study. She also has them bring in written items or forms which they must work with in their jobs or with government agencies.
Using the language the students find, she develops situations for role-playing about restaurants, stores, banks or other business and social situations.