Tag Archives: teaching techniques

• Quick and User-Friendly Technique to Teach Summarize Skills of a Reading Passage

Cover EZ summarizing

The teacher was feeling a bit overwhelmed. He was assigned a Reading course in which summarizing was one of the goals. Where to start? A colleague suggested a rather arduous process of having students identifying and clarifying the topic of the passage. This would be followed by techniques for finding the most important point the author was making for each paragraph. Then they would practice how to identify supporting points.  They would practice recognizing key word and practice paraphrasing those. And on and on.

All those steps above are totally unnecessary.

The easy summarizing-skill technique

Here is the basis for this technique: We always have a reason for summarizing specific information from an article. (In real life, and even mainstream academic courses, are we ever asked to just summarize everything in an article?)

Examples of the technique

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An Invitation to join Facebook Common Sense Teaching ESL Discussion Group

Facebook

I recently started a Facebook group and would like to invite all the readers of this site to join. You can click on the icon on the right column or below.

About this group

This group is for ESL teacher from around the world who would like to discuss methods and techniques that can be effectively used in our Conversation, Writing, Reading, Listening and Grammar courses. We are especially interested in ways to make our lessons more student-centered. Members are encouraged to share challenges that they’ve faced and successes they experienced when trying to meet the goals of their courses and motivating students. In addition to members initiating topics, I’ll include postings of teaching techniques from this blog for possible discussions.

Here is the link to the group: Facebook Common Sense Teaching ESL Discussion Group

David Kehe

• Engaging Student-Centered Classification Writing Unit Using Inductive Approach

WAI Cover shot

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

Teachers, if you prefer to be the center of attention during a lesson, THIS UNIT IS NOT FOR YOU. But if you to play the role of a coach, setting up the lesson, briefly explaining the exercises and stepping aside to let students engage in assignments allowing you more time to work individually with each student, THIS UNIT IS FOR YOU.

YouTube In this YouTube video Engaging, Student-Centered ESL Writing Unit Using Inductive Approach , I describe the unit exercises

  • which use an inductive approach,
  • the rationale for each one,
  • how they engage students,
  • how they lead students to write a four to five paragraph essay with a variety of details.

After you watch the video, you’ll be all set to download the unit for free and use it with your students.

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• “What would you say if you were interviewing for an ESL teaching position?” (A question from a reader)

job interview

When I’m on a search committee, while we are interviewing an applicant, I can’t help but start thinking about how I would answer the interview questions myself.  It’s actually a good values clarification exercise (although perhaps best not to mentally practice it while interviewing someone).  So I appreciate Kevin’s question.

Instead of writing out a script of what I would say, I’ll explain what I would include, in general, in my response to some of the more commonly asked interview questions.

Question 1: What is your philosophy of language teaching and learning?

Everything that I do in my classroom is based on the premise that language learning is about skill development. Speaking, writing and reading a second language involve using skills. And just like learning other skills, for example, driving a car, playing tennis, or learning a musical instrument, ESL students need focused practice to develop their language skills.

The teacher’s role in helping students develop their skills is to find or produce activities that will engage students and that are at the right level of challenge for them.  The teacher is like a coach, setting up and introducing the practice session and then stepping back and being ready to offer support and guidance.

Also, just like when developing any skill, when learning a language, students should be given opportunities to make mistakes and to learn from them in a non-threatening environment.  This means that the teacher needs to relinquish being the center of attention.
(For more about this, see Introduction to Teaching ESL: Student-Centered Approach)

Question 2: What do you think are some of the greatest challenges facing ESL teachers?

I think ESL teachers often have an image problem.  Their image of a teacher is someone who stands in front of the class talking to the students and conducting the lesson with all the students’ eyes on him or her.  In fact, I recently heard a teacher say that she felt like she wasn’t earning her pay if she wasn’t in front conducting the class.  So the challenge is to break this image and realize that our job is to engage students in developing their language skills and for this to happen, the teacher has to stop being the center of attention.  Teachers are doing their jobs when their students are learning how to write better by actually writing in Writing class, or read better by reading in Reading class and by speaking in Conversation class. Students will actually progress faster when the teachers are on the sidelines giving support.

This doesn’t mean that teachers should never talk to the class as a whole. But we should realize that we are still good teachers even when, or especially when, we are not talking and when students are engaged in an activity.

Question 3A: Let’s talk about how you teach conversation skills.  What is your approach?

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