Teaching ESL Learners

<b> Forum for ESL/EFL teachers working with secondary school students </b>

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Teaching ESL Learners

Post by satter06 » Mon May 28, 2012 2:48 pm

Students come to class with varying levels of english, motivation and reasons for learning english. So as a teacher, we have to be flexible in order to reach all of the students. This can be difficult since so many factors can affect that class. A great lesson in one class could do little to aid the english learning of students in another class. So how do you cater a lesson to the varied needs of your students when the reasons for learning the language and the circumstances that they are in change constantly?

Sally Olsen
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Post by Sally Olsen » Mon May 28, 2012 5:47 pm

Michael Halliday came to visit UBC in May, 2007 and gave an evening talk to a general audience. He said that he had taught Chinese for a number of years. In his first adult class he had 20 students and being nervous thought that there were 20 ways to learn because he found so many differences. After a number of years of teaching he narrowed that down to 8 manageable ways of learning. If you include these 8 ways of learning in your classes you will cover all the ways needed by an adult foreign language class.

1.Some people learn by ear. They are speech oriented so you can give them lectures and talks or have them hear others speak in person or on tape.

2.Some people learn by seeing. They are writing oriented so need to see everything they hear. You can write on the board while you talk or have notes prepared for them to follow along. You can show them pictures, tables and graphs to make things clearer for them.

3.Some people learn from the top down. You can give them a course outline, let them see where they will be going. You can present the overall idea for the individual session so they can see where they are going.

4.Some people learn from the bottom up so you can start at a place they can see is the beginning or is simple and add on for them. A review of what they have learned will help build up their idea of where they have been.

5.Some people attend to sound or form and are expression oriented. These people need things to be broken down for them and to be given reasons for the language. They are usually searching for patterns or rules.

6.Some people attend to meaning and like to learn things that go together to make meaning immediately. They want sentences or whole texts. They want to know how to say, “How much does it cost?”
You can use the details to expand what they want to learn.

7.Some people are actors. They want to perform. They want a chance to practice and want practical situations.

8.Some people are planners and they want to reflect on what they learn before they use it.

If you use all 8 ways to design a lesson, you will have covered what adults and I suspect, children want in a foreign language lesson. You can separate students according to their ways of learning and provide more experiences in their desired method of learning. You can allow them to reflect and not to perform according to their comfort level and so on.
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Great Advice

Post by satter06 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:23 am

Thanks so much. I have been teaching in a typical English classroom setting and have taught in many of the various ways that you outlined. However, in my transition to teaching ESL soon, I am unsure how to really implement these ways of learning into a new setting. I want to do a combination of all of these things and keep my classes motivated through different activities such as pair share, role playing and jigsaws. I'll have to look into Michael Halliday to learn how to implement these techniques more effectively.

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