Classroom Tips for new ESL teachers

28 Aug

Resultat d'imatges de esl teacher image

Some of you are already back to school, others like me are enjoying our last holiday days. Which means I am getting mentally ready for “La Rentrée” by organizing my own thoughts.

Next, there are some tips I would like to share with those starting this adventurous career.

1- Classroom rules:

It’s a good idea in the first class to establish the ground rules. The key to this is being consistent and fair. For instance, it is a good idea to set up a points system with a reward for the winning team (for example at the end of term). You can allocate points for winning games, being active, speaking in English, behaving well, etc. By putting students into groups for this, students will be encouraged to take responsibility for their classmates’ behaviour as well as their own – thus relieving some of the pressure on the teacher!

2- Dealing with fast finishers:

It’s always good to have supplementary materials at hand such as crosswords, word searches and general vocabulary exercises, such as matching words to pictures etc. This way your students won’t be wasting time doing nothing, or worse still disrupting others. Another option I really like (and they seem to like it, too) is to let them help other classmates, it works very well!

3- Group work and pair work:

It is important to use a mixture of pair work and group work. Your students may proclaim that they are too tired to move and that they would prefer to stay in groups with their friends. However, getting students to work with different people not only helps to improve their English, but it also keeps things interesting. You may choose to put stronger students with weaker students and at other times you may wish to put the stronger students into a group so you can work with the weaker students more closely. Be aware of the dynamics of your group and take note of who works well with whom. Sometimes it is necessary to keep some students apart if their personalities clash!

4- Using their L1 and English:

At an elementary level, students will of course need to use some of their own language in the classroom in general. However, in controlled practice activities and freer practice activities, students should be using only English. You will therefore need to make it clear to students that in these activities they must only use English. It is a good idea here to implement the points system whereby students can lose points for their team if they don’t use English (you could appoint some monitors to help you catch naughty students out).

5- Giving instructions:

One of the biggest challenges of teaching elementary students lies in setting up activities. As students know barely any English, giving instructions becomes a difficult task! It’s a good idea to demonstrate activities with one pair/group first (choose strong students to do this). Also getting the students to repeat directions back to you is a good way of checking students’ understanding.

One Response to “Classroom Tips for new ESL teachers”

  1. Teacher A.Morsy August 30, 2018 at 5:03 pm #

    that was really helpful .. thanks a bunch.

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