Instructing Non English Speaking Students with these Tips

Teaching English can be challenging when dealing with native speakers. Adding non english speaking students to the mix can multiply the challenge factor.

Tips for Teaching Non English Speaking Students

Here are some tips for teaching non-english speaking students.

1. Speak more slowly during instruction

As a native speaker, its natural for you to speed up your speech when speaking. But for students who are ESL, this can be difficult to understand, especially if you are speaking too quickly to begin with.

At a comfortable rate of speaking, pause before and after sentences. This will let students do what they need to do, such as taking notes, drawing a picture, or explaining the concept to their peers.

2. Explain sayings, idioms, metaphors etc.

English speakers understand each other when we say “It’s raining cats and dogs”. But imagine how confusing this statement must be for someone who speaks another language?

This is why an ESL teacher must take time to explain these quirks of English. That way, non english speaking students understand it isn’t literally raining cats and dogs. It only means that it is raining heavily.

3. Use writing, charts and diagrams

There’s nothing like visual aids to help illustrate a point you are teaching. Students who write keywords that are on the board, or who are given visual cues find that it helps them process meaning more easily.

If you give a quiz question orally, provide students with a written version. When writing, use a number of different formatting styles, so that students have to process with their eyes as well as their ears.

When you do write on the board, make sure you print legibly. This way students don’t mistake words you have written for others.

Give them written information about homework assignments and exams. If they take notes while this is given orally, they may be confused about what was said.

4. Pair native speakers with non-native speakers

This give non english speaking students the opportunity to practice. This not only helps improve their English skills, but also exposes them to a new culture and language.

It’s also great for native speakers because they learn more about different cultures and language. Plus it brings a feeling of unity among all students, which is really fun.

5. Don’t have long, drawn out lecturers

Remember that students who are learning English are having every learning skill taxed at the same time. A short lecture allows the students to get up, walk around and breathe before it gets too heavy for them.

It also allows them to better assimilate what they’ve learned so far.

6. Give them writing practice

Don’t forget writing is an important component of language learning. Don’t simply lecture for an hour and ignore the writing component.

Set up writing practice, but make it more fun than work for your students. Make sure to have practice sheets in advance, with an example of writing ended up going on the last page.

To Wrap Up: Learning English is fun

Ultimately, this is the idea you want your students to come away with. The more they are taught to understand what they hear, the more they will understand the English language.

This is an extremely important idea that you should be teaching to your students. With these ideas in mind, students will continue to want to learn more English and will be more able to enjoy the classroom experience.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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