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Ten common problems in ESL class

Updated on February 10, 2011

ESL is a subject is something that can make most teachers struggle to teach. It is important to identify and focus on important topics to be covered and also weak areas of the student when teaching this subject to make it an effective learning session. There are several common problems that occur in ESL class and as a good teacher you should be on the lookout for these and identify them correctly. A slight change in the teaching methodology can make a world of difference to the student. Here is what you need to look out for:

Making the switch: Most students tend to feel out of their skin conversing in English, but make it a strict rule that all conversations in the class will only be in English. If a student finds himself or herself switching back to his or her own language in between make it a point to discuss with the child taking some extra time to feel more confident. Most of the time, it is a fear of looking funny or mispronunciations that lead them to do this.

Students may be overly relying on the teacher: It is important to communicate to the child that he or she has to develop their own skills. The ESL class is meant to encourage the student and hence the teacher must make it a point to let the student answer on his own rather than look to her every time for an answer.

Defiance, distracting tactics and disruptive behavior: The student may be insecure about the learning environment or classes or simply being aggressive. Make it clear that such behavior will not be acceptable or tolerated. Assert dominance in the classroom and also discuss with him or her corrective action or assignments after class hours as a disciplinary action.

Clarity of instructions: You are teaching them a new language and they may not always understand what you want them to do immediately in an assignment. Make sure you explain very clearly what you want them to do. In addition, use clear gestures, speak clearly and discuss with them so as to gauge their understanding of an assignment immediately.

Combating boredom: There may be a tendency to be distracted or bored as the new language is literally Greek and Latin to them. Make sure you find activities to pepper the class and also engage their attention with flash cards, presentations, projectors, occasional movies and so on that will help them understand the cultural implications of the subject and thus more comfortable in conversing in and learning the language.


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