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Sarah676

Any tips for a soon-to-be ESL tutor?

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Hi guys! So next week I'm going to start working as an ESL tutor at my college, and I'm just wondering if you guys have any tips about how I can be the best tutor possible. Those of you who have learned English as a second language, what things did your teachers/tutors do that really helped you, and what things should I avoid? What did you find most difficult about learning English?

Any advice you can give is appreciated.

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I have learned English as my second language for serveral years, and my teacher is native English speaker. I will answer your questions as what i have done with my teacher.

What things did your teacher do that really helped you?

She was very friendly, she usually asked me to pronounce a word so many times if i pronounced wrong. I learned  how to talk confidently, how to write research paper, how to listen to key words, how to read long article.

What things should I avoid?

I think that student learn ESL come from different country so you should expect there culture cause sometime you feel weird what they say.

What did you find most difficult about learning English?

Writting skill is always difficult to me. There are so many ways you have to learn to make correctly sentences. Research paper usually give me a headach cause i have to work with more than a thousand words in one week. Its very hard for international student.

Hope my answer helps you.

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Hey, thanks for your reply! I think the main thing for me to remember is that things that would be fairly easy for a native speaker - such as writing a 1000-word paper - are a lot harder for non-native speakers because of all the extra work they have to put into using the language correctly. So I'll definitely keep that in mind!

Your English is really good by the way!

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I taught an ESL class for a few months abroad, and currently tutor an ESL student weekly. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to try to be realistic with your expectations. It takes a long time to learn a language, and you're setting yourself up for frustration if you expect to make huge strides. Focus more on specific things (learning this one vocabulary list, or reading this certain book). And realize you can't fix everything in just a weekly tutoring session.

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My biggest piece of advice is to make learning a pleasant experience. Most of my older students hated English because of their school based learning experiences. Choose conversation/ study topics that are interesting and relevant to your students. Learn about your students likes and dislikes and use their hobbies and activities as a base for your lessons. Create a relaxed atmosphere where they are not afraid to ask questions and encourage them to ask questions (in Engish of course!!). Good luck and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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You should have a good sense of humor, and not be easily embarrassed.  This is not so much for the language parts, but because of the culture differences.  I had an Iranian roommate once, and he would put his used toilet paper in the trash can instead of flushing it.  It took me a long time to be able to talk to him about this because I was embarrassed about the subject matter. 

Consequently, for those who don't know, this is a common practice in places where there is poor plumbing, because toilet paper can clog the toilets.  However, not a problem in America.  Simple conversation later and it was no longer an issue and I learned something.

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I am currently an ESL teacher for Koreans online aside from my work as a freelance writer and we use scanned book online, articles taken from their websites, other documents as sources of everyday lessons. As a teacher, I listen attentively to their pronunciation, correct use of grammar and reading comprehension among others.  :wink: Teaching English as a second language can be fun and both the teacher and her students can both learn from each other. Good luck on your ESL teaching job.

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Sarah, if your group is conformed by adults or young adults, then there isn't much to worry about.  A tip the guy who was training me told me is to never use the word ''whatever'', he told me I should never use it in front of the students, because they that would give them a very wrong impression and might not take me seriously anymore.  So... try to be as serious as it can get! 

Try to show your students you are a serious teacher and they should listen to you.  I made the mistake of not being so serious since the start, one of my teen students wouldn't do what I asked her to during class.  Needless to say she almost runs my group's dynamics...

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Though I haven't been an ESL tutor or teacher before, I do have some friends who've been ESL tutors before. The one piece of advice they always tell me (should I want to be a tutor) is that we should always take into consideration the kind of culture the people we're teaching have, because with this, we can easily identify their interests, their hobbies, and effectively find a teaching method that is effective for them. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten the chance to ask them for examples, but this was the biggest advice they gave me regarding their short experiences both abroad and with foreign students.

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I find this thread very timely and helpful as I'm about to start teaching English to Japanese and Taiwanese students. One of the tips I got from my former professor is to just continue reading. Another advice I got was to also watch a lot of foreign films and series as that's how I can learn the correct pronunciation of words which I can teach to my students. :)

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If you are teaching to Japanese students, I have found that it is always helpful for them to have the "Japanese pronunciation" of a long, complicated word. For example, if you were to teach the word "internationally," break it down for them in Japanese chunks before giving them the proper pronunciation. Inu-teru-na-shion-na-ru, or something like that :) This may seem counter intuitive and a bit weird, but I have found that when they are able to map a word in their head with Japanese chunks, they are more likely to get the right pronunciation when they start practicing.

Good luck!  :party:

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There are some pretty good advice in this thread, and I'm going to add my own two cents.

I think the first thing you need to do is make your student feel comfortable.  Language learning can be embarrassing for most students, especially adults.  They have to make a lot of mistakes and if they don't feel safe to make mistakes, they will stop trying.  So be sure to tell your student that it's okay to make mistakes and that nobody will make fun of them in your class.

Another thing is to be patient.  When you ask a question, pause and give your student time to answer.  Sometimes, when we ask something and the student is slow to respond, we immediately rephrase the question thinking that the student did not understand the question.  The problem is sometimes the student is still trying to understand your original question//or is trying to form his answer and by rephrasing it immediately you are giving him more words to decipher.  Personally, I feel it best to just repeat the original question and give the student the chance to figure it out and come up with his answer.  Only when it becomes really obvious that he did not understand will I try to rephrase the question or ask more questions to find out where the breakdown.

Hope these help.  Good luck to you teaching.

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I'm planning to be an ESL teacher myself and some of the tips provided are really helpful. In my own opinion, however, one of the best ways to excel in the ESL field aside from mastery of the English language is the passion to impart knowledge and the patience for challenging students. Most first-time learners of the English language are beset by language barriers so as a teacher it is your job to understand them. You also need to learn a bit of their language so you can reach out and help them understand your lessons better.

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All these tips are very helpful to me also, because I'll soon be doing my first private ESL tutoring job. It will be more than just once or twice a week as I'll actually be a live-in tutor. I'm already considering her interests and what she works with, in order to make it more relevant and fun for her. I'm hoping that will give me a good start with her.

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Here are some things I found helpful during my training to become an ESL teacher. Firstly, it helps to consider all the different learning styles of your students. We were taught the VARK method:

V = Visual. Powerpoint presentations, images, movie clips, etc.

A = Aural. Speaking and listening practice.

R = Reading. From books or exercises you prepare.

K = Kinaesthetic. Get the class moving by playing some language related games.

You can't always cover all of these in one lesson but you certainly can over the course of several lessons.

Also, try to vary the focus in the class between teacher-class, student-student and group work. Make sure you aren't too teacher-focused (stood at the board talking all the time). Get the students talking together.

Good luck and have fun :)

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My very simplistic advice: Do NOT forget you are a teacher, not a buddy. While it's great to be friends with your learner, being too friendly with them sometimes get in the way of the student's learning. So, do not lose focus on your teaching goal for the day because of unnecessary chitchats. For example, if your student's weakness is writing. Then make sure that your session tackles your writing lessons for the day. Because if you do, and you end up chatting more than doing the writing exercises, you'll only achieve on improving your students speaking skill, and not his writing skill.

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Be patient with your students.  Offer as much encouragement as you can muster.  Lastly take pride in the accomplishments of your ESL students.  Their mastery is a reflection of your competency as their teacher.

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As an ESL Student, I hope there is an ESL teacher that can improve my pronunciation, because some people don't understand my English. However, I am pretty helpless because I have no idea how to improve my accent because I can't really hear my voice exactly as others do. Therefore, I hope there is an ESL teacher that can help students to improve their accents.

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I once tried my hand at teaching some Koreans English and I was somewhat successful at it. I had no formal training but I just thought I could teach them the way I was taught in elementary school so I did just that. I found that using pictures is a good way to start as well as just starting out with the alphabet to have a better foundation. Also having a word of the day helps tons.

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Hey all.

This is a complex subject that can hardly be covered in a simple forum post, but I'll try to be concise for you all.

Besides the comments already made, an ESL tutor or teacher should:

-- Identify his/her personal strengths (grammar, conversation, writing, pronunciation, etc.)

-- Research that strength until he/she knows it better than the back of his/her hand

-- Base all information sharing in the classroom upon that strength

Once a teacher has identified this strength, the next step is to create a basic class structure that will be used in each and every class. This structure may be:

1. Warm-up (five minutes)

2. Theme presentation (ten minutes)

3. Useful phrases and vocab (ten minutes)

4. Practice exercises (group or pair-work)

5. Evaluation of practice

6. Homework assignment

or any basic structure that best reflects the strength of the teacher (the above was my basic structure for communicative classes with little emphasis on grammar, a lot of emphasis on utterance pronunciation and most emphasis on how to practice both in class and outside of class).

The point of finding your strength is this: ESL students will usually have a variety of teachers in their "career" of learning English. None of those teachers will give them everything they need, nor should they pretend to do so. If your strength is pronunciation, then go for it, teach everything in your class through that filter. If, on the other hand, you know your grammar and structure, then make sure you get this across to your students in the most motivating fashion you can imagine. No matter what the strength may be, by focusing on it you will be doing your students a favor by showing your expertise in the matter-- demonstrating your "vocation" for teaching ESL.

Finally, once you've got your strength and basic class structure down (and the class structure is important, as it will let your students know from the outset just what to expect in each of your classes, allowing them to focus on the material to be practiced and learned and practiced again), make sure you plan more material than you will actually need. If you've slotted five minutes for a warm-up exercise, make sure that the exercise might take ten minutes. Watch the clock, don't allow yourself to go way over time, but having more than enough material makes the time fly for both the teacher and the students. When time flies, students are more eager to come to the next class-- and teacher fatigue becomes impossible.

peace,

revel.

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