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How Do I Teach ESL? A Teacher's Checklist -by J. Reese Cermak
Summary : As an ESL teacher, you have a keen interest in helping your students to advance their English language skills. You already have your training, talent and experience and, now, you're looking for...
As an ESL teacher, you have a keen interest in helping your students to advance their English language skills. You already have your training, talent and experience and, now, you're looking for a few helpful hints and resources that you can draw upon to make the most of your ESL training programs. Here is a list of helpful tips on how to succeed as an ESL teacher. Give yourself a check mark for each of the following things that you are already doing.
It sounds like such a silly thing to write about here but, in fact, it isn't. Many teachers (and I am sure you can a remember a few) forget how important 'positive energy' can be. Good vibes lead to good feelings, which, in turn lead to a positive attitude towards you as a teacher and the material learned in your classes.
2. Use Good Learning Materials
ESL learning materials need to be five things: useful, intellectually challenging, accurate, interesting and relevant.
You know, yourself, that there is nothing worse than trying to work with learning materials that are out of touch with students' needs and the world, itself. If you think a book lacks substance, is boring or out-of-date, get rid of it. Through the years, you will know the books that are on your 'taboo' list and will faithfully use your handful of favorite and proven materials. In the meantime, do your research. Ask friends, co-workers and refer to internet blogs and websites for recommended learning materials.
3. Supplement Textbooks with Fun Materials
There are many ways to jazz up an ESL course. Supplement your trusty textbooks with newspaper and magazine articles on discussion-worthy topics. Work through the articles in advance and, then, let the students take turns reading them out loud. Then, discuss the contents together. Interactive computer software, online English courses and internet websites such as ESL blogs can also liven up an ESL class. You can discuss the content of a blog, for example, at the beginning of each class and use it as a basis for discussion. Good ESL games can make language learning fun for ESL learners of all ages. Moreover, they turn passive learners into active learners, which really boosts the learning process. And what about films? Films have always been regarded as special treats for students. They can be short, e.g. youtube clips - or longer. A class can watch them, analyze and discuss them. All of these supplemental activities can bring an ESL class to life and enable you to do the next thing on this list.
4. Open the Lines of Communication
Avoid lecture-style lessons and provide plenty of opportunity for discussion. Discussion not only facilitates practice; it also allows you to get to know your students better, thus making it easier for you to tailor the course to their needs. Leave time for this in every class.
5. Accept that You Don't Know Everything
You can't know everything. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. If a student asks you a question that you can't answer, compliment him on the excellent question. After all, if it is good enough to stump you, it must be something worth taking a look at. Go home, research the question and come back the next day ready to discuss it.
6. Invest in Yourself
Stay up-to-date in terms of your own skills. Not only should you take every opportunity to advance your own educational skills but you should also be sure to stay up-to-date on current trends and affairs. Read when you can. Talk to others when you can. If you know what's happening in the world, in particular in the world of your students, you can relate much better to them and facilitate a better learning environment.
Could you give yourself six check marks? I hope so; but, if not, you know the areas that you can improve on.
J. Reese Cermak has been an ESL teacher for more than ten years in Switzerland and Germany, writes an English idioms daily blog at http://www.english-idioms.com, and is a publisher of ESL learning materials at http://www.prolexika.com
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