Adventures In ESL: Student Teaching Weeks 6-7

adventures in esl

The third edition of Adventures In ESL! Again, I hope you all enjoy these posts, and if you are a teacher or are learning how to teach (like me), please share some helpful tips on teaching methods, fun class activities, etc. They are appreciated. 🙂

*Note: This is an intermediate adult ESL (English as a Second Language Class). The course lasts over a period of 13 weeks and are held 2 days a week and are roughly 2 hours long each.

Week 6: Pop Culture & Review Time

Week 6 was the last week for teaching my unit of American Culture. On Tuesday my class revolved around the topic of pop culture as well as an introduction to a new grammar focus: past tense verbs. I used technology (a projector and computer, to be exact) for the first time ever in my class. Needless to say, it has its pros and cons. Though things didn’t go totally as planned, I did my best to move on and try to keep the class on schedule. People were extremely quiet in class and I constantly had to keep calling on people/ forcing my students to speak up. It felt like my discussion was going nowhere. The topics I covered were familiar and easy enough, so why weren’t they talking?! Then my advisor gave me some insight. She said that most students only get exposure to English in class and that the last class we had on Thursday was four days ago. Most people hadn’t spoken in English since Thursday! So that definitely gave me some helpful insight to my student’s perspective.

I tried a listening comprehension activity with the movie trailer from “The Notebook”, but before I even started I made sure to go over the new vocabulary and words they may not recognize. I had them watch it once without subtitles, then with subtitles and then had them answer comprehension questions.  I saw though they had a really hard time with the activity when I graded their worksheets so perhaps I will try a slower speech listening comprehension activity in the future?

As for Thursday, we focused on reviewing grammar learned previously. It went pretty well and I was glad to see some of them remembered what we had talked about and retained some of what I had taught them.  Figuring out simple present and present continuous tenses are still a bit difficult for some students, but they are starting to see when and where to use it in sentences. I tried to do activity with the topic of a “bucket list” since we’ve been studying verb tenses, but they had a very difficult time try to write what they’ve done in the past and plans/goals for the future. I did my best to break down the concept to them and give examples of my own bucket list, but they still had trouble. Any tips on things I could have done differently?

Week 7: The Business World

This week started my new unit on jobs. In Tuesday’s class I went over the concept of career ladders & reading job ads. I ended up not being able to do my warm-up as planned since most students were late. I think I need to start reinforcing students to come to class on time because it’s not fair to the students who get there when they’re supposed to. It was really interesting to see them take in the concept of career ladders. I felt like they seemed to grasp the concept, but when I gave them the task to give examples of steps in a (for example) teacher’s career ladder, they were really surprised. It was if they didn’t they didn’t really realize and think about how a person gets to a certain level in their job and obtain their final career goal. I think it was really beneficial to them and got them to really brainstorm ideas in English.

We then went over job ads: how to find them and how to read/scan them for important them for information. Which is definitely a good life skill to have. I also taught them how to recognize common abbreviations on job ads. They were pretty quiet on speaking terms, but I think it was partially due to them taking in all the new information taught to them. I think the unit on jobs will be helpful to them in the long run.

On Thursday, we focused on job skills/qualifications. Again it was interesting to see how they were brainstorming good and bad skills related to jobs (in general). I felt that the discussion really got them to think about things that are essential for having a job. I know that it’s important knowledge for them to use when integrating themselves into the an English language workplace. I know some of my students have degrees or have expressed to me that they want to improve their English skills so that they can obtain jobs.

For the second time I paired them up with new people that they usually don’t work with on in-class activities. I paired low-intermediate students with high-intermediate students had them brainstorm 3 job skills for various job occupations (doctors, teachers, fireman, etc.). I also paired students that were on the same level with each other. It got them to once again break out their shells and really interact with one another.

It’s getting a bit easier to think of examples on the spot to help my students comprehend new concepts. They also show me they are comfortable (some more than others) with asking questions and casually chatting with me. 😀

Things learned:

  • always prepare extra examples for clarification to use in an in-class activity
  • word banks are helpful to use so students have examples of how they are supposed complete  an activity
  • reading stories and answering comprehension activities are better assignments for homework rather than in-class activities

See you next time!

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