3 Important ESL Classroom Techniques


3 Important ESL Classroom Techniques

As ESL teachers, we are doing so much more than teaching grammar; we are helping our students learn to communicate.  Implementing these three important techniques in your ESL classroom will create an  environment where students flourish.


1-Communicative Activities

We want our students to be able to do more than just fill in a gap.  They won't be answering multiple choice questions in the streets or as they travel.  We want them to be able to communicate, to express their ideas and needs.  We need to create and utilize activities that are lifelike, that stimulate situations in the real world. 

Yes, yes.  They need the gap fills and multiple choice questions as a base to get a solid grasp of the grammar we are teaching, but it shouldn't stop there.  Once they have a good understanding of how to form the grammar we are teaching and why we are using it, they should be given opportunities to put it all together in a natural way.

Which brings me to my next point.


2-High Student Talk Time

These communicative activities should get the students talking!  After having the grammar and vocabulary foundation, the students should get plenty of activities to speak freely.   Surveys, ranking activities, role-play situations and the like are great activities to implement to increase student talk time in the ESL classroom.

Don't fool yourself.  You also need to ensure low teacher talk time.  The class is not for you to practice your English!  Try to limit your opinion and personal anecdotes.  Ask the students about their opinions and stories.  Always ask follow up questions, in particular, open-ended questions:  Why?  How?  What do you mean?  Can you give me an example?  Questions with "yes" or "no" answers are very limiting. 



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3-Error Correction

While our students are talking, we need to make sure we always have a pen and paper to write down all of the mistakes we hear our students make.  This can be difficult with high intermediate and advanced students.  As it is fairly easy for them to communicate their ideas, it's easy for us to excuse their mistakes.  They want us to correct them!  So open your ear and be picky!

 Typically, pronunciation errors should be corrected immediately.  We don't want our students to have incorrect pronunciations imprinted into their memories.  If we don't fix pronunciation, our students think, "Well, no one ever told me I was saying it incorrectly." or "Why hasn't anyone told me sooner?" 

Grammar mistakes, on the other hand, should typically be corrected after the conversation has taken place.  If we are constantly interrupting our students, they could feel hindered in communicating freely.  Give yourself time at the end of every class to do an error correction session.  Write the errors said on the board and ask the students to identify the error and explain how to fix it. 

Once you start incorporating these three ideas into your ESL classroom, you will be surprised at how quickly your students' skills increase.

Ready to put these techniques into practice?  Talk to us today about registering for one of our 4-week, onsite TESOL courses 


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