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Tutoring English for Adult Students

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Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 9
Location: Philippines

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:29 am    Post subject: Tutoring English for Adult Students Reply with quote

Useful tips from a Writer and a Teacher, Prof. Eric Roth

How do you effectively teach English to a struggling private student? What will you actually do for 60-120 minutes together? How will you make the lessons meaningful enough that your client feels satisfied and wants to retain you for future lessons?

First, you must be very clear about what the client wants and expects. Some tutors even present a written contract outlining their rates, the location and times of meetings, and payment policies. Only work with professionals, graduate students, and/or friends and spouses of friends with a solid foundation in English. Be explicit about what you want and don't want to teach a client. Be prepared to provide options for potential clients that you reject.

For students who want to improve their conversation, It is suggested that you select the topic and materials in advance. You can use newspapers, books and/or magazines to find appropriate articles to begin the conversation. You can browse the highly recommended books from here: that provides 45 self-contained thematic chapters-is Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics. The combination of poignant questions, vocabulary lists, proverbs, and witty quotations makes your job much easier.

If you have a weaker student looking to improve their speaking skills, Prof. Roth advise to use a picture dictionary. You might use the Oxford Picture Dictionary to open conversations, and he added that he would be tempted to ask the client to bring in photographs and ads each week. You will need patience and be prepared to repeat words. Many students will want to work on their pronunciation. You can also ask/assign them listening activities on the web.You will have to direct lower levels to websites to practice their listening and speaking skills with drills. They will love the work; you might go mad repeating vowel sounds.

Finally, Prof. Roth said, the key for tutoring ESL students-or anyone else-remains respecting the student, meeting their needs, and providing a solid structure for your lessons. Using a set text, developing a known routine, and combining conversation, vocabulary and writing skills makes for a successful and satisfying experience. Set a clear goal for your lessons, and conclude when the students have reached that goal. You can then become genuine friends and leave money out of the equation.

Or not. You choose. What are your goals for tutoring students?

Eric Roth currently teaches writing and verbal skills to international graduate students at the University of Southern California. Eric has helped university students discover the pleasures and perils of the English language from dozens of countries over the last 15 years. He recently co-authored an EFL book titled "Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics" from materials he developed as a tutor and teacher. Eric can be reached through
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Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 45
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:10 am    Post subject: Adult Studnets Individual Tutoring Reply with quote

I enjoyed this post. I've never felt completely comfortable when I've tutored one on one. I think you hit the nail on the head when you stated that clear goals must be set. The easiest clients are those who want to work on a specific area of grammar or a specific vocabulary set. When I have a student who doesn't give me any direction in which he would like to go for the session I will sometimes suggest we pick a situation he comes across on a weekly basis in his life. We will role play a conversation as if we were in the moment. Some examples I can think of are a trip to to the cleaners or a conversation asking directions. I will take notes on areas that he struggles in and we will work on those. Thanks for the post.

Andrew Lawton
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Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 9
Location: Philippines

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to hear that from you! Smile


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Joined: 15 Mar 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Israel

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:28 pm    Post subject: How to teach adults 1:1 Reply with quote


Kudos for the tips.
I'd like to add some of my own:
A - When teaching 1:1, your student is the curriculum - which means that pre-testing is essential to the success of your lesson planning.
B - If your student's goal is to improve conversation, an excellent technique is to record his review of the material (with your corrections) at the end of each session. This will allow for his/her 'ears to absorb' between the lessons.

These - and other techniques, approaches and so on, based on over 40 (!)years in the field - are set out very clearly my e-guide:

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Joined: 16 Aug 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:49 am    Post subject: English Tutoring Reply with quote

As with all propositions for struggling students, there are many approaches that are offered.
ESL teachers can develop ways of improving students’ capacities for memorizing new words by incorporating some ideas. The students struggling from English language couldn’t complete their academic writing successfully. You can find help here:
Getting students actually involved with the English language and culture is a challenge. It can be a hard task to perform, but it is very satisfying.
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