Useful Techniques to Help Your Students Cope with Stress
Learning English can be a daunting task. There is a great amount of vocabulary, a phonics system that is filled with exceptions, grammar that doesn’t always follow its own rules, and pronunciation that can be difficult to reproduce. A failure to speak and understand English effectively can have damaging effects on a student’s life. They could miss out on a crucial job opportunity, or lose face at a social gathering. It is for these reasons and many more that learning English is often a stressful task for students. It is therefore of vital importance to reduce the amount of stress that a student feels when learning English.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Gregory M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
There are many ways that a teacher can help to alleviate the stresses associated with learning English. The first thing that a teacher can do is to truly understand the students. They need to take the time before class even begins to understand the current abilities of the students and what the students need to learn. This can be obtained through placement tests and diagnostic tests. These ensure that the students are placed in the correct level and that the lessons are designed to build off of the students' current level. This in itself will help to alleviate students' stress. It ensures that the students are not bored by being placed in a level that is too low, while also ensuring the students are not placed into a level that is too far above their level that they will become disinterested in learning further.
Choosing a topic
Another important thing to consider when helping to alleviate stress is the subjects that you choose to cover. Again, here it is very important to understand your students. If you were to choose subjects of little to no interest to the students you would see that their motivation would quickly evaporate. It is therefore vital to choose subjects that will increase the student's participation. For example, many different topics can be discussed when you are trying to demonstrate the proper usage of grammar. Therefore choose a topic that will be of interest to the students. Choose a topic that the students are familiar with and have a good chance to have an opinion on. In this way, students will more naturally be motivated to participate in class.
Once an appropriate topic has been chosen and you have a good understanding of the students it is important to consider how a class will be taught. Very academic centered classes that follow a strict routine can add stress to students and cause them to lose their motivation. It is therefore very important to vary your lessons. The use of games can add variety and increase interest in a lesson. It is also important to do a lot of pair and group work so that the lessons are more student-focused and give them more chances to speak in more intimate settings. It is also important to not be too overly critical of the students. It is not productive to correct every error. This can add stress to the students and may result in reducing their motivation to answer questions. It is important to note common errors and perhaps bring this up in a later class or at the end of a class.
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As you can see there are many ways that a teacher can help alleviate the stresses that a student feels when learning English. They can take time to understand their student's abilities and needs, they can choose appropriate and engaging topics, and they can manage their lessons with variety. Learning English is a difficult task that can be made a little easier if the teacher is willing.
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