Friday, 17 January 2014

10 Tips for Teaching ESL / EFL to Adults

Teaching adults can be difficult due to their busy lifestyles and reasons for learning English. Here are 10 tips to help you out in your adult English classes.

1. Set goals. Adults, and especially business people, are usually very goal orientated. They know what they want to do this year and often have a five year plan. Use this to your advantage in the classroom and have students set both short and long term goals focusing on their English language learning.

2. Give homework. Adults are busy. They have to deal with work and family and now English, however, you still should give your students homework. Why? It's simple, most people won't review what was done in class unless they have a reason, so give homework. Keep homework short, simple, and relevant. 10 to 30 minutes is all it should take to finish an assignment.

3. Have fun. After working all day or having to get up early for an English class, students want to have fun. Now don't think that by having fun students can't learn. Quite the contrary, students who have fun will be more motivated to learn. Make sure you met your objectives when you have fun in class and both you and your students will enjoy class more. Look into using different learning styles in class.

4. Ask for feedback. It can be hard to ask your students to be candid about your teaching, but it'll help. By asking your students about your classes you can ensure that you're tailoring your lessons to their needs. In addition, they will be more likely to learn if you're teaching something that's useful to them .

5. Make it relevant. Many adults are taking English for a specific reason. Some may want to go to your classes, others are forced to by their superiors. Find out why they are attending your class and what they expect after the class is done. Maybe they want to pass an international exam or be able to give presentations in English. Focus your class on their needs.

6. Focus on technology. Answering emails, talking on the phone, or giving business presentations is one reason why adults take English classes. You might want to look at emails your students have written or have to write. You can also give them hypothetical situations and have them answer an email, role play a telephone conversation, or give a short presentation in class.

7. Give them feedback. Just like you should ask your students for feedback, you should give them feedback. If possible, you could give feedback at the end of each class. If that's not possible, try to give thorough feedback after they hand in assignments, quizzes, tests, or exams.

8. Assess your students. Short quizzes and tests are particularly useful for letting both you and your students know what they've understood and what they have to work on more.

9. Keep a portfolio. By showing your students how their English was at the beginning of class and what it's like a couple months later will help keep your students motivated.

10. Prep for the future. Often your students will have a specific project that they have to complete. Try to work on that in class and help them out as necessary.

Here are some more ideas and lesson plans for teaching adults. 

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