My last post gave a run-down of how I teach listening in class.
I wrote briefly about authentic listening material and why it’s so important. This post is a collection of different sources and examples of listening materials that I think work the best for in ESL classes.
First, I’ll go through examples of listening materials I use in class.
Then we’ll look at resources that you can use to give your students outside of class listening homework.
Finally, I’ll talk about my favorite listening textbooks out of the ones I’ve used.
Let’s get started
At my first teaching job, I asked a fellow English teacher,
“What’s your favorite skill to teach?”
“Listening,” she replied. “Because I don’t have to do anything. Just press the play button.”
Even then, as a completely new teacher, I knew that there had to be more to teaching listening than that.
Love it or hate it, the five paragraph essay is a core part of writing curriculum in the United States. There are many arguments against it, but for most teachers and students, it’s here to stay. And while some people like to grumble about it, there are some solid benefits to writing in this style for both students and teachers.
So here’s my thesis statement: there are four reasons why teachers should teach the five paragraph essays, and one reason why they shouldn’t.
Not repulsed yet? Read on.
ESL students and teachers alike are often concerned with how to improve vocabulary, and for good reason. Words are the building blocks of any language. The more vocabulary you know, the more you can use and understand. Some studies show that students need to understand about 98% of the vocabulary in an academic reading passage to understand it. Standardized tests often use vocabulary as a measurement stick. Needless to say, if you’re an ESL teacher, you will always be integrating some type of vocabulary-building into your classes.
But once students have a solid foundation of vocabulary, how can you make it even better? This post is written with a very specific demographic in mind: ESL students who are entering or are already studying at American universities. A lot of these tips and ideas might apply to classes, but I wanted to focus on this specific group because sometimes it’s so hard to find practical ways to improve their vocabulary. At times, they seem to know it all already.
But then, of course, they don’t. And that’s why they need you.
A recent article by NPR describes the difficulties that introverts and “quiet” kids face in traditional classrooms. It presents some reasons why students might be quiet in class and states the need for their participation.
The article is nice, but it doesn’t offer many practical solutions to the question posed in the headline. How can teachers actually get quiet students to participate in class?
I’ve got a few ideas.
Computer brains use ones and zeros to organize and process information. But human brains use stories.
Don’t believe me? Read The Storytelling Animal for an entertaining and insightful look at this phenomenon; read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World if you want a mind-blowing novel on the same topic.
If you teach English as a second language, you should be using stories in your classes. Not only are they the ideal information-delivery mechanism for the brain, they’re also fun and interesting. And we all know English learners need to be entertained.
In this article, I’ll list a few activities that can be done in class to incorporate stories. I’ll explain how to do the activity, what materials you should use, and why it’s beneficial for learning.
Let’s get started.
Have you ever found yourself thinking these thoughts?
I wish my students would take fewer risks.
My students should really stop coming up with new ideas.
I need to structure my classes to reduce creativity.
If you have, then you’re on your way to becoming a good teacher. Every teacher should try to find ways to kill creativity in the classroom before it becomes a problem.
Happy Birthday to the United States!
Here are some ideas for lesson plans about America’s national holiday that you can use in your classes.
1. Practice numbers
There’s a lot of things you can do with numbers on this day. Here are some that you can work with:
- 4th of July
- 13 colonies
- 50 states
- 56 people who signed the Declaration of Independence
I’ve been reading books with the word “fluent” in the title. First, I reviewed Becoming Fluent. Then Fluent in 3 Months.
This time, I’m looking at Fluent Forever, a book by Gabriel Wyner, who was an opera singer before he became a polyglot and language hacker.
Like the first two I reviewed, this book is aimed at adults who are thinking about learning a foreign language. And again, I’m going to be reversing the point of view and looking at how it can be applied to teaching English as a foreign language.
So let’s take a look at the aspects of this book that are useful for ESL teachers.