Teaching English as a second Language

To study English as a second language will be a daunting task as there are so many different meanings for one word on many ocassions. For example the word ‘rode’ can mean on a horse or that piece of bitumen that the car travels on, or the word ‘wood’ can mean part of a tree or you ‘would’ like to do something or the word ‘great’ may mean huge or in another spelling ‘grate’ to peel an apple or cheese, or again a metal protector over a drain.There are so many variations on the one sound. So number one rule, explain that this is possible and to ask about each individual word or look up a Thesauras and find the different meanings.

Secondly, there are various ways of pronouncing English words and it should be pointed out that depending on your pronunciation you may give a different slant to a word. For example with the word ‘fight’ if pronounced ‘fete’ can have a different meaning. The word ‘ferry’ could be mistaken for ‘fairy’ and so on.

Thirdly, I would explain that English can be made much more colourful by using adjectives and adverbs when attempying to describe something clearly. Instead of saying a ‘tree there’ describe it as ‘tall’, ‘green’, ‘leafy’, ‘type of tree’, etc. Similarly, when using verbs colour them with adverbs like running ‘quickly’, ‘fast’ or ‘swiftly’ or talking ‘slowly,’ ‘clearly,’ etc.

Fourthly, sentence structure is important, so I would give plenty of written exercises showing the placement of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs and proper nouns. I would use a tachistascope which is basically a speed shutter and flash phrases commonly used in English onto a screen so they became embedded in the memory. The tachistascope is like a shutter lens fitted onto the normal lens of a projector.The shutter speeds vary from 1/25 second to 1/125th of a second. They are commonly used in efficient or speed reading courses to help people take in lines of words or phrases quickly. By running various slides with English phrases such as ‘amongst the flowers’ or ‘on the weekend’,if the student sees these on a regular basis they will become second nature after a while.

Fifthly, I would encourage the role of acting where students read out of a play book and play a character role so that they can become used to typical situations in an English speaking country where phrases and statements are used and they can see the context. They may be able to stage the play if they become confident.

Sixthly, put the students out where the action is and they are forced to learn their new words by putting them into actual practice. For instance go on an outing where they have to order a meal, fill the petrol tank and pay for it, and buy a train ticket and so on. Do many community activities so they can see how an English speaking country uses its language on a day to day basis.

Seventh read, read, read, read. Encourage as much reading as possible to see how the language speaks when put together in a book. There is no substitute for reading and the student could even be encouraged to write a book if only small.

Eighth take the student to a film and they can see how English us used by the actors and actresses in the context of the scene they are in. Get them to watch a lot of television to do the same thing.

Your student should improve over time if they follow these tips.