Education & Training

How To Teach Proper English To Non-Native Speakers?

English is a universal language. It is also a very important skill to have to join today’s workforce. It is also commonly spoken in many countries around the world. Many countries also teach most of their major subjects to students in English, whether it be in elementary school or the university.

So even non-native speakers need to have at least a basic knowledge about the language. They should be able to say a few sentences or ask for help. When applying to study or work in foreign countries, applicants also have to attach the language level of English proficiency they have.

So even if they did not need to speak proper English in their home country, they would have to know the basics to adjust to their new life. It is also essential when you are travelling to foreign countries to have a basic grasp of English.

So English as a Second Language is popular in most countries. Whether it be kids or adults, non-native speakers try to learn English to hone their skills or better opportunities. Therefore, it is often a common subject learned by people around the world.

It can often be challenging to learn a language. While English is comparatively an easy language to learn, it can be difficult for English non-native speakers to have a proper grasp of the language. It can also be challenging for ESL (English as a Second Language) English teachers to teach proper English to Non-Native Speakers.

So with the challenges at hand, how can you teach proper English to Non-Native speakers. Well, you have some tips and tricks at hand for you. Here is a guide of how you can simplify the task of teaching ESL:

● Practice English grammar

Learning English grammar can be tricky when you are learning a new language. It can be hard to understand the basic sentence structures while speaking and writing. So start with basic sentence structures when you are teaching ESL and go up according to the lesson.

Plan your lesson revolving around the initial lessons on the sentence structure as they get better, to introduce more complex subjects, including singularity/plurality and tenses.

The basics can be incredibly hard for most non-natives and natives, so be patient with them. There are many TEFL (Teaching English as a second or Foreign Language) resources available to increase their confidence in having a good grasp of English grammar.

It is also suggested to practice good English grammar from the beginning itself as they might get habituated. Once they establish a habit of using sentences improperly, it will be hard to discontinue them.

● Keeping it simple

ESL English teachers should always use easy vocabulary when going to the initial lessons. Non-native English speakers often do not understand complex vocabulary when they just understand the basic language they need.

Bring it back with using just simple sentences. We suggest you not use complex sentences as well. It will be best to progress with your students and help them use more conjunction in sentences after they get good at simple sentences.

Non-Native English speakers also do not understand idioms or phrases that might be common for English speakers. So make a conscious effort to avoid idioms when it comes to teaching ESL.

It is also important to slow down your speech along with avoiding phrasal verbs and idioms. Native English speakers often have certain accents which non-native English speakers find hard to understand.

● Visuals to the rescue

Whether it be teaching ESL to children or adults, using visuals can go a long way. It is a known fact that using visual aids while studying helps retain a better memory. They will help your students learn better and faster.

Using visual aids to teach non-native speaker students has to be tied to a good lesson plan. It can be used by bringing a bag of groceries to the class and talking about it. It can also mean assigning homework to students where they have to name certain objects in English.

This can also be used for advanced courses to use cue cards and flashcards to have quizzes on the English language. Overall, it is found that students have a better understanding of the course if they have visual aids.

It will also help make the boring and monotonous class more interesting to the students.

● Be gentle

As we stated earlier, teaching English to non-native speakers can be a challenging task for most English teachers. It can get frustrating at sometimes as the student might stray away from making progress at times.

But an English teacher has to remember to remain gentle and patient. It can be hard for non-native speakers to get a good hold of the language. As an English teacher, it is your job to remain calm and address their issues, no matter how silly it is to you.

It would help if you answered more questions related to how it is done rather than why it is done. Teach your non-native-speaking students that the rules are not to be stressed about and practice more with them.

Practicing English is one of the best ways one can help them improve. When you correct them, do so gently, so they will not be embarrassed to ask you more questions.

● Give them some time to adjust

After you teach them a new topic or new issue, give them a certain time to practice. Provide your students with TEFL resources relating to that certain topic. You can also assign them homework regarding the topics that you discussed in class.

Revising the information that they studied in class during their off-hours will help them adjust to it. Do not bombard your students with tons of information in a single class. Take the classes slowly.

Your students will need some time to adjust to something that they just learned. They will also need some additional time to practice them. Help them practice these new topics alongside them in class to yield better results.

You will need to provide them with more time initially than during the later lessons. But be sure to provide them time to practice during complex lessons.

● Use positive reinforcements

Here is another one of the steps to teach English to beginners. If someone makes a mistake, don’t yell, “You’re wrong!” Never embarrass non-native speaker students in front of the entire classroom.

You will scar him or her for life, and he or she will hate English forever because of you. Instead, try to create a friendly atmosphere in the classroom by praising your students often, even when they make mistakes.

For instance, when doing English teaching for beginners, if they get the word right but mispronounce it, say something like, “Okay, good!” and then repeat the word with the correct pronunciation so that you don’t shame the student and the rest of the class gets to hear the right way to say it.

● Classroom tips on teaching ESL

1. Children books

This tip might sound weird, but one of the best ways to learn another language is to start reading children’s books in that language. It is one of those secrets which has worked wonders for new language learners.

Books that are written for children always have a simple use of language. They are uncomplicated and great for language learners.

So what you can do is bring in Children’s storybooks or other children’s books for your students to read in class. This will also help in gradually building up their vocabulary and knowledge of the language.

Provide each student with turns on reading the different stories in a book and interpret where necessary. This way, you can also help them develop their fluency and pronunciation of certain new words.

2. Movies

“What you see is what you remember.” This is one of the best ways to learn as using visual aids hugely helps new language learners.

You can bring in movies that are in English and play them for the class. Begin by bringing in movies that are made for children. These movies have a simple language that will help teach ESL to beginner students.

As your lesson progresses, bring movies that are a little complex when it comes to language. You can also turn on the subtitles so your students can read and know how to speak.

This can be a more practical lesson to help your students learn. It would be best if you also encouraged them to watch more English movies to improve their English while they are being entertained.

3. News

Whether it be news on the TV or from a newspaper, it can be very interesting to hear. But what it can also be helpful in is learning a language.

We suggest you bring in a newspaper to the class and give your students turns while reading the headlines. The newspaper often contains idioms and phrasal verbs in its headlines.

So this method will prove more effective to improve English in advanced learners. This will help them teach the correct way to use some idioms. It will also bring the practicality of learning the language into the discussion.

This will also bring an opportunity for discussion about the pronunciation and meaning of idioms. As the students are reading the newspaper, you will help them pronounce tough words and explain their meanings.

Reading a newspaper in class can also be a fun activity to steer from monotonous lessons. News from TV can be played for non-native speaking students to learn business English.

4. Class activities

We also suggest ESL English teachers have more practical classes rather than just teaching theory to students. It will be more fun and will be retained more in their memory.

Having fun class activities to practice English will provide an opportunity to be creative while teaching. It will also provide an opportunity for you to have a fun English practice session with your class.

Class activities can also make the class more fun and interactive. Students will be willing to participate more to learn during these activities rather than just in regular classes.

Make the class activities more fun by allocating rewards to the winner or the winning team. Encourage students that do not normally participate in going first during the game for them to gain confidence.

Here are some class activities that we have found to have worked for teaching English to Non-native speakers:

a. Charades

Playing charades in class can be a great way to learn English at any language level. This will be a great ice breaker during the initial classes as well.

Divide the class into two or more teams according to the number of students in your class. Allocate a prize to encourage the students.

Start the game by assigning a certain category or a certain thing. One assigned player of each team goes to the front and acts out what the category or thing is.

The other players of the team need to guess what they are acting out and so on. Assign a minute or so for acting out and guessing. This will help build the vocabulary of the students.

b. Pictionary

Pictionary is another game similar to charades. Playing Pictionary in class can be a great way to learn English at any language level. This will be a great ice breaker during the initial classes as well.

Divide the class into two or more teams according to the number of students in your class. Allocate a prize to encourage the students.

Start the game by assigning a certain category or a certain thing. One assigned player of each team goes to the front and draws what the category or thing is.

The other players of the team need to guess what they are drawing and so on. Assign a minute or so for acting out and guessing. This will help build the vocabulary of the students.

c. Flashcards

Bring in flashcards to build the vocabulary of the students. These flashcards can contain pictures and answers.

You can quiz your students with the use of flashcards. It can be a great game when class starts getting boring. You can also allocate prizes for people who make the best guesses.

d. Shiri tori

Shiri tori is a Japanese game. It can be a great game for beginners. It can be best for learning vocabulary.

This game can also be called the “category name” game. To start the game, start by saying a category out loud.

Then your students can take turns by saying the words that belong in the given category. When the answer is repeated, or a student can’t answer, they are out, and you can start a new category again.

For example, you say the category of “clothes to wear”, your students answer a sweater, skirt, shirt taking turns, and so on.

These class activities can be a fun teaching experience for you. They will also be a great learning experience for your non-native speaker students. You can also check for TEFL (Teaching English as a second or Foreign Language) resources for more help.

All of these tips can also be used for non-native speakers to teach English. They can also be used when teaching English online to adults or kids.

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