Teaching English as a second language can be equal parts fun and rewarding. As any seasoned ESL educator can confirm, the satisfaction of watching students enhance their English skills in real time is practically incomparable. Still, while it’s impossible to deny the perks of teaching ESL, there’s no getting around the challenges that come with the territory. Fortunately, setting the stage for lasting success doesn’t have to be an arduous undertaking. Budding ESL educators who are eager to flex their teaching muscles are sure to benefit from the following tips.
Give Students Time to Absorb the Material
Although some learners are able to soak up new languages like a sponge, most of the students you encounter will not possess a natural aptitude for learning foreign languages. As such, an English class that’s relentlessly fast-paced is liable to intimidate them and make the material seem considerably more daunting. To prevent this fate from befalling any of your students, take care to give them plenty of time to absorb each new lesson before moving on to the next. This means spending a minimum of one week reviewing every lesson in class. While some of the more gifted learners may be bothered by such a methodical approach, the majority of the class is sure to appreciate it.
Read in Class Every Day
When working to learn a foreign language, reading skills are often just as important as conversational skills – and when learning how to read in any language, consistent practice is key. That being the case, make a point of requiring your students to read aloud in class on a daily basis. Even if certain students grumble about this, it will ultimately help them enhance their reading abilities. To make this task easier on everyone involved, enlist the aid of highly-rated close reading materials.
Expose Your Class to English-Language Entertainment
For many students, watching foreign movies and television shows is an effective way to complement language studies. In addition to providing an interesting viewing experience, foreign media gives students a good idea of what native speakers sound like. With this in mind, make a point of showing your class an assortment of English-language entertainment. For best results, the shows and movies you show them should be commiserate with their level of proficiency. For example, if your class has just begun their studies, showing them clips from educational programming directed at young children is a great way to get the ball rolling.
ESL education can be a deeply satisfying profession. Not only will you be teaching students skills that are guaranteed to come in handy, you’ll seldom find yourself at a loss for career options. With private companies, government institutions and schools the world-over constantly seeking out skilled ESL educators, many English teachers can essentially write their own ticket. Of course, the best opportunities generally go to educators with the best track records. Teachers looking to make their mark on the ESL world and draw the attention of prospective employers would be wise to heed the pointers discussed above.