Tag Archives: ESL
Jan 17th , 2011
When I started teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) I was told to incorporate grammar into my lessons, rather than teach it separately. However, after teaching for a while, I realized that adult ESL students come from school systems that tend to teach grammar separately. Having always learned this way, ESL students expect to study grammar in isolation from other aspects of the language. They are used to such an approach, and it gives them a feeling of accomplishment.
Now, in my lesson plans, I teach grammar as a separate topic. I begin by presenting a specific grammar topic – for example, irregular past tense verbs – and then use these verbs in context, in games, in conversational activities and so on. Teaching this way is important, because grammar lessons tend to be very dry otherwise.
These introductions last no more than 30 minutes. Any more than that, and people begin to lose interest. Then, I embed this grammar lesson into a broader class lesson.
After finishing with my grammar lesson (in this case, irregular past tense verbs), I move on to cover the four general skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. While teaching these, I integrate the grammar lesson that the class has just learned.
So, for a reading passage, I will choose a story told in the past tense – or a story told in the present tense, which I will then ask the students to change to past tense. I will assign a writing exercise like: ‘What did you do last weekend’? For speaking, I will ask students what they did in their home country. And for a listening exercise, I will ask them to interview another student, and then report it to the class.
Another way to do this is to choose a single topic for the entire lesson, both grammar and the four skills. For example, a topic could be something like jobs or job interviews. If the grammar lesson of the day is irregular past tense verbs, we can discuss the students’ past job experience, their past job responsibilities and so on. They can conduct mock job interviews with each other (exercising their speaking and listening skills), fill out a job application (writing) and go over wanted ads in the newspaper (reading).
In this way, they will practice the grammar point, learn the relevant and get plenty of practice in the grammar and related vocabulary to the topic. If I were to teach English online, the steps would be very similar.
Jan 9th , 2011
ESL, or English second language, refers to people, using or learning English, whose native tongue is different. Teaching English as a second language - ESL, is something that requires a lot of patience and knowledge. The tasks facing the ESL teacher are many. English second language students need to practice both writing and speaking skills and the ESL teacher is required to find ways in which students can practice and polish their English. But as some classes will have as many as twenty or even thirty ESL students, teaching English as a second language while paying attention to the specific needs of each student is not always simple.
If you think of thirty English second language students sitting in the same class, each one with specific learning needs, you may reach the conclusion that assisting each and every one of them is virtually impossible. Some ESL students may have more difficulties with grammar while others may have severe spelling mistakes. Some ESL students may find it very difficult to express themselves coherently while speaking, others will have pronunciation problems.
In order to find ways to assist each and every one of your ESL students, sometimes during a short period of time, you need the right assistive technology tools.
Assistive technology can help you to pay close attention to the specific learning process of each and every one of your English second language students. While teaching English as a second language, you can have your students work with an automatic grammar and spelling correction tool. The grammar and spelling correction tool will also monitor all the errors each one of your students is making. Then, it will present you with personal reports, detailing the strengths and weaknesses of each one of your students.
It would take the English as a second language teacher many hours to go over a written assignment and analyze her student’s mistakes. By receiving computerized reports that present frequent errors and analyze them, the ESL teacher can determine immediately what to recommend her students in order to further advance their learning process. The students may also use the online correction grammar and spelling tool outside of the classroom and install it on their home computer. That way, they can practice and self improve out of the classroom to make sure the English language becomes a part of their day to day lives.
Jan 9th , 2011
One of the best ways to teach English grammar, spelling and other essential skills is by teaching students proper English writing techniques.
Grammar is one of those controversial subjects for teachers in the ESL classroom. The adult learner seems to feel more comfortable learning grammar rules in isolation, while the younger student may prefer to simply absorb them through the lesson material. Regardless of learning style, most students expect to learn grammar, along with English vocabulary, idioms, spelling and other compulsory topics.
For the English teacher, the dilemma is how to teach it, and how much grammar to teach. Some teachers love teaching grammar, and rely on it for a huge chunk of class time in their lesson plans. Others are less enthusiastic about teaching grammar, and concentrate on speaking, reading and writing in their lessons.
One way to approach the topic is through teaching grammar in use – going beyond drills and exercises to teach students English grammar in a way that is more natural and useful for their daily lives. If a student wants more in the way of drills, there is a wealth of online grammar activities to choose from.
However, the study of English is about more than just grammar. One often encounters students who have studied English for years in their native countries and cannot speak the language at a basic conversational level, yet are capable of making highly detailed distinctions on minor, esoteric grammar points.
To study English properly, a student should develop a broad set of skills which allow him or her to master the technical aspects of the language, while developing fluency, accuracy and a comfortable familiarity with the language which will allow him to communicate on a natural level.
One way to combine grammar and spelling skills with natural familiarity and fluency is by learning how to write well in English. In today’s world, good writing skills are an absolute necessity, in school, in the workplace and in performing simple, day to day tasks.
One good exercise for students is letter writing. Students can write letters to their friends and family in their home countries, detailing their experiences interacting with their new surroundings and comparing them to those back home. Another good writing exercise is to keep a personal diary.
By practicing writing skills on a regular basis, supplemented by an interactive editing process, students can become capable communicators, while mastering the technical aspects of the language at the same time.