Tips for Teaching ESL to Adults

Tips for Teaching ESL to Adults
Education, employment, recreation, and leisure have all gone global. People of different nationalities, in an attempt to seek greener pastures, now seek employment overseas. Even students do the same as well. Students who can afford to be enrolled in a prestigious school often leave their home countries to study, as many believe that this would present greater opportunities for them in the future. Also, many people nowadays resort to overseas travels to be able to relax and have a good time. As a whole, these situations indicate that, in the past few decades, globalization has grown significantly. As a result, many people seek the help of English instructors to be able speak and understand English – the Universal Language. In addition, the majority of these non-native English speakers are adults, which is why more and more English instructors adapt to teaching methods that are suitable for adults who come from various countries and cultures.
ESL instructors for adults must be aware of the fact that the learning patterns of an adult slightly differ from that of a child. An average adult, according to research, is expected to be self-directed and must have a set of goals ready for learning a particular subject. These two factors alone imply that the adult ESL teaching methods are slightly different from those methods that are intended for young learners. In addition, the learning environment and the lessons should be formal and systematized. Since the demand for ESL lessons should be more focused on adult learning, here are some of the things to keep in mind while teaching:
Try to know each student’s needs and preferences first, and do your best to motivate the student by giving him/her challenging activities that he/she is capable of doing. An instructor should be able to determine the appropriate level of difficulty that a particular student can handle.
Be creative when presenting lessons. Although adult ESL lessons should be formal and systematized, an instructor could still use videos, music and other forms of media related to the lessons.
Keep in mind that instructors should be able to encourage good performance in class, as well as positive behavior so that the students could easily recall what they have learned in the previous lessons. This also means that, somehow, it is the instructor’s responsibility to help students by providing activities and exercises that would encourage them to think and recall what they have learned from class before.
The lessons that the students learned should eventually be incorporated in a new setting other than the classroom. It is crucial for the instructor to keep this in mind as well.
There are various barriers involved in learning ESL. Probably the most difficult barrier to handle is the language barrier, which is why many instructors still struggle to correct the pronunciation of some of the English words, the grammatical errors, etc. However, it is still the responsibility of the instructor to make an effort to break these barriers and create a good learning environment. By and large, still, being an ESL teacher is not easy because there are so many things to consider and there are just so many things that he/she needs to learn.
For more ESL teaching methods, tips and tricks, kindly refer to the links shown below:

Internet TESL Journal: Tips for Teaching ESL Beginners and Pre-Literate Adults – Provides helpful and straightforward ideas on how to teach adult students who are also beginners in the English language.

Center for Adult English Language Acquisition: Teaching Low-Level Adult ESL Learners – Defines the several types of low level English learners and discusses the various learning necessities of each type. It also provides suggestions and some helpful techniques on how to deal with such students.

Cambridge University Press: Grammar Matters – Teaching Grammar in Adult ESL Programs [PDF] – Teaching Grammar in Adult ESL Programs [PDF] – Discusses various teaching methods, and their respective advantages and limitations. It also covers how to choose which kind of English grammar an instructor should teach in class.

Hopelink Adult Education Tutor Support: Teaching ESL FAQs – Provides answers to most of the questions asked by ESL instructors. It also provides some helpful tips on how to deal with beginners.

Lost in Translation: Reaching Out to English-Language Learners – Discusses why there is an influx of non-native English learners in English-speaking countries, and provides some information on how to teach them as an English instructor.

ESL/EFL Teaching/Learning Resources: Reading – A quick guide for any English teacher.

Sounds of English: Pronunciation Tips for Teachers – English pronunciation is crucial in learning English, which is why this would be a good guide for English teachers whose students are studying ESL.

Teach English, Teach About the Environment – This provides teaching instructions not only about learning English, but also about how to conserve the environment.

Honolulu Community College: Principles of Adult Learning – Defines what are adult learners in general. In addition, it provides tips on how to motivate adults to learn, and how to break the learning barriers.

International Center New York: Conversation Tips – Various ESL conversation topics are presented. In the latter part of the article, there are some tips and tricks on how to make conversation exercises easier for everybody in the class.

English Language Development: English as a Second Language – General tips on how to teach ESL. Although the tips are intended for young learners, majority of these tips are very detailed and can be utilized in teaching an adult ESL.

Tips for Teaching English as a Foreign Language – Provides an overview on teaching English as a foreign language.

Brigham Young University Humanities: Adult Education ESL Teachers Guide [PDF] – Provides very detailed explanations on how to be an ESL teacher for adult learners. It also discusses the English language and some of its principles.

Teaching Guides and Strategies – Details of various teaching strategies are presented.

Division of Economic and Financial Studies Learning and Teaching Centre: How to Lead Discussions – Learning Through Engagement [PDF] – Learning Through Engagement [PDF] - Tips on how to manage class discussions and student interaction.

How to Become a Good English Teacher to Non-Native Speakers of English – Tackles on various learning styles, common instructor teaching strategies, and various considerations when teaching ESL to adults.

International Teacher Training Organization: What makes a good TEFL TESL TESOL Teacher? – A short article on the general characteristics that a good English teacher should have.

Expanding ESL, Civics, and Citizenship Education in Your Community – This government guide has many tips reguarding classroom setting, ettiquette, and ideas about setting up a program without use of a regular school area or classroom.

TESOL Tips - Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) fun tips and teaching ideas.

Teaching Large Multilevel Classes – This is a guide for teaching ESL classes to a group of people who may be at different stages in their English speaking levels.

5 Tips For Your First Day As a Successful TESOL Teacher – How to Conduct Your First Class – How to Conduct Your First Class – A good read for first time TESOL teachers because the suggestions are very easy to understand.

500 Tips for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages [PDF] – Covers everything that a TESOL teacher should know before conducting English lessons. Teaching fundamentals such as lesson planning, addressing the learning necessities of the students, language teaching methods and a whole lot more are discussed in detail.

Techniques for Teaching Adults, and Structuring Your Classroom Presentation [PDF] – Presents effective teaching methods that an instructor could opt for his/her classes.

Teaching Pronunciation: A Handbook for Teachers and Trainers – This is a full guide about tips and tricks to teaching proper pronunciation of English words.

WVABE Instructor Handbook: Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in West Virginia [PDF] – Discussion on the various factors that affect language learning, on the most appropriate ESL materials to use for a particular student’s level, on cultural considerations and more.

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