Tuesday, October 19, 2010

4 Tricks for Getting Slow ESL Learners to Start Learning Fast.

picutre by http://justicebuilding.blogspot.com/

1. Always get the bad student on your side and the rest will fall in line.
No one wants to be the absolute worst student of the class but when you have one, he sets the bar for the rest to act wild. But what happens then, when your worst student gets better? No one wants to wear that crown...

2. Kids will rise to the expectation you set for them.
If you expect them to be stupid or bad, they'll meet that expectation. But if you see potential in them, they'll see it in themselves.

3. Give them higher challenges but don't make them unreachable.
Everyone appreciates a good challenge. Give a student something easy, they'll get lazy and lose respect for it. Expect too much of your students and you'll only succeed in
alienating them from what you want them to learn. Somewhere you have to play the grey line of challenging tests. Give them a chance to define their own challenges; occasionally, you need to let them set their own bar or a bar that challenges their unending potential.

4. Always focus on the special skills and talents they have to encourage confidence.
Sometimes, it's hard to find redeemable qualities about a bad student, but it doesn't have to be big. It could be as small  "Hey, you write very nice "S"'s". Whatever it is, point it out... in front of everyone. Make that student the role model every once in a while and you may see a silent pride and a giant shift called confidence. Why? They need to know they're good at something. This is called the sweet taste of success and it gives them confidence to want to be better! An achievement, no matter how small is an achievement for kids.

During one of our recent classes, I played a brilliant Powerpoint game I found on Waygook.org called the Olympics (awesome awesome game on comparisons-I'll post it later!)  Students work in teams and must send up an athlete they think can win the event, like who is the strongest (arm wrestling)? Or who has the longest hair? ...

We were short on time so my CT wanted me to stick to the textbook vocab words. "Biggest" was on the list, BUT the ppt had the event -- Who has the smallest feet? Knowing Chanhyuk was our smallest student and the one most challenged by learning, I switched in the small feet event and when it came up, the kids all roared with laughter and cheered his name. Little Chan hyuk was so proud he was of his tiny feet! But it encouraged classroom recognition and confidence for little Chan hyuk.

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