ESL lessons, non-native English speakers' advice please.

  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Aug 25, 2011 3:21 AM GMT
    I recently signed up to teach private ESL lessons, the problem I have is trying to gage a student's level.

    They're roughly around 650-700 on the TOEIC tests and are obviously more advanced than most of the 6-12 or 16-18 year old students I've taught.

    So my questions are, to those who speak English as a second language:

    What did/would you want to get out of private lessonsicon_question.gif
    Anything the books don't cover that would have been usefulicon_question.gif

    日本に英語の個人レッスンを始める、けど生徒のレベルは分からないです。

    前時に小学校と高校の生徒に英語を教えました。
    今大人に英語教えています。彼らのTOEICレベルは650−700ぐらい、上手と思います。icon_confused.gif

    何をおすすめですかicon_question.gif
    例えば、あなたは何を学びたいですかicon_question.gif

    I have stuff in mind but any advice or real-life experience would be useful.
    Cheers.
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    Aug 25, 2011 4:05 AM GMT
    I think this question can be answered by anyone that learned a foreign language. Personally, I'm a fan of practical dialogue. Meaning, words/phrases/idioms that are used in everyday casual conversation. It's nice to know the technical aspects of language. But there's a difference between just knowing a language, and knowing how to use it.
  • trl_

    Posts: 994

    Aug 25, 2011 4:20 AM GMT
    Conversation and practical vocabulary are so important and I think should be emphasized.

    A huge drawback of my Arabic education has been that (in my experience) lots of Arabs do not speak Arabic with non-Arabs, they prefer English. Because of that my spoken Arabic abilities are nowhere near where they should be for someone who has studied it for 4.5 years. (And if you can't converse, what's the point of a language?)

    Second, my Arabic professors routinely failed at providing us with practical vocabulary. This is not an exaggeration. We were learning how to read articles about political parties in Lebanon before we knew how to say "This is an apple." I was in my fourth year of Arabic and couldn't ask "Where's the bathroom" or "can I have water".
    ...My Arabic had been useless until I went abroad and learned basic nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
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    Aug 25, 2011 4:23 AM GMT
    With my Spanish-as-second-language needs, I ask for read/spoken/listen. I want someone who shows me the words as they're spoken, running their finger under the words. I want to speak it back with the same rhythm, accent and inflection and be corrected as I go.
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    Aug 25, 2011 4:23 AM GMT
    i was an ESOL student i would have to say teach them how to defend themselves with words, as a new speaker of english people thought it would be funny to teach me crude words and pretend its used everyday, so just teach them basics and teach them things that should and shouldnt be said if that makes sense
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    Aug 25, 2011 4:34 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidWith my Spanish-as-second-language needs, I ask for read/spoken/listen. I want someone who shows me the words as they're spoken, running their finger under the words. I want to speak it back with the same rhythm, accent and inflection and be corrected as I go.


    Hmmm, dont correct all the time though, only correct at the end of a whole utterance, and generally try to first hear out a person's speech and identify the main and recurrent mistakes and then correct them at the end of an utterance.. breaking a learner mid-sentence will horrendously impede the development of fluency in stringing words together.. which in itself is fundamental to, and therefore must be developed prior to, learning to speak with correct grammar....

    For instance: a learner has said the following:

    "Today, I will go for the city, then I will go for my job, after tht I will go for the supermarket."

    NOted mistake: use of "for" instead of "to"

    So tell student: "Today you will go TO the city" and ask them to repeat the whole phrase thus

    Now you're not out of the woods yet.. the learner will have this incorrect structure built into him, so he will later come out and say: "then after shopping I will go for the post office and then for the doctor"

    This time, do not correct your student!!! That will not teach him to productively self-correct.... ask him clearly "Where did you say you will go?".. if he still makes the same mistake ask him very clearly: "You will go WHERE?'''' gesturing that this is where they must rephrase.... if he still mistakes... only correct then.....

    The goal is to have him begin stumbling across his own mistakes mid sentence: "Tomorrow it is weekend, i am not going to go for ...(pause)... TO work"

    Now at this point, do not try and correct much more of his mistakes... focus on practicing this... a new "stumbling block" had best be left for a next lesson... as learning a language has to be forcibly incremental, but to stop someone from making mistakes outright is to impede fluency development, and in the end will help a learner little if nothing at all
  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Aug 25, 2011 4:50 AM GMT
    Lots of great advice so far guys, a lot of which I use/have used in my classrooms at school.
    The only reason I mentioned about getting advice from ESL (although I agree anyone whose studied another language will have a good insight) is because of the TOEIC level - I was curious to know if anyone had gone threw it and what most students at this level can do.

    The students will be way past the basic stages of English and should, in theory, be able to throw together pretty decent sentences.
    They have described themselves as intermediate level, but seeing as we're in Japan - where it's good to be humble about yourself, I have a feeling they will be higher than they're making themselves out to be.

    I was thinking of covering multiple verbs with similar meanings and when to use them, i.e say and tell, speak and talk, raise and rise etc.
    I'd like to have 3 or 4 lesson plans and have the student choose which they fell would be most useful to them.

    The first lesson is a free trial lesson, only 30 minutes, so I need to get in, give them a taste and then finish (and give them feedback).
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    Aug 25, 2011 5:04 AM GMT
    ホケンシ君、これを見ってください。PDFです。これも
  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Aug 25, 2011 6:03 AM GMT
    TerraFirma saidホケンシ君、これを見ってください。PDFです。これも


    テッラファマさん(大地さんですか?)ありがとうicon_smile.gif

    最初のPDFを見た、ちょっと長くて、あいまいです。だけど最後のPDFはめっちゃ役に立ちます。icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 25, 2011 9:14 AM GMT
    Dammit. You guys are going to make me whip out my Kanji dictionary!!! And I don’t have my Kanji converter in Word anymore!!

    Anyways, I took three semesters of Japanese, so looking at it from the opposite way, it would be good to teach some of the idiosyncrasies and complications of English. As well as many of the colloquialisms that are used normally, just for understanding purposes.

    When I learned Japanese, we took the time to do the textbook learning, then near the end of class, we would watch the Japanese version of MTV, shows, or watch some of the popular music videos to see the language used in a different way, which helped with understanding and taught us new ways that words and phrases were used that weren’t in the textbook.
    So an idea would be to let them listen to a music video, then write about the idea or message the individual or group was trying to portray to the audience.

    If they are at the intermediate/advanced level, then it would be a great exercise for learning and having some fun while doing it.

    Ganbatte!!
  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Aug 25, 2011 2:57 PM GMT
    Marvel_X said
    So an idea would be to let them listen to a music video, then write about the idea or message the individual or group was trying to portray to the audience.

    If they are at the intermediate/advanced level, then it would be a great exercise for learning and having some fun while doing it.

    Ganbatte!!


    I did something similar when studying Spanish, I think it's a great idea.
    Cheers.icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 25, 2011 3:28 PM GMT
    xrichx saidI think this question can be answered by anyone that learned a foreign language. Personally, I'm a fan of practical dialogue. Meaning, words/phrases/idioms that are used in everyday casual conversation. It's nice to know the technical aspects of language. But there's a difference between just knowing a language, and knowing how to use it.


    you beat me to it lol i was going to say this. I believe its the most useful way to teach/learn another language.
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    Aug 25, 2011 3:33 PM GMT
    When I was perfecting my English and accent, I really learned from songs, movies, tv shows...once you can talk like they do in the movies and songs, you have it all. Plus, they're a more fun way of teaching as well!
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    Aug 25, 2011 4:14 PM GMT
    I was an ESL teacher, and I work with a lot of international students, and for high level learners, you want to help them fix that small things (like prepositions, articles,etc.) that most native speakers won't mention to them because they get the jist of what they're talking about. Also, expanding vocabulary is big. Many times students know how to say things one way, where they'd really like to have more shades of nuance and choose between 4-5 verbs or nouns.
  • makemake

    Posts: 10

    Aug 25, 2011 10:44 PM GMT
    Casual conversation is very important for me. The problem with learning a new language is simply building up the confidence of new students. Try to make them comfortable with the language, comfortable with mistakes, and always improving.
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    Aug 25, 2011 11:39 PM GMT
    Interesting thread icon_smile.gif
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    Aug 26, 2011 5:43 AM GMT
    I took private lessons when I was like 13, and the professor (native English speaker) said I was very advanced so we just talked about stuff and he just pointed out my mistakes. I think when you're learning another language, you get to a point where you only learn more by reading/talking and when formal classes don't help as much as when you're a beginner.
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    Aug 26, 2011 6:28 AM GMT
    This is how I learned English. My teacher would give us ten words to learn every day (it can be accomplished). My teacher said any word you see on a book, a label, anywhere. Write it, define it, and make a sentence with it. The next day, he would go through the words with us, correct the sentence if needed, and do it all over again. Also, he would make us write little essays every week, and correct it with each one of us. Also, watching movies with English subtitles helped a lot, and singing (even when i am a terrible singer) helped a lot with the articulation or words. Tell students to try and use as little as possible of their native tongue, and use as much English as possible while they're learning.
  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Aug 26, 2011 6:57 AM GMT
    Big thank you guys.

    I have the first trial lesson in a little over 2 hours at a coffee shop near Yokohama station; not sure how well singing in Starbucks would go down but I could always take the guy to karaoke afterwards icon_biggrin.gif

    I have 3 lessons to show him, I want to show him that I can adapt my style to suit his needs.

    1. Grammar - Ugh, but useful. kinda English heavy but I wanted to explain the differences between the words, give examples to reinforce and then an exercise for him to practice.

    2. Conversational - Directions are something he can probably already do, but I can always give him extra vocab and it'll be more practice for him...plus it's a pretty worksheet.

    3. General English niggly bits - Homophones, I don't know how many of you speak any Japanese but the language is full of words that sound the same (to non-natives) but have multiple meanings. So he'd practice things like "one" and "won", "pear" and "pair" etc. Again this might be something he is familiar with but again it's pretty.

    The first lesson is a free 30 min introduction, kind of like an audition for student and teacher, so I didn't go all out but wanted to show different styles I can cover for him. If he signs on then I'll start introducing more methods of studying.

    So keep the advice and experiences coming, it's interesting to hear from you all.
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    Aug 26, 2011 9:31 AM GMT
    I like the Pimsleur method. This is a good resource http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/default.asp
  • danielvn

    Posts: 222

    Aug 26, 2011 9:36 AM GMT
    Oh well, Spend at least 5 years listening to music in English and trying to imitate the pronunciation of the singers helps a lot !! I grew up listening to music, especially black music and now I talk like a California native icon_razz.gif
  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Aug 26, 2011 12:10 PM GMT
    socalfitness saidI like the Pimsleur method. This is a good resource http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/default.asp


    The pimsleur method is good, for a beginner but the level I am teaching will want more vocab, grammar (+ the rules), and a greater variety of sentences they can use.

    The forum should be helpful though, thanks.
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    Aug 26, 2011 12:21 PM GMT
    I am computer trainer. I had a contract at an AT&T call center in India. AT&T's business is communication, and all their workers were impeccable in English. Why? As part of their workday, they would watch taped episodes of Friends and Seinfeld, and then discuss them as a team.
    Vocabulary, grammer, inflection, culture, jokes...
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    Aug 26, 2011 12:25 PM GMT
    remydeutsch saidi was an ESOL student i would have to say teach them how to defend themselves with words, as a new speaker of english people thought it would be funny to teach me crude words and pretend its used everyday...


  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Aug 26, 2011 12:27 PM GMT
    NakedBudd saidI am computer trainer. I had a contract at an AT&T call center in India. AT&T's business is communication, and all their workers were impeccable in English. Why? As part of their workday, they would watch taped episodes of Friends and Seinfeld, and then discuss them as a team.
    Vocabulary, grammer, inflection, culture, jokes...


    Man I wish I got paid to watch TV shows. That's something I can advise my students to do (and I am starting to date a guy who does just that) but not something I can really do in a Starbucks for an hour with them.