A vibrant country full of bustling cities, a fascinatingly complex language, serene river flows, and a booming economy. China is both a popular and rewarding place to teach abroad. Teaching English as a Second Language can be quite challenging yet fulfilling. When teaching English in China, it means that you will be dealing with a different culture, educational background, learning style, and most importantly the challenge of working through a potentially frustrating language barrier.
Even with a plethora of challenges, the demand for ESL teachers is currently at an all-time high. English is the international language recognized in the global and business world. Hence, China has incorporated it into their curriculum. They are continuously looking for qualified English teachers to provide a comprehensive and balanced ESL education. Once you get the job, the challenge crops in especially if it’s your first time handling English as a Second Language.
What do you do to enable the students exchange their playtime with lessons and let parents pay out? If you want to know how to teach a class for the first time, then make the class fun so that the children will want to come again and second, let parents see the results so that they can keep paying for your lesson. Below if a list of some of the creative ways to teach English and keep the class as fun as possible
1. Incorporation of Group Work
Regardless of the age, learning a foreign language can be quite overwhelming even when familiar with its roots. Learning English as a foreign language for the Chinese students is difficult. The best way to make your students feel more comfortable when practicing their new language is to group them in pairs or even larger groups so that they can help one another with understanding the language even more. Peer teaching is fun, and learning as well as communicating in English becomes more fun when your students go through it together.
2. Maximizing Oral communication
Writing and reading are all important, but you want to bring out an all-around student who can confidently communicate in English, hence keeping an oral focus is very essential. See to it that you allow the students to speak as often as possible for it helps ingrain the feel and sound of the language into your student’s mind. Make it comfortable for the students to speak in front of others and make them understand that its okay to make a mistake since it’s the perfect way of learning. Your job gets easier and successful, the sooner they learn how to verbally communicate.
3. Using Diverse Lesson Plans
Most of the ESL students come from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. Hence each student has a different way of conceptualizing. Make it comfortable for all your students by having a diverse lesson plan that caters to individual learners. The students in China are quite different; others may seem to grasp faster while others need special attention. Mix writing, observing, listening with your oral focus and reading so as to develop a comprehensive lesson plan.
4. Incorporating Cultural Lessons to Personalize
The students will become interested when you make the language personal and relevant, and they will fully internalize the lesson plan. Simply give examples that they can easily relate to, for instance, you can use their personal experiences, cultures, or backgrounds to teach the language. This can range from what’s their family like to what they did over the weekend. This will make them become more passionate about words and feel so proud of their ability to use the phrases and words they have learned. This makes it quite enjoyable and interesting.
5. Limiting Dictionary Use
Consultation of the dictionary should be very minimal. It’s fine to memorize words and phrases but during the class time, majorly concentrate on ensuring the students are putting into practice the phrases and words learned and not just reciting jargon from the dictionary. Dictionaries make the lesson quite boring and repetitive with little done to put the lesson in context and make it relevant.
6. Giving Homework to Keep English a Focus After Class
It’s to be expected that once the Chinese students go back home, they will most definitely communicate in Chinese since English is not a regular language. One of the creative ways to teach a class is to see to it that your students overcome the challenge of not being able to speak in English while at home by giving enough homework. Most students don’t like homework but as a teacher, this is the best way to ascertain that your students are not completely forgetting all that they have learned in the class.
7. Trying Tongue Twisters and English Games
Tongue twisters are such a fun challenge to the students. Pronouncing phonetically similar words has a way of making the students stop for a minute and think about what exactly they are saying and how they are supposed to say it. It really helps the students to internalize pronunciation and hey, they are also pretty funny, and they will keep the class be very lively. Also, English games are quite repetitive, and repetition is the mother of skill. You get to learn massive vocabulary and grammar in a few minutes. Games have a way of making your students communicate, stay focused, alert, and enjoy themselves.
8. Having Students Read Out Loud
Reading should be practiced as often as possible. When you let your students read out loud, you allow them to seamlessly blend reading and oral skills. Moreover, it helps the students become more comfortable speaking in front of others and even their peers.
9. Letting Students Make Mistakes
Making mistakes is a way of learning, hence allowing your students to work through mistakes is the perfect way of reassuring them that they are doing well. Allow them to correct themselves which helps them get a better grasp on English. As a teacher, you may feel tempted to interject and give the correct spelling or pronunciation, but allowing the student to recognize where the mistake is and fix it with your guidance clearly shows that there is progress made.
10. Teaching By Doing
Modeling each aspect of your lesson plan before the students iterate it is the best way to teach English as a second language. Pronounce the sentences and words clearly. Read them loud to the class and ask your students to repeat. To help them with syntax and inflection, tell them a story about your weekend. When you model your own lesson, it makes the ESL students feel more comfortable doing exactly what you are asking them to do.
Typically, the Chinese classes are lecture based, and the students aren’t encouraged to discuss or ask questions. But in an English oral class, the task is to get the students to speak even if it will mean directly asking questions to individuals, a teaching style they are not conversant with.
As an ESL teacher in China, you have the rare opportunity to introduce critical thinking in the classroom, whether by giving them a group project or by simply asking them questions that drive them beyond the opinions their parents have instilled. With time, you will realize that even the shy students are starting to open up and talk about their frustrations about the Chinese government or even home life. Urging them to speak helps them implement a skill that is rarely nurtured thanks to traditions, one that would beyond doubt benefit them long after class ends.
Teaching English in China is not a small task, and while you may feel tempted to dwell on the negatives, it’s is quite insightful since there is just so much you can gain, such as enhancing your creativity as it entails coming up with new ideas. It also gives you a stronger understanding of the world at large and a deeper sense of introspection thus, working as an ESL in China is not an opportunity to pass since its fun and eye-opening.
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