Voytek

How to teach English without knowing students native language

Recommended Posts

Does anybody know any book (or a course, a film etc.) about teaching English without knowing students native language? I mean students who begin studying English or are at most at level A2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you mean instead of (for example) Polish > English, you want them to teach them English from English?
This is nothing more but immersive teaching and will only work if you motivate your students to use English as a part of their lives, instead of just part of their homework.

My sister teaches business (wo)men English that way in Japan, she said it works really well for most people.
She also told me you will have to be aware of some students who will just see learning English as a mere classroom subject (so they only learn English once a week or something), for them immersive learning won't work.

You should watch this video, what this person says is nothing too different:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I taught a guy English when he didn't speak any English, and I spoke only very basic Spanish (his native language). We were able to communicate through drawings. He'd write and say his word for an item and I'd write and say my word for an item and we were able to communicate that way and his English and my Spanish gradually got better to the point where we can both communicate with each other, and others, in both languages now. It may not work for everyone and was quite time consuming. Some words such as tenses was difficult to get across but that only came when we both knew more of both languages anyway. Items like calendars and clocks can be great for learning numbers and time too.

You'll probably need a few basic words or phrases in their language to make it work well though. For example, needing to know the word for both languages, in both languages. And, depending on the language, you may need to know certain symbols or the alphabet and numbers in their language too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually use a website like thesaurus . com which ensures that you are able to learn new words. I have taught many of friends using such websites.

 

Also, when the students are stuck at the pronunciation the best way is to ensure that you are able to play a youtube video because you have plenty of pronunciation videos on youtube, which would help you in teaching the pronunciation as well.

 

Not exactly a book or a course, but if you want free resources, these 2 are the perfect ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's too difficult because you can't communicate properly with the student because you don't know the native language of the student. Try to teach your student in English and use some gestures to make him understand. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well this would certainly be a really big hurdle to have to go through, but it makes me curious where this would even happen.  The only thing that is coming to mind is some kind of war scenario where you are not sure where a potential enemy is from or something...or maybe I just watch too many movies.  I am thinking though and still coming up with nothing, so I am curious to see if anyone can give me a circumstance.  It would be difficult though, that is for sure.  Interesting stuff, and thanks for sharing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You absolutely can do this. Back in February I did a short English teaching course. At one point a teacher from Bosnia, who spoke very good English, came in and gave us an impromptu half-hour lesson in Bosnian. English was totally verboten or whatever the Bosnian word for that is. She used pictures of faces as well as her own facial expressions and mimes. The lesson started off with just "Hello. How are you?" and gradually built on that. I can still remember how to say "I've got a headache" in Bosnian now! The trick was lots of repetition, lots of exaggerated gestures, and always building on what we did before.

The point of the exercise was to show us that you can teach a language without knowing any of their native language. I've since been teaching English to a Burmese refugee even though I don't know a word of Burmese, although he did know some English (not a lot) before I met him.

I don't know of any courses that deal with this, but they must be out there somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's definitely possible, as poftim just pointed out. In China, there are lots of English teachers that have absolutely no clue about the Chinese language. In my opinion, at least for teachers teaching beginners, it is much better if the teacher knows the native language of the students. It doesn't really matter too much for advanced students, though. It can be even an advantage, as the students will just really hear the target language at all times, so they really have to focus to understand things and are not given examples in their native language all the time --> I guess teachers that do know the native language of their students tend to explain too much in the native language of the students, which can maybe in some cases hinder the progress of language learning. 

 

poftim likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, our Bosnian teacher demonstrated that it was possible, but she was very good at it. There's no way (yet) I'd be able to do what she did. The fact that my Burmese student knows some English makes it much easier to teach him without knowing any of his language. It's still quite hard, even so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Hollywood movies with English subtitles works in most cases. As long as the learner knows basic English. Then, you slowly move to content that doesn't have subtitles. Its an interesting way to learn and has worked in the past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now