The Most Important Teaching Strategies and Techniques ESL Need to Use
Upon completion of my TESOL course, the best thing I have learned is actually plural and not limited to one item. Most importantly a TESOL instructor needs to be able to reach all students with varying needs, styles and preferences of learning in order to ensure the highest degree of probability that his or her students learn English, while keeping all students in the class as engaged as possible at all times.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Dina P.
For this reason, I have developed an ongoing list of strategies and techniques that I have learned that will hopefully reach all learners using visual, audio, tactile and kinesthetic materials and approaches which include: responsive, collaborative learner-directed activities and more controlling teacher-directed items.
Total Physical Response (TPR) is great for students with limited English because it assures listening comprehension but does not expect oral responses back and when the student performs appropriately you know he or she understands. This is also fun because it allows for the learners to be moving around a bit in the class. Additionally, more complex commands and tasks can be used for more advanced speakers.
Activities to use in the classroom
Free dialogue and role-play activities can create entertaining ways to elicit spontaneous conversations. One great example for free dialogue is using a sequence of a cartoon and cutting out the words to simply use the illustrations to start to see what the characters would say.
Language experience is another great way to allow the student to recount a personal experience, or retelling of a news item or event description and then use the key words as a guide to build on before requiring the student to revise and edit the story following the teacher's feedback and corrections.
Starting a bilingual dictionary and using real objects and pictures to communicate word meanings encourages linking the English to the image and avoids translating it and this could be a valuable tool and resource for home-study and after the class ends.
Depending on the age of the learners going on field trips to a grocery store, restaurant, museum, park or any place relevant where they have the opportunity to hear other voices speaking English is another great idea and can lead to countless class discussions and writing.
Also read: 7 Activities for Teaching the Past Progressive for the ESL Classroom
Music and holidays provide for a variety of vocabulary topics, and function as great bonding tools. The best songs are those with rhyming words and repetitive phrases. When using a holiday as a theme, students can compare and contrast their native cultures to those of the English language countries. Closure on the unit could even include a potluck meal and that could lead to another unit on foods and cooking, thus proving numerous teaching opportunities.
Another resource which no student really objects to is playing games. A monopoly board could be changed and used to test nouns, parts of speech, verb tenses and hangman games are great when there are only a few minutes left in class or as a class opening activity.
Using technology in the classroom
In today's world technology is extremely wide-spread in very present in the world of foreign language and TESOL learning. Using the internet is excellent for practice with authentic and non-authentic teaching materials, researching famous person biographies, company profiles, playing vocabulary building games or practicing grammar drills. Besides the internet, watching a TV program, the daily news or even publicity commercials are great forms of language acquisition, which could consequently lead to writing a group dialogue and filming a video or TV commercial in class.
In conclusion, all learners will benefit in the end when a TESOL facilitator uses a diverse and varied selection of instructional approaches and methods and creates a safe and supportive learning environment which in turn positively motivates all students in the classroom.
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