Things You Shouldn’t do When you are an ESL Teacher
Posted by UNI-Prep Institute - 11 Sep. 2017 - Teaching Articles

Most time you are told how to be a good ESL teacher and what to do to be a good teacher. However, no one ever talks about the things you shouldn’t do. There is a long list of things that it is recommended that ESL teachers do not do or say to their students. 

Below are 5 of the top things to not do as an ESL teacher 

1. Do not assume you know the language just because you speak it.

Grammar and language structures are usually very complicated topics. Most native speakers do not necessarily know the why behind certain grammatical structures. Being a native speaker does give you an advantage but it doesn’t make you an expert. You should review tenses and other grammar topics before you start a class. It also would be a good idea to have a pocket grammar book.

2. Failing to correct your own mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes even the most experienced teachers. Just because you are the teacher doesn’t mean you cannot make mistakes. You might as well accept it that you will make mistakes. You might spell something wrong or say something that is grammatically incorrect. The key is to acknowledge it and correct it. Do not pretend that your mistake didn’t happen but try sometimes you can even intentionally make a mistake to see if the students will notice. If a student can spot your mistake it can be great for their confidence.

3. Letting students know you can speak their native language.

You are supposed to be teaching through immersion into a language. Usually immersion will encourage students to get creative and try to communicate in English no matter what. However, if they know you speak their language students will be less likely to look for the correct words or try to speak in only English. You should resist the urge to tell students that you speak their native language and try to pretend that you do not understand them when they are speaking in their native language.

4. Never underestimate the use of games or songs

There are many teachers who think that games are only good for children and older students are more serious and need more serious activities. This is sometimes true but in a serious environment there is very little talking and interaction. Therefore the best way to make classes more interactive is to play the occasional game and use songs. It will also make the class more fun for you and your students. There is a time to be serious and there is a time to let loose a little. Games can be a great way to review or introduce new topics.

5. Ignore the level of a student

Just because you have a group of students in the same class is doesn’t mean that they are at the same level. Every student has a different learning style and challenges. This becomes even truer in large classes. Within every level and class you will have student who are working below, at and above their level. The key is to not ignore this but to scaffold lessons and pair students together who can help each other improve.

Teaching is not an easy job however it can be easier if you do not make these mistakes. If you do any of these things in your ESL class it is not the end of the world but it will just make your job more difficult than it has to be. 

Beginner, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper-intermediate,
Young learners (ages 1-4), Primary school (ages 5-10), Middle school (ages 11-14), High school (ages 15-18), Adult (18+),
General English,

Leave a reply: