ESL teachers often have the opportunity to teach ESL to a wide variety of students of different ages and ability levels. Each age group, whether they are children, teenagers, or adults, requires a different strategy and set of teaching techniques to help them learn English and succeed in the class. Watch this video for Oxford Seminars instructor Peter Connell’s tips for how to teach ESL to middle school students and getting them to become active participants in learning and classroom activities.
In the video, Peter recalls his first class of middle school students in Germany, and the difficulties he had getting them engaged and interested in his lessons. With every teaching technique he tried he received only blank stares in return from his students, making his first lessons difficult and frustrating for him as a teacher. But, after seeing his initially quiet students talking happily with their friends outside of class, he discovered that his students needed to get to know each other before they were comfortable participating in activities and lessons. He explains that ESL teachers need to create an environment where their students are able to get comfortable with their new classmates and “break the ice.” Peter recommends using games and group activities during this essential phase of the class before starting to work on planned lessons and assignments. Once students feel more at home in the class, participation and engagement will come much easier, making the classes more rewarding for both the students and the teacher.