How To Teach Proper English To Non-Native Speakers
English is the universal language that we use to converse with everyone else. Non-native English speakers put immense value on learning it because they believe it’s necessary to be competent, particularly globally. They do so that they even seek help from other races who speak the language proficiently to learn.
Teaching English or any language is already a demanding job, but teaching it to people that didn’t speak it as their first language is a different animal. Depending on the demographic, non-native speakers have varying objectives as to why they want to learn English. As aforementioned, it’s about competence for professionals.
Teaching the universal language as a career is now a more viable option than ever because of globalization’s demand. Finding an online teaching job is becoming easier. Being an educator, you’d want your students to learn it properly from you so they can speak and write it with confidence. This article discusses how you can adequately teach English to non-native speakers so you can help them succeed.
Work to get certified
Certification makes you more credible as an English as a second language (ESL) teacher. ESL teachers usually work with all levels of English learners, with most of them being non-native speakers. It’s your job to help these non-native speakers improve their English reading, comprehension, and speaking skills, so receiving proper and specific training helps in doing that well.
Having such a credential will prepare you for anything and everything. It’ll also enhance your chances of securing teaching jobs for private companies or community programs.
You need at least a college degree to be a certified ESL teacher, while a master’s degree is preferred for teaching adult learners. A well-known ESL certification is the Teaching English Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), which is recognized internationally.
Use clear and simple instructions
Instructions are vital in teaching any subject but more so when it’s language. The words that you’re using should be comprehensible. Keep in mind that your students only know a few to zero English words.
Start by using simple words and shorter sentences. You can say: “Please, get your books,” or any material you need them to have. Depending on the setup, you have to accompany your words with gestures.
If you’re teaching English online, then you’ll have to move more. Use more gestures so your students can easily understand what you’re telling them to do. Other than your movements, you can also use visual aids, like a Powerpoint presentation or cue cards.
Using long sentences will confuse your students regardless of their age. Always have them see and hear your instructions so they can absorb and process them easier. Also, don’t progress to more complex words and sentences until you’re sure they’ve learned the basics well enough.
Have your students speak a lot
The next step after having your students listen is to use what they’ve learned. Always use oral communication during all your lectures. It’s the most effective way for you to assess their skills, aside from writing.
Establish a culture of oral participation in your class. Make sure that your class is a safe space for them to speak English without any judgment. Encourage them and constantly remind them that it’s okay to make mistakes.
You can start with group work if you have enough people in the class. If you’re teaching individually, do pair activities with your student to make them feel comfortable and empowered.
Put more context when discussing terminologies
Talking about figures of speech, subject-verb agreement, or verb tenses is a bit advanced for non-native speakers. But, it’s essential that your students understand them if they want to be good enough English speakers. The key is to put more context to these terms during discussions.
Don’t just tell them; show it to them as well for them to understand your lesson with more context. The best approach is to have exercises to know if they understood it or not.
Incorporate innovative ways that make learning fun, such as the use of subtitles in movies and YouTube videos. This also helps give context in multiple scenarios.
Avoid long lectures
Dragging lessons will not make your students better. You have to know when you’ve been talking or showing them too much. Allow them to process and absorb an ample amount of information.
Shorter lectures, combined with plenty of interaction and visual aids, are better for non-native speakers. That way, you can easily see if they’re picking up your lesson. You must know or at least have an idea of their learning pace during lectures, so you can address anyone who’s having difficulties.
Put in enough effort and patience to teach your non-native English speakers students to learn the language. It’s a challenge that will be gratifying and rewarding once you’ve overcome it. Let them learn through engaging and meaningful lectures, activities, and tests, and see them develop as your time with them progresses.
Angelo Castelda is a freelance writer from Asia. Besides writing, he also spends his time traveling and learning about diverse cultures, which opened his heart more to learning and imparting knowledge about ESL.
For children that already know English, check our the 5 reasons to sign your kids up for online Spanish classes.