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ESL for Tourism with Low Level learners

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Joined: 11 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:16 pm    Post subject: ESL for Tourism with Low Level learners Reply with quote

Hello! Any advice?

I'm volunteering in a small town in Ecuador and have been asked to start English classes for the tour guides, taxi drivers and police officers.

These are all adult, low level beginners and I am not sure where to start. I want to keep them engaged but am finding it difficult with such a low level. I only have experience teaching kindergarten and 2nd grade and no experience with making a curriculum, so it's a bit tough to think of age appropriate ways to keep adults engaged.

I'm on an extremely low to non-existent budget but have the environment and the equipment they use for their jobs to work with. Do I just make them memorize phrases for the first month or so while adding vocabulary?

Has anyone made a curriculum for job-specific English? If so, any suggestions on where to begin?

Thanks so much for your help.

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Sally Olsen

Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1322
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had my students write books in their own language with all the words that they normally heard or said for a week. They can tape their conversatioins or just get together in groups and act out scenarios so they remember what they usually say.
Then we worked on translating to English. They were often able to get friends to get the translation but some you can get on translatioin sites on the Internet.
They wrote in dialogue form and then could practice togehter or in groups. I also taped each book they developed so they could hear Canadian pronuncation and had some friends do it as well with an Indian accent, a British accent and a very heavy accent from their own language.
You can find some specfic business sites for each job when they have mastered their books and introduce things they didn't think about.
At the end you have enough books for the whole class or at least groups in the class. You just get them to copy out the original copies and it will help them learn to write and read.
If paper is a problem look around for something really cheap like wallpaper or left over newspaper rolls or the blank back of flyers or used business paper. You can go around to local businesses and ask what they throw away. It will be good for your learning language.
The students might be able to get their bosses to donate copying or stapling or printing of pictures that they take to go with their topics to jazz up their books.
If you make it a bit of a competition between groups, they might go all out on producing a very nice book.
You can then do games with vocabulary, grammar exercises, spelling lists, and so on. Just get some Enlgish Business English book companies to send you sample copies and read them through to get ideas on what kind of exercises and games they do and adapt those with the words from their books.
They can also do this of course and develop games and exercises for each other and of course can learn to read each other's books.
This can carry on for different levels with Beginner's, Intermediate and
Advanced so you will never run out of material.
I would try to do a whole group activity every class - food is always a great topic - making and eating and talking and reading about food.
You might want to show Youtube videos or parts of movies with the characters doing their job in another country which will spark new ideas for their books.
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