How to Encourage ESL Students
- Mar 08, 2015
Do you know why English is considered to be such a significant language? This is almost solely due to the fact that it is one of most common languages spoken throughout the world. Like most other students, I was always taught that unless I achieved fluency in this universally accepted language, my career was doomed. No wonder, we invest substantial efforts to master this otherwise foreign language. Technically speaking, English is the language used for daily communication purposes in Britain, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
Apart from these nations, most other regions in the world also treat the English language with dignity. Do you know why this is so? It is because English is the principal medium of communication for the purpose of carrying out trade and commerce in most parts of the world.
With entrepreneurs and industries being spread across different regions, any country can achieve economic success only if it connects well with others. One major obstacle to this connection is the language barrier that has the potential to cripple many lucrative business opportunities. And also, discourage the growth of various international relations in the process. You don’t want that to happen, do you? This is the primary reason why you would find ESL (English as a Second Language) classes being conducted in various portions of Asia and Latin America. An ESL class is one of the best ways to imbibe a basic knowledge of English.
Let me go ahead and share with you some of the best known ways in which teachers can encourage students in ESL classes to learn better:
- Use practical references: Current popular trends that include the latest music album of Beyonce Knowles or the book ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ would appeal to most young ESL learners. Others can include the ‘Twilight’ series or the albums of Taylor Swift. If you are trying to connect with your students, make sure you know all about these latest trends in pop culture. It is important to know your students well, along with their areas of interest. If they find you interesting to deal with, then they would of course interact with you much more and listen to you with rapt attention.
- Let them compete: The spirit of competition is a great turn on for most young students, particularly teens. Some would go on playing several rounds of basketball or lawn tennis, till they finally win the game. So, if you want them to succeed in their ESL lessons, introduce some sort of healthy competition in your classroom. For instance, you can ask your pupils to write down as many words as it is possible for them, all of which should be related to ‘food’ or ‘love’. And don’t forget to set a time limit for this exercise.
- Know their talents: Each person is born with one or the other forms of talent. These might include music, theatre, fine arts, dance or several other forms. Identify the field of expertise for each of your students. You would find that students love discussing about their passions or hobbies. Encourage them to reveal their area of interest and what is it that they excel in. For example, one of your students might be a painter. In that case, ask him to draw images according to a story read out by another student in English.
- Use the ‘pen friend’ concept: The concept of writing to pen friends is thrilling, isn’t it? This is also an excellent way through which teachers can motivate students to complete their writing assignments on time. You can coordinate with other ESL teachers in your locality. Request them to share the email addresses of their students with you as part of a mutual process. Young people love sharing their ideas and dreams with people of their age or those with similar areas of interest. At the same time, this would polish their English language skills.
- Play some music: Did you know that music is a wonderful educator? At the same time, most youngsters are addicted to music these days. So why not introduce music education as a part of your ESL classroom sessions and thereby make them more interesting? Play the favorite songs of your pupils in the class as a reward if they have done their homework in the appropriate manner. Students who have scored well in their ESL class tests can also be rewarded in this way. You can also use music lessons to help your students learn about how certain words are used in the English language.
- Use social media: It is said that pictures speak a thousand words. I would like to add that videos facilitate the process of learning to such an extent that they seem to convey a million words! Log onto the Internet. Once you do that, go through YouTube videos that offer simple yet effective ways to enjoy an ESL class. Share it with the rest of your students. You can also visit Facebook pages or communities that talk about ESL lessons and ask your students to visit them. Social media is a great educator, after all.
- Employ real-life objects: Nothing can be better than real-life objects to educate young learners. And this truly works wonders for students who lack the enthusiasm to learn. For instance, you can instruct your students to write down directions in English to places they often visit. They can always use city maps or guidebooks to pinpoint proper directions to any place such as a shopping mall, restaurant, coffee shop or concert hall. Other learning techniques can include taking your students out for a picnic and then requesting them to present their overall experience through a nice essay in English.
I hope these suggestions help you to charge up the mental batteries of your ESL students. Another method that you can follow in this regard is to suggest to your students certain websites that help them learn ESL. Learning is a constant process. So, you got to inspire them to keep communicating in English, even when they’re at home or at a party. Follow these steps and I’m sure your ESL students would soon start speaking English like a true native!
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