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ESL & EFL Teacher's Guide Below
Teaching ESL Frequently Asked Questions
I have difficulty understanding some of my ESL/EFL students. What should I do?
If you do not understand a student, ask for clarification rather than repetition. As you listen,
note specific difficulties with sounds or patterns and use these as areas of focus for further lessons.
How should I correct ESL/EFL students' pronunciation?
The goal is not to eliminate accents, but to help students to make themselves readily understood.
Model clear speaking and use repetition.
Demonstrate the mechanics of how each individual sound is produced (placement of lips, tongue, teeth.)
Clap or count syllables and stress.
Model inflection. Even correctly pronounced words and sentences can be misunderstood if the inflection is not consistent with standard English.
Consider pace. Encourage students to slow the pace of their speech so that they will be more understandable.
There are many useful pronunciation guides on the web, such as English Club.
What is the best way to approach English grammar?
We recommend you address grammar using real-life, content-based material such as the
ESL newspapers, recorded television programs, student writing, role-playing conversations, etc.
Have the students identify idioms or grammar forms that are confusing to them, then use those
forms to model other examples and construct exercises. Limit your focus to one or two points
per session, give ample opportunity for practice and review often. You can use this Checklist t
o monitor student's progress, and refer to this online list of grammar points to focus on.
Some of my ESL/EFL students are obviously lost in class, but I can't hold everybody up just for them - what do I do?
Create a comfortable atmosphere for students to take the initiative in asking for clarification.
Leave time for questions and wait longer than usual for responses to questions you ask.
For each lesson make your aim, structure, main points and transitions clear. Preview and Summarize.
Let students know when something is very important.
Take the last two minutes of class and ask students to write what they learned and what they are still unsure of, collect them and use their questions as a starting point for the next class.
My ESL/EFL students need more opportunities to speak English outside of class. How can I help?
Exposure and practice are the keys to learning a new language. Encourage your students to set aside some family
time every day where only English is spoken, and to have more contact with other English speakers, perhaps by
volunteering in the community – in their children’s schools, or for community service agencies. Use your
creativity to devise tasks, role-plays, or field trips that require more English practice.
TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
This acronym might be a substitute for TESL more than for TEFL. It is sometimes preferred
over TESL because English can be a third, fourth or fifth, etc. language to a student.
TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Teaching English as a Foreign Language – is an industry catering for students
studying English in non-English speaking countries (see EFL). It is often taught
by both native English speakers and local experts, although native English
speakers are generally considered preferable. Common qualifications for TEFL
teachers include certificates and diplomas issued by UCLES
(University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate)
and Trinity International Examinations Board of Trinity College, London.
TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language
The teaching of English in an environment where English is the predominant language, to someone whose first language is not English.
TEAL: Teaching English as an Additonal Language
TEIL: Teaching English as an International Language
TESP: Teaching English for Specific Purposes
ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Languages
EOP: English for Occupational Purposes
EAP: English for Academic Purposes
EFL: English as a Foreign Language
The study or learning of English in an environment where English is not
already the predominant language, such as in a non English speaking country,
by someone whose first language is not English.
ESL: English as a Second Language
The study or learning of English in an environment where English is the predominant
language, by someone whose first language is not English.