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Glow's avatar

When teaching ESOL to elementary sudents, what are the first/basic things to teach and consider?

Asked by Glow (1366points) June 28th, 2011

I want to learn to teach ESOL in another country (considering South Korea), but I have no formal training in this subject. I have taught other subjects though. I was wondering what should be the first things a teacher should cover for classes in grade levels 3–6. I feel that once I know how to start off, I should be able to get rolling on my own. Thanks in advance!

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7 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

ONe way is to start with the letters for a simple three-letter word that can morph into other words.


Bat, rat, mat, fat, hat, pat, vat, sat (most of which can be illustrated on a white board.)

Or teach the entire alphabet first, but that is boring.

Then you can change the list to; (after introducing N)

Can, man, ran, fan, pan, van, etc.

tranquilsea's avatar

To add to what @gailcalled has said: keep it fun. If you can make them laugh they are more likely to learn and remember.

the100thmonkey's avatar

The first thing to consider is obtaining an introductory teaching qualification like the Trinity Cert. TESOL or the Cambridge CELTA, preferably with a young learners extension.

There is no substitute for feedback from experienced, skilled tutors in initial teacher training.

sakura's avatar

Also basics like you would teach new words to say a baby…start with greetings hello goodbye etc… Times of day, days of week family members, colours…i think of it like trying to teach french or german. If you can look at resources used to teach those and adapt to teaching english.grades three to six? Is this aged 7 -12ish? see if you can incorporate songs…heads shoulders knees and toes etc.. Most of all have fun :) good luck x

geeky_mama's avatar

Agree strongly with @the100thmonkey. Any program that would hire you but not train you with TESOL or ESL skills is not one you want to work for.

I taught ESL/TOEFL (all ages, including elementary) in Japan for several years and was trained in advance and provided curriculum materials. Most of my fellow instructors had University degrees in ESL and/or Elementary Education.

Only the less legitimate (scary!) language schools operating in S.Korea and Japan will hire ESL instructors without certificates or training and even the less legitimate ones wouldn’t take you without a University degree.

That said – the things that were the biggest hit with my young students were “games” I made up to use in class to supplement our curriculum. The curriculum covered letters and simple grammar – it was putting it to use (in a fun way) that took creativity on my part.

I made up a game similar to “Memory” with pictures. As you turned over the cards to try to match your pair the “rules” of the game meant you had to say word in the picture as they flipped it over. It was a big vocabulary builder – fun thru play.
We also learned some songs in my group classes. We played “musical chairs” with children’s music in English that they learned the words to. If you weren’t singing the words you could be “out”—so to win you had to get both a chair AND be singing the English words to the song.

(BTW – S.Korea begins English language instruction within their schools from VERY early on- so your students will almost certainly already know some basic English and all the letters of the alphabet. We have hosted S. Korean students in our home and they talked of English language instruction in their schools that started in pre-school. All were exceptionally conversant in English at a basic level by middle you might be surprised at how advanced a grade 3 to 6 English language learner might be in S. Korea.)

bluesaphire's avatar

First of all, consider providing them comfortable environment, so that teaching and learning could take place effectively.Secondly, ask simple questions of their interest to make it a participatory and give them true feelings that they are important individuals and teacher want to know about them. Thirdly, gradually build up a learning process by giving them images or pictorials to describe and present ,in the class room so that process of acceptance of one another,s view point starts at early stage.

snowberry's avatar

My understanding is that children in Korea get training in English from a young age, but it’s only reading and writing. My Korean students (4 students ages 13–16) are currently in a private school in the US. When I first started working with them, they had very little understanding of the spoken word, but they tested quite well in reading and writing. We had to start out with the simplest of sentences, putting the words in the right order, verb tense, articles (they don’t have articles in Korean). Our classes involve using objects from around the house, pictures from magazines, and talking about them. I also had to cover using inflection to ask a question, so I made them ask questions about things. Obviously I also regularly cover short vowel sounds, and all the other basics.

Here are some sample sentences I make them act out as they say: “The book is on the table.” “The book is under the table.” “The table is beside the door.”

I suspect that teaching ESL in Korea would be much different than teaching it in an English speaking country, but I wouldn’t know.

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