ESL for Adults

About ESL for Adults, they can be a joy to teach if you can keep the topics of study interesting and get them engaged in learning English.

by Aarti Thomas

Teaching ESL to adults is different from teaching children ESL. Adult learners have lost the touch of studying, and may find routine text work and exercises uninteresting and unproductive.

To teach ESL for adults, find out the reason for their joining the class, as different people join classes for different reasons. Some adults may join the course as part of a training program offered by their company to improve their business English.

As well, there are some adults who join for personal reasons like wanting to meet people with similar interests, wanting to communicate in an English speaking country during vacation and some for better job prospects.

An Idea for Teachers

Ask your students why they have joined your class, and post their answers on the wall so that you can create the right ESL course, and ensure all these objectives are met as you progress in class.

Conduct placement tests

Unlike children, adult classes are famous for being heterogeneous in nature - where some learners may have some knowledge of English but need to make improvements, plus there are some learners who have no contact with the English language at all.

This is why it’s advised to create placement tests so that you can create ESL groups of students of similar levels. Listen to learners to find out what they find difficult in English. Those who find some structures difficult get practice using the structure orally.

Pairing helps

Pairing learners also helps. You could pair advanced learners with those having some difficulties so that they can learn and discuss problems with each other. Keep monitoring them, but don’t interfere.

Just take notes as they work so that you can give tips and pointers at the end of the pair work exercise. Besides regular vocabulary and text work, include some games, sing alongs and video work that supports the material provided in your text.

Halfway through the course, review objectives discussed on the first day to ensure if they are being followed and met. You are sure to get more attentive learners and attendance this way than just by working through the book and giving exams.

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