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How to get Adult ESL Students to ONLY speak English.....

 
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KRizzo



Joined: 23 Jan 2011
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:55 am    Post subject: How to get Adult ESL Students to ONLY speak English..... Reply with quote

In the classroom......I only teach them for 4 hours a week and I have tried to implement an ONLY speak English rule for several reasons...
1. The director of the program requested that they only speak English because of limited time in the class.
2. It is only 4 hours a week and basically the ONLY time these adult ESL students speak any English.
3. If they are explaining something to another student I allow limited interpretation in their first language.

Any recommendations on how to maintain English only in the classroom> I do let them know it is only to benefit them!

Kerri
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1312
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the beginning I give them some research on classes that have learned with the English only policy and how much more quickly the students have learned.

I let them speak in their own language at coffee breaks for the first two months and then I start to translate what they are saying into English. By this time I have usually picked up enough of the body language and words to guess. Of course, if I am wrong, they have to explain in English what they were actually talking about so it doesn't matter if I get it right or not.

I translate if they slip into their own language during class - again the best I can and they will correct me in English if I am not right. I often but not always, know what answer I want for a question so they often think I am just correcting them and know what they were saying. It stops the side remarks that some students make because they think you can understand them and would be embarrassed if you really knew what they were saying (this is mostly for rebellious teenagers but you never know).

I sometimes repeat what I think I heard them say in their own language. I can never get it right or the sound of it right and so it provides a light moment in the class.

You have to get on it right away but always with humour. Don't let anything pass - a whisper to the neighbour, a comment as they get up to get something. Just keep on translating for them and they will get the idea. Throw in some wild guesses just for fun - "Did you say that there was an elephant in the corridor?" "Did you say that this is the most boring lesson you have ever sat through?" You have to know your students of course.
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KRizzo



Joined: 23 Jan 2011
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sally - I love the idea about giving them research and statistics on classes that have learned with he English only policy and how much faster the students have learned!! Did you just google this or is there a great site where I can find these statistics?

Thank you,

Kerri
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1312
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have kept statistics on my own classes and got former students to write testimonials. There is a lot on Google Scholar. Our profs gave us research and I have several articles from my classes at Carleton. Have to dig to find them at the moment as I moved and they are in the bottom of the box somewhere. I'm sure you will find enough on Google though. You could always tell them they are the test case and you will compare their progress to your former classes.
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Patty Schuler



Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 14
Location: Vineland NJ

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:27 am    Post subject: getting adults to only speak english in class Reply with quote

Our adult ESL class is held once a week for 1 and a half hours and we too try to have an "English Only" policy. I can't wait to try "interpereting" what they say in Spanish at the beginning of class as they converse, in hopes to get them to explain to me in English what they're talking about. They know I'm interested in Spanish and are always pleased when I attempt tp speak it. Because we have about half Spanish speakers and half Ukrainian speakers they seem to refrain from thier L1 during class, out of politeness I think.
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mgrima



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a couple things I like to do with my adult students. The first is pretending that I donít understand what they say when they speak in their language. They usually find this very funny and make the effort to speak in English to be understood. I also jump on any slip ups they make in class when I hear the other language I always make a big deal about it. It usually takes about two to three classes before they are all in English but the key is to stay on them and not to give up. The last thing is to make a clear transition between the outside world and the English classroom I always start with the same routine so that they know its time to work in English.
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JRanieri



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Buffalo, NY

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I have a bachelor's degree in Spanish, none of my students speak it, so I actually don't understand what they are saying. My students speak a wide range of languages from Nepali, Karen, to Swahili and Somali. I have to constantly remind them "English only." Most of them are cooperative but there are still a few that just don't seem so care. I think I would have better luck if my students weren't mandated to be taking the classes... Does anybody have any good suggestions as explaining statistics to my students would really not make much of a difference, as they are pretty low level as it is.
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Rp



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 50
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KRizzo, I noticed that you do not indicate where you are teaching? Is this an ESL or EFL environment. I'm thinking it's an EFL. Sally's suggestion is a good one.

One of the issues with ELF is that your class is the only class where the language is probably spoken, in an ESL environment you have the target language all around them ... so, it seems to be a matter of valuing the lessons and use of the language, at least to me under the assumptions I have made.

How is your class room structured, traditional row style, or is it "U" shaped? I have often found that a "U" shape works well as you can see all the participants and it can negate the hidden discussions. It also provides eye contact with those who are speaking English that can encourage additional participation.
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1312
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think if students think they are doing well, they enjoy studying so pile on the praise and encouragement and really welcome them each day as if they were royalty and you are glad that they are there. A welcome smile goes a long way and interest in their personal situation as well. Students in classes like yours often have harrowing tales to tell of how they got to your class and really need to tell someone.

They also seem to love to tell the other students about the good things in their country so we did a lot of "show and tell". I got pictures from the Internet with them because they often didn't have pictures of their own and we made up a little speech for them with words they knew so they could tell the others. We had a huge map of the world on the wall and they could put their name on a pin to show where they had been and map their route to my classroom.

We put up the pictures on the wall for awhile so they could explain them to students who were away or from other classes but then they could take them home and most were really glad to have something from home.

They loved to go on Google map in see their hometown in such detail.
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itsjustnouns



Joined: 14 Mar 2011
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When teaching adults there is peer pressure for them to make as few mistakes as possible. It is a cruel game they like to play to point out errors others make and laugh. Not all the time but sometimes-especially if they are young adults.

If the teacher gets confused, it is really funny and then you can explain on the WB what they are talking about.

I found in Korea that they really want to speak English when they get a chance. I would be asked "How much Korean have you learned." I would say very little because all the Koreans I socialized with always wanted to speak English. And they were always happy with that answer.
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JRanieri



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Buffalo, NY

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, you would think that in an ESL setting the students would be accessing the target language enough to supplement our lessons, but in my case, I really don't think they are, for the most part. My students are placed in neighborhoods by the government, and surrounded by other refugees who speak their language, many people who came from the same refugee camp as they did. Some of the more dedicated students study and practice at home on their own time, but most do not. I've started a game in my classes. Each of my classes is 30 students or so, as it is. I've split each class into 3 "teams" (as per the advice of another member, to do with large classes.) There's a chart I made on one of my black boards using masking tape with the 9 teams listed up and down, and Monday through Thursday laterally. For each day that each team goes only speaking English, they get a start. If they speak their L1, then no star. If their team gets a start every day until, then Friday they each get a prize, something like a book a piece, ice cream, pizza, bagels for my morning class, etc. If the whole class can go the week only speaking English, then they get a larger scale class party on Friday. The students have been really motivated and are enjoying it so far. It's been working for me when other methods haven't.
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