Alexandra Arrivillaga ESLMastering the English language can be difficult, but helping others to develop functional and capable language skills can be near impossible if English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers aren’t equipped with proper resources, tips or tools to facilitate their pupils’ needs and growth. Conquering the third most common native language in the world (surpassed by Mandarin and Spanish) is best done when teachers have a slight edge.

ESL teachers should consider a number of things when acting as a language guide. Learning styles, culture, education and comprehensive skills should be taken into account, and ESL teachers should be understanding of the cognitive abilities of non-native English speakers when instructing them. Whether teaching someone English in a traditional classroom setting, or coaching someone in a private home, consider the following tips when instructing your non-native English speaker(s).

Get to know your students:
The educational needs of any given student will be different, whether that student is learning math or English. Becoming familiar with a student’s country of origin, English language or literacy, or their literacy level in their native language should help you determine a starting point for your student, and eventually enable their success. Before your class begins, feel free to send students a survey, or answer basic questions about their backgrounds. In this way you can do some research about your students’ countries of origin before you even meet face to face.

Develop an Exciting Lesson Plan:Learn more about the cultural or educational backgrounds of ESL students, and incorporate that into the lesson plan. Also, introduce students to foods they may or may not be familiar. Additionally, introduce them to English-language films, music and other bits of culture.

Be Thoughtful About Homework Assignments:
ESL students should be given homework, which will encourage them to practice during evenings and weekends. These extra hours of studying are fundamental for practical use of the language.

Read Through All Language Assessments:

Before giving your student a particular language proficiency assessment, you should read through it and make sure that it’s comprehensive for a new language learner. If there are terms or words being employed that might be difficult for a young English-proficient reader, then it may be difficult for someone who is new to English to understand.

Find Great Visuals:

Photos, pictures, drawings and tangible things are helpful when learning a language. Utilize magazines, menus, train schedules, post-cards and mail, and encourage students to name things and read words aloud. This will be helpful for them in their day-to-day.

These are just a few tips on preparing yourself as you embark on the exciting journey into the world of teaching English as a Second Language.

Good Luck!