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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 3rd, 2009, 11:56 pm
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Default Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

I have been a teacher for 7 years, but this is my first time teaching a group of adults. They are all university graduates and working people, between the ages of 25-40. I have no idea what to do with these people as they can speak English quite well already and have no problems expressing themselves on any topic. They do not understand the concept of playing English learning games (20 questions was a total flop). Can someone help? The school expects me to provide all the materials and lesson plans.

Thank you so much!!
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Unread Mar 10th, 2009, 03:19 am
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

It's hard to give really helpful advice without knowing the students' need for English. Are they there to learn? Do they just want to chat? Has HR sent them as part of a company-wide program?

Additionally, how long is the class?

Take a look at my website for materials if you're stuck, as everything is geared towards adult learners.

English Lesson Plans | Heads Up English | ESL Lessons

You can use a lot of the speaking/listening materials to focus skills, such as skimming and scanning, summarization, presentation, debate, and so on. I've worked with a lot of adult students in the past, and even very high level individuals can learn to give better presentations, support opinions, etc.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
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Unread Mar 11th, 2009, 07:06 am
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

Hi Chris,
I've given 3 classes so far. Each class is 2 hours long and the students are all there of their own free will--I think. It's a private school so they don't really care what I teach as long as it brings in the students. I've been mainly doing alot of questions, getting them to speak up and voice opinions, etc. But I don't see how this helps them other than giving them confidence in public speaking in English. I found this site: Internet TESL Journal (For ESL/EFL Teachers) which has ready made classes that save alot of time.
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Unread Mar 12th, 2009, 03:48 am
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

Hi,
Challenge them to talk about more abstract topics. It is easy to talk about things we can see. Debates always work for me. We also do press conferences where they role play a public figure and other students storm them with many questions. First of all give them time to do research on the public figure they want to role play. Every student will ask questions.
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Unread Mar 14th, 2009, 09:56 pm
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

They do not understand the concept of playing English learning games (20 questions was a total flop).

You failed to explain the purpose of the game. I have never had that game flop even with kids in Elementary School. MAKE it fun because it is (ex. put them in teams) and explain it in a fun way. Plans don't flop...teachers do.

A "Conversation" is a series of questions and answers basically....otherwise it's a speech.

Try harder...do better!!
Results > Everything else!!!


But I don't see how this helps them other than giving them confidence in public speaking in English.

Wu wu wu...what??
Unless they are studying for an exam...you are giving them EXACTLY what they need!!!

Last edited by Eric : Mar 14th, 2009 at 10:01 pm. Reason: Removed self promotion link from post. Please put personal links in your signature.
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Unread Mar 15th, 2009, 02:40 am
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

I work with adults mostly and a while ago I needed to teach children. I was pretty worried because I had never taught children before. Maybe you are feeling a bit insecure because these are adults. Try not to. Sometimes the classes are actually going really well but you are so nervous that you don't realize it.

Some key pointers:

1) Relax and teach. Your mood will 100% effect their mood and the classroom environment.

2) Be prepared and 100% planned. Don't just throw it together...they will know.

3) Make it real. Find out their jobs (you could have an interview panel for each person. Imagine: One student sits in a chair...surrounded by the rest of the class in rows or a half circle around them. Then each student asks a question to the student in the "hot seat". The questions have to be related to their job, English goals, experiences etc. Create some example questions so you point the class in the right direction.

This does several things...1) Teaching and correction questions and answers. 2) You learn more about each student 3) You can find out what their goals are.

4) Be confident...don't worry and have fun.
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Unread Mar 17th, 2009, 09:14 pm
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

They love to talk about everyday issues:
Here are suggestions:
1. Who should do household chores?
2. Marriage
3. Your ideal partner
4. Bad office habits
5. Job benefits
6. Pleasing a boss
7. Job interviews
8. Break-up
9. Reconciliation
10. Prejudice
11. How do the rich live?
12. Helping the poor.
13. Planning for retirement
14. Dealing with bordom
15. Adult hobbies
16. Are you addicted to something?
17. Food cultures
18. Good manners
19. Internet shopping
20. Plastic surgery.

I have a list of over 100 topics I have used. They are excited to talk about these things because they always have come across them, are currently going through them or will experience them.
You students need to practise and use English more than learn.
Good luck
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Unread Mar 17th, 2009, 09:16 pm
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

I forgot.
You can visit my website to get some of the worksheets I use.
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Unread Mar 17th, 2009, 09:24 pm
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

go to iteslj.org question section.
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Unread Mar 18th, 2009, 03:52 am
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

Here's a good article a colleague of mine wrote about news articles. It shows what skills adult learners may still need to improve, even advanced ones:

Farmer - How to Effectively Use News Articles in the EFL Classroom (I-TESL-J)

You may also want to read from my site a brief set of skills advanced students should have and/or need to improve:

How Advanced is Your Advanced Student? | Heads Up English | ESL Lessons

Hope this helps.
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Unread Apr 18th, 2009, 09:30 am
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

Quote:
Quote Ster View Post
I have been a teacher for 7 years, but this is my first time teaching a group of adults. They are all university graduates and working people, between the ages of 25-40. I have no idea what to do with these people as they can speak English quite well already and have no problems expressing themselves on any topic. They do not understand the concept of playing English learning games (20 questions was a total flop). Can someone help? The school expects me to provide all the materials and lesson plans.

Thank you so much!!

Hi there

Well I'm a great believer in getting the students to do the work, often including preparation. If they are involved in preparing for the class they are v. likely to be more engaged when the lesson comes around.

So for example I do a demo in class such as a role-play where students are divided in to groups and each person takes on a character with a specific agenda.

The boss: stressed and wanting to fire the personnel manager but very very keen on keeping the secretary, even if he is often late or absent, because when he is there, his work is good and he knows the ropes as he has been in the job a long time
The secretary: always off-sick and not motivated, wants a pay rise.
The personnel manager: wanting to fire the secretary

And so on.

So you set one of these up and perform it with a demo group. Then let the class have a go. Then you ask them all to prepare one of their own for the next class.

The scenarios can be relevant to the students needs so if you have medical students the role-plays can be situations in hospitals.

At the next class students take it in turns acting out as many role-plays as possible in small groups. You keep the best ones as part of your portfolio of resources.

And there you go - an idea requiring no resources, no photocopies and no prep time for the teacher - that's the kind of thing I like!

More games and ideas like that in my book of 194 games and activities for teaching teens and adults (mostly for intermediates and up)

ESL Games and Activities for adults

Shelley

PS By the way they will cotton on to the value of using games if you explain that they are effectively grammar drills to help accuracy, or they are fluency exercises. If you make them realise they have a serious purpose that should help. Adults don't want to feel they are wasting time.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 19th, 2009, 07:36 am
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Default Re: Oral ESL for Adults--Help!

Well, thanks to all for your helpful hints. English-coach was right, I was feeling insecure because they were adults. Not just adults, but adults with long strings of degrees in unpronounceable subjects. But, the classes are going quite smoothly since I've gained confidence. I use alot of controversial subjects to get everyone riled up and the class just takes off!
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