The problem is that I don’t have a textbook to work out of, and no real guidelines set up by the school I’m working with in terms of specific content. Also, I have the same group of students for 5 hours each day, and I’m afraid I’ll run out of things to keep them interested for that long! I’ve searched around the net and found some good conversation starters and a few games here and there, but I’m getting nervous about keeping their attention and delivering meaningful instruction. Any suggestions? Thanks!
I know they have stuff for ESL kids.
Here are some other web sites for ESL
There are many more go to this site for the full list http://www.sitesforteachers.com/cgi-bin/autorank/search.cgi?key=ESL
If it is only for three weeks remember that you are not going to make a huge amount of progress and they are mainly there for the experience.
I would start with assessing levels by getting them to write introductions which you can then check. These intorductions can be read if they are good, or if poor spend the rest of the day teaching them the basis=cs and letting them correct their errors.
Most of them will probably be able to say my name is…., but not much more. High school students will be able to say where they live etc but probably nothing too fancy.
I would teach them self introductions, move onto basic introductory conversations where they talk about their home town and family etc.
They should be encouraged to perform these mock conversations in class with their peers. They will no doubt have opportunity to use this English ourtside of lass and therefore they will feel like they are making real progress.
Whilst working on this I would also review/teach things that they will find useful, such as how to communicate effectively/politely with their host families.
For examaple, In what ways muight they be invited and what is the appropriate response?
Help them with shopping langauge etc.
Directions and public transport and comminly taught but not that useful if they are only here for three weeks. But what they do if they get lost is useful. What do they say to the taxi driver.
Apologies for being late for dinner/ class etc.
Whilst they have the opportunity to use Englisgh I suggest you stick to functional stuff that they will actually use while they are there. Theyw ill have plenty of time to focus on grammar and vocab without application in japan.
Before offering a string of suggestions, I’d ask why these kids are in your area. Are they traveling elsewhere? Is the main purpose of their trip English immersion? How much English instruction have they had prior to meeting you?
If they’ve had little instruction, and you are there for basic instruction, then your topics will look like those suggested above. If they have had a fair amount of English, already, then you may find that they are more interested in specific subjects that they AREN’T covering in their classes, back home.
If that’s the case, you may want to talk about some things they are very familiar with: personal electronics, cell phones, computers and the internet, etc. My friends that taught in Japan told me that the kids know technology inside and out, so this will be interesting and relevant for them. You can move from very simple sentences and questions to some relatively advanced stuff, just by building on their tech vocabulary. Don’t be surprised if many of them know most of the terms you’re going to introduce (in other words, pull out your cell phone manual and know the names for everything! Better yet, enlarge and make a tranparency or scan the image and use with a video projector, so the kids can see an image and read the words, while you talk about the parts or functions.
Ask them what they want to be able to say. Bring pictures or picture dictionaries and books with lots of illustrations, so they can look through them, when you take breaks. That way, they can show you what they want to know, even if they don’t know the words.
As for teaching, some of the best exercises I’ve seen work like this: You say a very simple sentence ‘This is a phone’ and have them repeat it. You repeat, they repeat, you repeat, they repeat. Then, go around the room. You just point, and each person you point to repeats by themself. If someone makes a mistake, point to the last person that got it right. Once you’ve been around the room, add some detail to the sentence ‘This is a cell phone’… ‘This is a blue phone’. Repeat 3 times with the group. Go around the room. Add detail–or play a sound from the phone. ‘The blue phone rings.’ Repeat 3 times, go around the room. In 20 minutes, you can build up to ‘The blue phone rings loudly, and my mother is calling me to come home’ (provided you’ve done the family vocab, or they know it) or something similarly complex. These are great speaking exercises that the teacher simply directs after the first few repetitions, and the students build speaking fluency quickly.
Once you’ve done this several times, you can encourage them to say it a little bit quicker each time, to build greater fluency. If they know past tense, future tense, etc., you can switch tenses, each repetition, so they practice saying things in the past, present, and future tense.
Also, always use lots of pictures and act things out, but for this particular exercise, I would wait until the end to show them vocab illustrations, so they focus on speaking skills. Then, at the end, give them a few minutes to review the vocab you have used. Another twist is to put the vocab up after you have practiced for 15-20 minutes, then ask them to change one word each time someone repeats the sentence, so they are making new sentences every time.
Also, and this is extremely important, repeat what you did for the last several days at the beginning of each new day, so the students continue to practice! You can’t do something for one day and quit. Hardly any of them will remember. On the other hand, one quick review of each topic should be plenty, unless you are building a lot of new vocabulary on top of the previous day’s work.
So, regardless of the type of topics the students need and want to study, there are several activities to help them practice speaking skills.
Also, set conversations are great for building their basic conversational skills and ability to respond appropriately in social situations (also, please keep in mind that Japanese people tend to be very formal, so teach them to POLITELY ask for and refuse things, then explain that people aren’t always so formal): ‘Hello, my name is XXX. What’s your name?’ ‘My name is XXX. It is a pleasure to meet you.’ ‘No, the pleasure is all mine. So, what brings you here?’
You can have the students say a simple dialog (perhaps a bit longer) using different names that you supply, then they can move about the room practicing with each other. Make sure they take turns starting the conversation, since your girls may take a backseat role…
And, by all means, read up a bit on what to expect from your boys and girls. Make sure they ALL participate.
I know this answer is somewhat longer than the others, but I read your question as though you were asking for specific activities that you can do in class, not just topics. I hope this gives you some ideas!
(AP Certified Spanish teacher and ESL Certified English instructor)
Get children’s picture books with only 1-3 words on a page from the library. Have the students do activities in groups of 2, rotating through the books (so it’ll last longer!)…figuring out what they think the words mean, discussing the words, reciting the words together as a group.
Teach songs! They are great for easy vocab. development.
Classroom objects/furniture and school supplies
Classroom rules/safety and practice drills
Around the school – places and people
Conduct initial assessments (so you can show progress later)
Telling time, class schedules and courses
Numbers (both cardinal and ordinal)
Alphabet sounds (phonics)
Vowels and consonants
Basic math operations
Calendar – days of week, months of year, seasons
Weather (can include clothing, too)
Rooms of the house, furniture, appliances
Parts of the body, senses, clothing via body parts
Meals, food groups, food
Dishes and utensils, pots and pans
Adding and subtracting money
Map basics (directions, hemispheres, latitude/longitude, continents, poles, equator, etc.)
Timeline, diagrams, charts and graphs, graphing points
Fractions, decimals, percents
Reading word problems
Lab equipment and safety
States of matter
Review alphabet, consonants, vowels
Using a dictionary
Narrative elements (characters, settings, plot, etc.)
At this point, start reading short stories, like preschool level
Once you get to this point, start reading a lot and discussing the stories. You want to add to their vocabulary through reading. But also you want to work on grammar and such, so start hitting the parts of speech. This is the order I suggest you go in.
Get a basic grammar book to get the specifics on a good scope and sequence for parts of speech. I would give you mine, but I don’t have it at home. It’s up at school, and I can’t get to it for a few more weeks.
Email me if you want specifics on any one of these lessons: [email protected]
And maybe you can find an English basics textbook on Amazon or something, just to give the class a bit of structure.
Don´t forget that lessons are not disconnected activities. They should be congruent, sequential, with clearly stated aims and objectives. Likewise, these aims and objectives should be understood by both you and your students. Otherwise you run the risk of having activities that may be fun but go nowhere. And how will you be able to evaluate their learning if you don´t know what students needed to accomplish?
One final comment, you mention that the students need to learn vocabulary and pronunciation. Don´t forget to contextualize it. Students find it very hard to understand isolated bits of information. They have to connect it to something, the context.
I have added a link to the book I referred to above.
Good luck in Japan!
hv u tried the local bookstore the library, tv.
stretch your imagination – get ideas fr the web on things to do / see .
eg everyday life things – travel, food, exercise, medicine, playthings, television, films, – get ideas and turn it around for the kids.
go to virtues.com and teach them good habits
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