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Guide to Coaching Extra-Curricular Activities for ESL Students

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    Guide to Coaching Extra-Curricular Activities for ESL Students

    Guide to Coaching Extra-Curricular Activities for ESL Students
    Admin - Nov 30 2016

    Extra-curricular activities are those done for enrichment purposes rather than academic credit. Undoubtedly, extra-curricular activities are the premier supplement to student knowledge learned in the classroom. They are especially valuable to ESL students beginning their journey towards the mastery of the English language. The availability of these activities, ranging from before school to after school, and even on weekends, provides ample opportunities for participation. A diverse skillset, from workplace skills to social abilities, are mastered through such practices. In addition, activities outside of school help promote time management skills that could be applied in future career-oriented settings. All in all, there are tremendous benefits to extra-curricular activities, and it is crucial, particularly for those taking ESL classes, to get involved. As teachers, it is in our students’ best interest for us to effectively guide them through the plethora of extra-curricular options available.

    Spelling Bee

    Although spellcheck has made spelling moot for the most part, vocabulary remains an essential component in linguistics. Vocabulary is the foundation of any language. As such, it mandates the learning of some basic terms for all who seek to learn the English language. There is no better option of doing that than through participation in a spelling bee. The contest not only encourages participants to learn the spelling of words, but they are also required to learn definitions and pronunciations as well. For beginners, it would be wise to have students learn common words that do not break too many common spelling rules (I before E, except after C), and progressively increase the difficulty as they gain experience. In addition, writing down definition of words will help learners expand their English knowledge.


    Speech Contest

    Social anxiety is prevalent among the general population. This especially holds true for those first learning a foreign language. Speech contests serve well to alleviate these tensions. Encourage students to write speeches with words they are comfortable with. They should use previous knowledge along with any pertinent terms learned in recent units. Then tie it all together with some recitation. Practice. Practice. Practice. Have students practice in front of each other and in front of a mirror at home. Rehearsal helps contestants become comfortable in their own skin and enables them to practice pronunciation. Through such an exercise students will undoubtedly become more adept at verbal communication.



    Drama Club

    Similarly, the drama club can help ESL students emerge from their shells. Expressions are key to communication. They allow us to better understand one another. In a similar vein, joining the drama club will facilitate learning of facial expressions associated with common phrases. It would allow learners the ability to practice a range of emotions and connect them to associated sayings. When teaching beginners, exaggeration of facial expressions is crucial to aid in the remembering and recalling process. For example, with the phrase “Oh my god!”, be sure to embellish the shock on your face when demonstrating. Thereafter, students should be given the opportunity to act out various phrases and sayings. Hands-on learning is often the most valuable tool at a teacher’s disposal.


    Peer Tutoring

    It is true, there is no better way to learn than to teach. Teaching is an extremely effective technique used to reinforce what has been learned. Not only that, but it also improves communication capabilities. It allows the student being taught to ask relevant questions, and in turn, the tutor must respond appropriately to the question present to him or her. When overseeing peer tutoring, it is important to try and limit your presence as a teacher. Do not interfere unless absolutely needed to. It would only be detrimental. By allowing students to solve problems on their own, they become independent learners who are well-suited to succeed in the world outside of the classroom. For example, the interpersonal skills learned through peer tutoring could be applied in a job interview setting.


    Debate Team

    It’s no secret, coherent articulation of thoughts is the basis for effective communication. Debate teams serve well to develop these skills. Providing a variety of topics will allow students to broaden their thinking and explore issues in novel ways. After all, the entire process of learning English is about acquiring new skills. Moreover, the importance of logical thinking can’t be understated. It is a useful platform for individual in all facets of life.However,an ESL beginner may have trouble forming words out of their ideas. Debating is a good exercise to force students to organize their thoughts and then verbally present ideas on a topic. When moderating a debate team, teachers should encourage open discussion and promote all schools of thought. Remember, an engaged student is one who is best equipped to learn.



    Physical Activities

    Often, academics take priority at the detriment of physical activity. However, a healthy body is paramount to being able to learn efficiently. Blood flow to the brain greatly aids in storing, retaining, and retrieving information. Therefore, extra-curricular programs involving physical activities are important for all students. It is recommended that children should get at least one hour of exercise everyday. In addition to promoting health, sports also facilitate the development of teamwork skills. These are abilities that transfer over well to a workplace environment. Moreover, the long-term commitments required to play in a team setting help develop self-discipline within students. Last but not least, the self-esteem players acquire enables them to be more confident in the classroom, and leads to better academic results.




    There are countless benefits to engaging in extra-curricular activities outside of school. Exploring diverse interests helps students better understand themselves and discover new opportunities in life. They become better equipped to handle unexpected occurrences and develop the skills to be prepared for anything life throws their way. In addition to the myriad of benefits extra-curricular activities offer, they look great on school and job applications. It is a small step towards ensuring our children’s success, but one worth taking. In the end, we want our students to be well-rounded individuals, and extra-curricular activities are ideal for accomplishing that.

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