Learning a second language can be equal parts challenging and rewarding. The more complex the language, the greater the rewards – and the greater the challenges. This is particularly true in the case of English. As one of the most difficult languages to learn fluently, English can often confound and frustrate children studying ESL. However, this doesn’t mean these students should throw in the towel and give up on attaining fluency. With the guidance of a good ESL educator, children can develop solid English skills in a timely manner and set the stage of increased proficiency. ESL teachers looking to help struggling students will be well-served by the following tips.
- Prioritize Hands-On Learning
Although some ESL students prefer good old-fashioned book learning and memorization, most language learners favor hands-on exercises. In addition to being fun for the whole class, such exercises give students an opportunity to use English in practical settings. For example, many classes have seen success with skits that entail using English in such everyday locales as banks, grocery stores and post offices. Many of your students will have so much fun taking part in these performances that they’ll forget this is technically a learning exercise. This will ultimately make English usage feel more natural to them and make them more comfortable putting their lessons to use in public.
- Place an Emphasis on Reviewing Past Lessons
In order for a foreign language to sink in, most of us need to hear and use it on a consistent basis. Hearing certain words or sentences once or twice generally isn’t enough for us to commit them to memory. With this in mind, ESL educators should place a strong emphasis on reviewing past material. This is particularly important when it comes to vocabulary and sentence structure. Repetition is important when learning a second language, and without regular reviews, students are likely to forget key lessons. Even if you’re working with high-quality ELL resources, reviewing is vital to your students’ success.
- Open Each Class with Short Conversations
Opening each class with short conversations is among the most effective ways to review past material. This can entail asking each student a series of short questions at the beginning of each class. Examples include “What did you do last night?,” “What did you eat for breakfast?” and “What are you doing today?” You can also build off certain answers. For example, if a student says they watched television in response to being asked what they did last night, you can ask them what they watched and when. Over time, this will increase each student’s conversation skills and overall proficiency.
When it comes to second languages, English is among the most challenging. With a host of complexities and inconsistencies, English can prove quite the hurdle for ESL learners. However, while English may be difficult to grasp, it’s by no means impossible – and the right teacher can make a tremendous amount of difference. ESL educators looking for effective ways to increase comprehension and proficiency in their students would do well to utilize the previously discussed pointers.