Teaching a new language to students can bring many challenges to both a teacher
and their students. Everything from grammatical structures to pronunciation, a teacher
should be aware that there are many areas where students will struggle and require extra attention. One area however, that a teacher
should not overlook is building confidence in their students and being mindful of their student's hesitation and uncertainty. To consider not being able to communicate openly and be in a situation where the only way to express your self is in another language can be more than a little intimidating or discouraging. There are various strategies an esl teacher
can employ to overcome their student's apprehension and to ensure comfort and confidence is gained.
One way a teacher
can minimize intimidation in their students is to focus on establishing good rapport with their class. A teacher
should always come off as an approachable person and be outgoing and positive towards their students. With this said, at the introduction phase of a course, a teacher
should make it known that they are interested in the welfare of their students. A teacher
should take a vested interest in their students; individually. Asking about their hobbies, their families, what the like and they don't like will make a student feel appreciated and comfortable with their teacher
. Creating an easy and comfortable relationship between the teacher
and student will help the student feel relaxed, trust their teacher
and feel in an environment where they can express themselves and feel comfortable.
Another way a teacher
can build confidence is the teaching methods they use when teaching new material. One way is drawing on material the students may already know. For example, older students may have been exposed to parts of the language before. When covering new material, students may be confused or the material may not resonate with them, leaving them feeling discouraged and lacking confidence in their ability. A teacher
can draw on material they have already been exposed to and teach in that context to prove their understanding. With this said, drilling and repetition with new material may be another way the students can practice, memorize to feel familiar and comfortable enough to challenge themselves and use it.
One other way a teacher
can build confidence is through feedback and positive encouragement. This suggestion may be obvious; however, students who are intimidated to speak may be searching for assurance or approval from their teacher
and a busy teacher
accommodating many students may overlook this simple gesture. When assigned little tasks, or asked simple questions
in class, a teacher
should really emphasize their student's strong points or accomplishments to make them feel assured. In doing so, and at appropriate times, the student will feel more apt to try speaking again or to challenge themselves more with the language, which in time, will aid in their overall language development.
Learning another language requires one to push their self out of their comfort zone and into an area that is unfamiliar and unnatural. There is not just one but many methods a teacher
should adopt to ensure their students hesitation and uncertainty is minimized. Creating a comfortable and accepting environment, establishing good rapport, allotting time for practice, and providing positive feedback and encouragement are just some of the techniques a teacher
can employ to build confidence in their students. With this said a consistent mix and use of these techniques, and others, will ensure students feel less intimidated and that they build confidence in their language development.