10 Easy ESL Tips
Learning English as a second language is harder than most people realize. One of the hardest things about it is that while most of the English language comes from Latin, there are quite a few other languages involved as well. You can make ESL easier by using some of the tips below. 1. Understand the stages. A second language is learned in stages: Preproduction, Early Production, Speech Emergence, Intermediate Fluency, and Advanced Fluency. These stages involve moving from body language all the way to fluent speech. 2. Use comparison models with similar words. If possible, start by using one syllable words that are similar to the ones they know. Demonstrate how these words represent images or symbols. For instance “one” with a picture of a count of “one” when the student speaks French and knows the word “une”. 3. Place value on the native tongue. No student realizes success through humiliation, therefore you always want to refer to English as an additional language rather than a replacement. 4. Use a student's learning style. Find out how the student learns best and make use of it. For instance, hands-on learners will learn more from demonstration than direct instruction. Combine methods of teaching so that several learning styles are used. This allows for maximum opportunities to learn and practice the new language. 5. Set measurable goals. Let the student know what the goals are and celebrate the success of achieving those goals. Scaffold them so that the student builds on knowledge as they learn more of it. 6. Allow for Speech. The more you speak, the less your students get to practice speech. Allow them opportunities for verbal collaboration and presentations. You can also use “think aloud” techniques which allow students to exchange and share ideas about the topic and sometimes even predictions about what will come next. 7. Make use of images. Use images for labeling items in the room, but then label the items in English as well. For instance, you might label the paint cabinet with a picture of a can of paint and the word “paint” printed below it. 8. Allow the evolution of language. When students complete written compositions, allow them to do the first outline and draft using their native language so that they can focus on the writing itself. For their final copy they can translate the composition into English.
9. Pair with like mentors. If possible allow the ESL student to be paired with a mentor close to their age. You can also simply partner them with an English speaking or bilingual student. The idea is to expose them to English in a social context as well as a formal one so that they can become comfortable with it. 10. Exchange cultural norms. Language is more than a form of communication. It is also a reflection of a culture. By exchanging cultural norms you can show respect for their native language while at the same time teaching them the details of the culture of those who speak English. This also helps to immerse them in the language and associate it with positive experiences. FLS offers ESL courses to help international students learn English. At FLS International we use a modern curriculum that is catered to the varying needs of our students. We combine speaking, reading and listening to ensure that our students learn English in the most supportive environment possible. To learn more visit http://www.fls.net.