How to teach ESL

How to Teach ESL to Youngsters?

“Too slow is our march toward spiritual elevation, because we make so little use of youth's ardor.”

– Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)


by Robert Beckham

Youth is the time to learn and a time to explore. Everyone would agree with me if I say that youth is the best time to learn. Learning is easy and the receptors of young boys and girls work at full potential. With the passage of time, these receptors start deteriorating and the intake of a person decreases considerably.

At the same it is also easier to teach anything to young people more so than preschoolers, toddlers or old men and women. Youth is a time of being inquisitive and curious.

You will find yourself in a very comfortable position if you are assigned to teach English as a secondary language to youngsters as compared to other categories. Many teachers ask me, how to teach ESL to youngsters and I share with them; but now I have decided to jot down the tips here so that it can be helpful to everyone.

In this article I shall be sharing some simple tips to keep the interest of your young students alive when teaching the English language.

How to teach ESL - Some of the most fruitful tips are:-

• Simplicity. If you are planning to teach ESL in Japan or any other non-English speaking country then you must realize that your students might not know a single word of English when they come to you.

Start with simple yet interesting words. Salutations and counting can be an attention-grabbing start. Greeting words like “Hello”, “Good morning” and “Good bye” can attract the interest of the total beginners.

• Start With Short Sentences. Simple questions can be used to encourage your students to speak English. You can start with “How are you?” or “What’s your name?”

• Use Flash Cards. Teachers teaching ESL can also make use of flash cards to teach the different names of animals, birds and other household items. Try to use the flash cards on a particular theme and speak the word aloud. Repeat the cards at least three times. Have the students repeat after you and quiz them, "What`s this?"

• Play ESL Games. As an ESL teacher, you need to develop a love of the language among your students and what can generate more interest than playing ESL games. You can play different word-games to encourage everyone to participate.

• Use ESL Worksheets. You can download various ESL worksheets from the internet and tell your students to solve them. It will be very useful. We recommend A-Z Worksheets (link below).

• Sing Poems and Songs. Towards the end of the lecture, you must sing some songs or recite some poems to avoid boredom.

• Do something crazy or off the wall. Jump in to the classroom. It will generate energy in your class. Do a magic trick. Dress like a rock star and perform an English song. Better still hand out the lyrics, minus some missing words. The students must fill in the words for this close activity.

• Do Not Forget to Praise Your Students. Do not forget to praise the hard work put in by your students during the lecture. It will make things better for you in the next lecture.

These were some of the most useful tips to answer the simple question “How to teach ESL to youngsters”? If applied correctly, I am sure that it will be of great help and the young ones will admire you for helping them learn a universal language.

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