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One to one speaking practice with beginner

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Joined: 23 Mar 2017
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:26 am    Post subject: One to one speaking practice with beginner Reply with quote

Hi all, my name is Katy and I’m new – hoping to pick your brains wise ones!

I am a newly qualified TEFL teacher taking on private one-to-one clients as part of a new small business venture. My first client is a Latvian lady (Russian speaker) who is studying English at college and doing well in reading/writing/grammar but can hardly speak the language. She just wants me to speak to her for an hour a week and I’m really up for the challenge but want to make sure I can encourage her in the right ways.

I’ve met her once to get a feel for her level and her college have classified her as pre-intermediate. She answered written grammar questions well. But she openly admitted she was poor at listening and only passed the speaking element of her test by learning phrases by heart.

Any hints and tips? Ideas for useful exercises? She wants to prepare vocabulary in advance for topics to be discussed in the tutorial, but I know that it is going to be difficult to simply sit with her and let her use pre-prepared sentences as this is not going to help her learn to become a natural speaker. Her daughter is very supportive and speaks good English; she sat in on our first lesson and was correcting her mother every time she made a mistake whereas I was keen to hear what she had to say, then correct slightly less strictly, but this appears to be what she is used to.

I hope this makes sense, just looking for general guidance really and experiences, things that have worked well! I know I must sound really clueless, I want to really help this lady though and prove to her that she is capable but I don’t have enough confidence in my own teaching methods yet!

Any support gratefully received. It’s out first ‘proper’ session Friday and I’ve yet to send through her ‘homework’ although we’ve agreed we’ll discuss family and hobbies, but that’s not going to take an hour! Thanks in advance. Looking forward to getting involved in the community!
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Joined: 16 Apr 2017
Posts: 1
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:33 pm    Post subject: one to one speaking practice Reply with quote

Hi Ktdude,

I have been there!! Both as an English learner first and as an ESL teacher later. I am afraid this happens quite frequently. I try going back to the basics: writing. Not just doing set up exercises or activities on a book, but writing their own sentences or prompts on the topic they will talk about later. Then I get to make slight changes and explaining the grammatical reason of why I do it (I agree with you on not being too strict. Let´s not forget about the importance of the fluency) and the students feel more confident when practicing it. It takes time but this way they learn how to start thinking in English. This is an example when teaching infinitive or gerund to an intermediate level student: after explaining the rules and practicing exercises on books I encourage my students to write their own sentences. This is a way for them to remember the grammar rule (e.g. writing infinitive after some adjectives) while creating something on their own. Not everyone likes writing but it is worth trying it, though.

Hope it help with your one to one student!!
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Joined: 01 Feb 2017
Posts: 9
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Katy,

Have you tried setting up prompts with the learner or tried getting the learner to read out passages? I would say reading out loud and then asking the learner to repeat summarize what they read might be helpful in this case, especially if she is already great at reading and grammar. It sounds like you are very encouraging, and that is great. I also wonder if having the daughter there is very helpful. If she is alright with explicit correction, then I guess it would be okay, but I feel like that would be discouraging than encouraging -- especially if she already thinks her speaking skills aren't great.

Hope this helps!
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