When thinking about teaching a class full of esl
students, a lot of things come to mind as important aspects to consider, when trying to be truly affective. What I have found is that one constant theme that is important no matter what skill level or class size is rapport. A general fact that we must always remind ourselves of is that learning in a classroom is easier if you enjoy being there. A large part of a student's enjoyment and excitement level can be controlled by the leader of the classroom, their teacher
. If the teacher
shows excitement and energy in their lessons, this oftentimes can be transferred to their students, regardless of the lesson.
In order to be able to effectively spread that energy and excitement day in and day out there has to be some kind of relationship with the students. That relationship is what we call rapport and it should be treated with the care and attention that you treat any of your friends. One of the first ways that you can begin to build this relationship is on your first day meeting your students. Make an honest effort to learn their names. Nothing says I don't really care like asking someone their name on the 5th class. If you have a bad memory like I do, then you should begin by referring to them by their names the moment you meet them and continue to check yourself even when not speaking to them. This will go a long way when you are trying to use some of the other tips that will be stated later.
The next step to building that important relationship with your students is listening to them when they speak. Having a class of 20-30 students might make this difficult but any effort on your part will definitely help. Paying attention to things like their hobbies, whether or not they have children
and where they come from can go a long way as these can become things you can build your lessons around. This can make teaching and learning certain topics so much less painful and more fun for teacher
s and students alike.
What's next and very important is to make yourself approachable. This begins before the class even starts, as you should try to be their early to talk with the students. This should happen after class if time permits, because it can make you seem more human. Also, tell them that they can ask you questions
outside of the classroom and do your best to be available to answer these questions
. In many foreign places especially East-Asian countries, teacher
s are very respected, but this can become a disadvantage sometimes as some students might become very intimidated by you simply because you are their teacher
. The simple act of making yourself available to them reveals that you aren't so scary. You can become more like a friend as well as someone who can help them with things that interest them.
Finally, if this is your job and it is something that you are hopefully passionate about then act like it. Think about your lessons as if you were in your student's shoes and ask yourself if you would want to be in your class. Try to show your sense of humor if you have one. If the subject is something you know about then elaborate on it. Laugh about things with your students even if it's yourself. When you talk to them look at them in their eyes and SMILE. When they do well tell how well they have done, and if they make a mistake tell them when necessary, but remind them that it isn't the end of the world. If you show them that you care about being there with them then they will oftentimes return that feeling with their effort, their attitudes, or both.
In my short experience teaching non-esl children
, I have learned that the statement, “you get what you give” really applies. If you have flawless lessons but are lacking rapport with your students, you will only be so effective as a teacher
. When I think back on all of the teacher
s that I had from elementary - college, the truly special teacher
s were able to create both great lessons, as well as a relationship with me. They weren't always just overly nice, or forceful of their friendship, but they simply reminded me that they cared about me and my education through their actions. That made all the difference to me and really impacted how I view learning.