5 Tips for Teaching English

Teaching is an exciting but also complicated job. To teach English or another language, it is not only necessary to know the subject, there is another set of skills as important as the knowledge of the language: to deepen in the teaching of second languages, to know how to reach the students, to lead a class, to motivate, to solve conflicts, to design activities, to improvise, etc. For this, it will be necessary to acquire knowledge to train as a teacher of English as a foreign language.

For those who face the fascinating task of teaching a second language, many questions may arise. What do I do to get students interested? How do I know if they are understanding me? How do I deal with a group of people of different ages and interests? Let’s look at some tips for teaching English or another second language.

Learning a language

Before you learn how to teach English or another second language, you have to start by understanding how a language is learned.

Human beings have an innate ability to speak. During the first three years of life, we develop the linguistic and verbal skills that allow us to master our mother tongue(s). This is a natural and simple process, but learning a second language can be more complicated.

Language is accompanied by thought and social functionality, which is why we are forced to learn to speak. But when we learn a second language we do not accompany it with thought, nor do we need it to communicate socially with other people.

A common image in language classrooms is that of workbooks and worksheets that simulate certain situations but do not push students to think and communicate in that language.

The key to teaching English or a second language

The teaching of a second language must encourage thinking in that language.

Grammar rules and vocabulary are useless if we do not teach the student to communicate and think in another language. The language classroom should be a space for communication and exchange. It is the teacher’s job to generate such a space.

Tips for teaching English or a second language

Let’s see how we can create that space for communication in the classroom, and how we can transform the classroom into the ideal setting for teaching English or another second language.

1. Don’t abuse repetitive grammar or vocabulary exercises.

Forget about repetitive exercises intended to reinforce grammar rules or vocabulary. If necessary, they can be worked on at home as a complementary task but never as the basis for learning.

Remember that communication involves the acquisition of grammar and vocabulary.

2. Propose different activities to motivate the student

Dedicate classroom time to joint activities and communication spaces: debates, role-playing, theaters, staging of situations, dialogues, etc.

In addition to fostering communication, they help to increase student motivation and participation.

3. Make your students feel confident so they can communicate fluently.

Help your students feel confident and comfortable communicating. Remember that they are learning and it is not so important the accuracy of what they say, the most important thing is communication.

They must communicate without fear and embarrassment. With practice, they will gain accuracy and feel more confident. For this, we recommend this multilevel activity where students plan a party.

4. Help your students think in a second language without having to translate.

It helps students think in a second language. Thinking is supported by language and when we think we use an internal dialogue. Normally we use our native language to think and when we want to communicate in a different language our head first thinks it in the native language and then translates it into the other language.

It is important to help students think directly in the second language without the need to translate. To encourage this process, a very good activity is to watch television in another language.

You can start with short fragments, it doesn’t matter if they have already seen the movie, and it doesn’t matter if they don’t understand everything perfectly, the goal is for them to acquire that internal dialogue register. You can also use subtitles in the language they are learning.

5. Motivate students to attend meetings with native speakers.

If possible, encourage communicative encounters with native speakers of the language you are teaching. For this you have some options: language exchange sites, excursions, etc.

And let’s not forget new technologies. It is a resource with many possibilities when it comes to communicating with other users. We can create blogs, chat, send messages, or hold videoconferences.