Tutoring online ESL adult learners is an easier task than teaching youngsters.
For educating kids, you have to start with the basics and work your way through their specific needs. The unadulterated mind is still empty and is in the process of stocking knowledge through life’s experiences, education, relationships, success and failures and more. Do not be surprised if your question is answered by another question, their probing mind is at work.
Adult students study English for a specific purpose and are motivated to reach their personal goal. Non-English speakers have experienced communicating in English in many ways and are a pleasure to teach. They recognize English as the universal language and know what they can gain by enhancing their knowledge of the language.
In English communication, listening is just as important as talking. Understanding the message from the speaker through active listening will give a favorable response from the listener.
Discern their needs
The teacher should start off with a bit of conversational English to know their need for effective English communication. If the adult learner will use English for work, introduce some business-related issues, talk about work-correlated situations, touch on topics linked to travel, currency, and destinations. These are relevant for business people who communicate with English at work.
If your student is studying English to obtain government documents like a visa. Discuss the tests and requirements that are needed, information can be found online.
Perhaps, they just want a talking partner who is familiar with the English dialect so they can increase their eloquence and competence in communicating in English.
For beginners, the tutor may adjust the adult learner’s study plan to those of the youngsters with a bit of twist because of their level of maturity.
Be wary of their behavior
At the onset, inform your ESL learner that you can allot some time for a free discussion. Maybe, a couple of minutes before the start of the class or afterwards. Unlike youngsters, adult learners are disciplined. But in the course of the tutoring, the learner might shift the topic that will result in a free discussion. This might mean that the student is uninterested in the lesson and you might need to develop a more creative lesson plan.
Once the faults have been rectified, it will be smooth sailing for both of you.
Improve their listening skills
Any ESL course focuses on the need of the student to communicate. For young learners, inspiring them to speak is the vital part of the session. On the contrary, adult learners would love to speak and express what is in their mind. Their need is more on how to develop their listening skills.
For tutors, they should incorporate topics that the adult learners should have a keen interest for them to listen. Consider topics on sports, celebrities, lifestyle, food, movies, music, and culture. These will surely catch their attention and will keep them on their toes for the full session. At the advanced level, this is important so they would know when to give advice, present their assessments, and graciously concur so that they won’t appear impolite or discourteous in a discussion.
There is no specific template to improve the English communication skills of your adult or young ESL learner. Encouraging them to talk and listen effectively solely depends on the tutor, it will be a trial-and-error method before a lesson guide can be prepared to improve their communication skills.
Parents play an important role in molding the student’s attitude toward learning English.
Take away the homework blues by helping the learner in completing their assignments. It does not need to take a lot of time and a hard grind for your child. Make it an enjoyable experience that your child will look forward to each day.
Here are some tips to encourage your learner in having a fun time in doing his English homework.
Goals of homework
As a parent, you must explain the importance and the purpose of completing an assignment. They need to know:
• Why do they need to complete the homework?
• What are the benefits that they will gain?
• How will this fit into the overall structure of education?
Without a clear understanding in the goals of homework, they will detest doing it. It will be like having their first appointment for an injection with a doctor.
Tutors offer homework to strengthen aptitudes that have been imparted throughout the school day. It gives the learner the chance to put into practice what had been taught and sort out things by himself. The teacher can assess the learning needs of their students through assignments, seat works, and tests. A study plan or guide can be prepared to meet the educational needs of their student.
Short of explaining the purpose of an assignment, he will loathe doing this, take more time to complete one, and doesn’t gain any benefit out of it.
Develop a positive attitude
With a clear understanding of the lecture for the day, your child will develop a positive attitude towards completing his assignment. Doing his homework will be a walk in the park and so with his other school activities.
With an adverse outlook about homework, it is likely that the learner will take a longer time to complete or maybe not at all.
Often, parents have the impression that their child is lazy or does not have the skills to do their homework by themselves. This is a wrong notion, the child has a negative attitude and struggles to complete this.
Once, you change their beliefs you have won the battle.
Remove any obstructions in the study nook
It is important to establish a study time and corner to help your child build a routine. The period should fit the family’s schedule to avoid any distractions.
Obstructions should be kept to a minimum. No television and social phone call during study time. PCs, laptops, and tablets should only be used as tools for learning English.
Instituting routine and minimizing distractions, with the parent’s help your child will breeze through his lessons now and for years to come.
Pairing with your child with his schoolwork will show that you care for his/her welfare. This goes beyond the purpose of making the grade, it is about bonding between a parent and your child. In doing so, you are getting the best of worlds, helping your child cope-up with his/her studies and gaining respect.
Creating a healthy setting inside your classroom walls is not something that is done overnight. As adjustments are made, you will begin to experience moderate changes that will impact your learners in different ways. Some will feel baffled, others excited, and some will feel as if nothing had changed.
The tutor should be sensitive to their reactions, especially to those that were adversely affected. This is a trial-and-error method wherein you are experimenting on ways to encourage your students to learn English effectively.
First off, this is not a walk in the park that will make the teacher’s life easy. This is an activity that should be mutually beneficial to both the tutor and learners. The focus should be, “Did the students learn from the lecture?”
Here are some guidelines to help the tutor roll out little improvements to generate a healthy classroom environment.
It is crucial to figure out how to control your emotions and animosity. You will find controlling your class less demanding. Work on restraining your feelings, gestures, meaningful looks, manner of speaking and remarks.
In case of students, toughies or bullies, who cause disturbances, let them have their moment to avoid any altercation. A tête-à-tête after class will go a long way towards understanding their concerns and bringing yours to their attention. Another way is to give them classroom assignments to keep them busy.
The ability to laugh in front of your students will show that you are human after all. Break the ice by telling a funny story or a joke, this will place your learners at ease.
Sarcasm invites tension and can create difficult situations. Students may react differently, so it is a good move to get rid of it from your classroom.
Do not take things personally
If ever a learner behaves improperly, always have in mind that this adverse reaction is not directed at you. These are individuals who have a different culture, something that is normal to you maybe not to them.
Be less judgemental and take yourself out of the equation, the tutor should learn to extend patience and be more understanding. By putting yourself in their shoes, you will be able to discern that you have a learner that is in distress and needs your help.
This will make the circumstance less daunting and easier to solve.
Show your students that you are an expert in your craft and let them feel that everything that you do is for their benefit. There are a lot of online teaching materials that will help you create a healthy classroom environment.
At the onset, inform students that there are some regulations to follow, yours and the school. Explain to them that adherence to the rules will enrich their development both personally and in their school life.
Post these in a portion of the classroom that will be accessible to anyone so that they can read it now and then.
A student spends more time in school than at home, this means that a learner is more associated with the teacher than their parents. Objectively speaking, the teacher is considered as a second parent. Act the part and your student will enjoy their journey towards learning English.
An effective way to develop the English proficiency for learners is to associate students with each other to hasten their learning process.
English tutors should allot some time to pair students with different proficiencies to work together on school undertakings in an organized manner.
Numerous researches indicate that pairing students who are non-English speakers with native speakers had shown positive outcomes on student learning.
• Working in pair is an effective way of discussing the lecture of the teacher. The interaction is a medium of determining the correct and incorrect responses to the lesson.
• They will be able to help each other to keep in tune with their studies.
• The tutor will have an insight on the learner’s strengths and weaknesses and can prepare a study guide or plan to facilitate their English proficiency.
Suggestions to make student-pairing work
1. Teachers should allocate about two hours per week to pair students and involve them in reading and speaking activities.
At the onset, the tutor should be oriented on the student-pairing system. Training should not be lengthy and should be applied at the beginning of the session so that teachers can apply this immediately.
The activities of the student-pairing should focus on oral reading fluency, word meaning, syntax, and comprehension. Youngsters should be given routines that are simple and explained clearly. Older learners can be given sophisticated strategies for providing feedback to their partners. Likewise, they can help each other out in learning comprehension and vocabulary.
2. Use pairing to improve English proficiency
Student-pair can team up on reading a text and then discuss this afterward to check if they understand it correctly. They can summarize the content using a template. Perhaps, after reading they could be provided with questions or write the meaning of the text.
The tutor must be wary if the tandem is working properly or not. There might be indifference between the pair and a change in partner might be a good move to make this work.
Roadblocks and solutions to make the student-pairing work
1. Tutors might feel that that the allotted time for student-pairing will be disadvantageous to other learners.
All students can take part, the teacher need not prepare additional exercises. With this scheme, the instructor can analyze the training needs of the English learner and can prepare a study plan to address their issues. Students who have learning handicaps or slow learners, average, and above-average will benefit from working with a partner. The program must be structured in a way that that the activities are well planned and implemented properly.
Student-pairing does not replace a teacher’s classroom lecture. It is a substitute for some seatwork and round robin reading that students do.
2. Tutors are concerned about the time consumed by learners to adjust to the system.
Once the system had been adopted by the students, this can be used in various grade levels.
It will be a routine activity in the class schedule.
3. Tutors feel that this takes time away from their lectures.
The student-pairing replaces some of the seatwork and round robin reading and should not take away time from the teacher’s lecture. Actually, it is putting into practice what the teacher has taught.
For migrants in the United States, learning to communicate in English is a necessity.
• Immigration laws require immigrants to learn and speak English before they can attain citizenship.
• You would definitely want to learn English if you want to increase your chances of landing on the dream job of yours.
• It is important to know the laws and the rights that will protect you in a foreign country.
• This will help you fit into the mainstream English-speaking society, gain friends, adjust to your new embraced culture, and open the door to opportunities that awaits you.
• Objectively speaking, it was your personal choice to reside in the United States and should adjust to your new environment and not the other way around.
There are available resources that will help non-native speakers learn English. Based on my research here are some of them.
Through the internet you will find a lot of online sites offering English as Second Language (ESL) tutoring. No matter where your country of origin, there are tutors who are native speakers that will place you in the same page towards your journey to learning English.
Earning a degree through online classes will put you in the same footing with a student who completed one in an academic institution.
Compared to a campus based program, online tutoring is cheaper, can be customized based on your training needs, and flexible on time.
Learning English through the web
There are free sites that translate different native dialects into English. This cover instructional materials from the basic alphabets combine these to produce words and then to sentences and conversations.
Video materials and voice over spokespersons will teach you how to pronounce the equivalent English word. Associate it with other words to demonstrate how you can communicate.
Download a dictionary apps in your phone. If you are in a conversation, it will take a few seconds to convert the English word to another dialect or vice versa.
Anki is a program which makes recalling things easy and can be used in learning a language. This can be downloaded in your computer for free.
A learner can prepare his own card using his native word and the equivalent English translation. It supports images, videos, and audio to help recollection fast and easy. Start with simple words working your way to phrases and more. Once, you have prepared numerous cards you can group them into themes and prepare decks of cards.
It works on a spaced repetition system. Whenever you answer a question, your level of difficulty in remembering will be recorded. Whether you remembered it completely, made a small mistake, completely forgot it, trouble in recalling, and how easily you remembered it. The program will process this feedback and will decide when the question will appear again.
Check out your local bookstore
Take time out to leaf on books, magazines, and other reading materials that will help you learn English. Good materials are pricey but compare this with the benefits that you will gain and it is still a bargain.
The library is a good source of materials but expect outdated paperbacks.
ESL learners come from diverse cultural backgrounds and different level of language skills. They have one thing in common – they need to learn to communicate in English. This will open their door to a lot of opportunities like: friendship, employment, self-confidence…and more.
Every individual has his unique characteristics, the tutor should take time to know more about the learner. Based on the information, the tutor can assess their training needs and customize a study plan or a guide to help the learner.
It requires investment in time for both parties to build a foundation of trust and understanding. You are well on your way to an enriching experience, the more you know about them, the better equipped you will be in addressing their issues.
Evaluate the Learner’s language skills
At the onset, check on their English skills. Confer with the student, If he can hold a discussion in English but unable to read and write or vice versa?
Some Asian countries focus on teaching written English and syntax whereas oral aptitude fall behind. Migrants who had acquired their English in the city neighbourhood might have no ability in composing English.
There are students who appear to be familiar with the language, however when the topic changes they fail or find a hard time to communicate.
You might meet a learner who might not be good in oral communication but can write well. This might be due to bashfulness instead of a lack in comprehension.
Discern where the learner will use English?
With this information, the tutor can prepare a study plan or guide to equip the student with his learning needs. There are numerous possibilities where this will be used:
• Job interview
• Social gatherings
• Watching television
Know about their culture
Learn from what country they came from and their culture. Embracing their ethnic attitudes and ideals will save both of you from embarrassment or accidental infraction. To illustrate, a black cat brings bad luck to others, but to some it is the reverse.
There are a lot of resources to gain information, the internet and the library. Ask your student, you can learn more from them.
Inquire about topics that they are uncomfortable
Consider political issues or religious beliefs, some learners might have some traumatic experiences on these, cross them out from your study plan. Some might have fled from their country or have immigration issues and do not want to answer personal questions.
Talk about food, some students do not eat pork and you can orient them about the foodstuffs that contain pork in the supermarket.
You can’t learn all about your student in a single meeting. Numerous influences might impact a student’s performance in their attendance, outlook, and focus. The tutor should be aware with these issues to better assist the learner.
• Foreigners encounter culture shock and homesickness
• Adverse life experiences that may have left some shocking memories that resulted in fears or anxiety.
• Family problems have emotional influence on a student’s performance.
• Some students might have legal issues with obtaining the proper visa to live in the United States and live in fear of being deported.