Whether you're with a class of new learners or with your child, teaching spoken English can seem like a daunting task. The key is to divide the lessons into simple segments that are easy for any beginning English speaker to understand. Start by planning easy lessons and conversations for students to practice, using flashcards and exercises to guide them. Then remind them of the importance of body language while also using effective gestures in your lessons or classes. When you build a productive learning environment, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the progress that you and the students can make.
Method 1 of 4: Choose content for classes
Step 1. Create a lesson plan with relatable basic topics
Before you start teaching a new class, decide what you want to focus on. Grab a blank sheet of paper or open a document in a word processor to start creating a list of important topics to cover. Focus on simple classes, such as pronunciation and phonetic skills, basic vocabulary, simple verb tenses (past, present, future), and simple sentence structures (simple and compound).
- Don't pick topics that are too complicated. While parts of speech are an important aspect of English, new or young speakers will not understand what adverbs and prepositions are.
- Focus on topics that are easy to role-play in a classroom, like asking someone about someone else's weekend.
Step 2. Spend time talking and practicing pronunciation techniques
Encourage students to listen as you say a word or series of words out loud. Once you say these words, have the students repeat after you. Focus especially on the pronunciation of vowels and letters that sound different from the alphabet. To accompany the learning process, record the students as they speak. Then play the recording.
- Pay particular attention to words that are spelled similarly but are pronounced differently, such as "rat" and "rate" or "fat" and "fate."
- Have students pronounce words that are identical in spelling except for a single vowel, such as "pin" and "pen."
Step 3. Make the classes revolve around specific verbs and vocabulary
Don't try to teach too many words at once. If students are overwhelmed, they may not be able to understand the topic well. Focus on small and simple topics during each class period. Spend more time with common verbs like "do", "make", "go" and "play".
- A good idea is to develop a lesson plan in advance. As much as you teach someone informally, the structure will benefit your English classes.
- If you want to teach your child, keep the classes short, in 15-minute increments. Use these segments to educate him throughout the day.
Step 4. Talk about conjugation techniques with simple verbs
Focus on classes that revolve around simple verb conjugations, such as past, present, and future. While the English language has many exceptions and rules, don't mention them to beginning learners right away. If you come across irregular verbs or words, explain how they work in a sentence or conversation (not in the general English grammar system).
Use the same verb to explain verb conjugations. It begins by explaining the different tenses of the verb "play". Unlike "go" and "do", "play" follows the structure of the past, present, and future in a way that is easy to understand (eg, "played", "play", "will play")
Step 5. Practice saying simple and compound sentences
Introduces students to the basics by describing the various elements of sentence structure in English. Explain that a simple sentence only has one subject and one verb, while a compound sentence includes two subjects and two verbs.
Provide examples of each type of sentence as you include students in them. For instance:
"Laura goes to school" is a simple sentence.
"Laura likes math, but Juan likes science" is a compound sentence.
- Remind students that compound sentences are created with conjunctive words like "and" and "but."
Method 2 of 4: Do Creative Activities
Step 1. Choose interactive activities that allow students to apply new knowledge
Create a sample conversation, focusing on topics that students can represent. Invite them to stand up when engaging in a practice conversation, as it will feel more real than sitting behind a desk. If you practice scenarios in stores, make one student the merchant and another the customer.
For example, you can have two students ask for directions. Focus on the question vocabulary by having a student ask how to get to the nearest gas station. Instruct the other to respond with address vocabulary, such as "right" and "left."
Step 2. Design flashcards for each new class
Use colored index cards and permanent markers or pens to create an effective study routine. Invite students to practice new words by underlining terms and phrases that relate to the current lesson on one side of the card. Use pictures and symbols on the other side of the cards to serve as definition.
If the students are English language learners, use their native language on the other side of the card
Step 3. Explain the difference between formal and informal language
Tell students to use casual words and sentences when talking with friends and family. Then, establish how to use formal words and sentences when speaking with strangers and acquaintances. Include a class on basic manners and etiquette by explaining the difference, noting that formal language is important when speaking with new adults and friends.
- Use a sample dialogue to explain the difference between these language styles. You can use "Good evening! How has your day been going?" as an example of formal language and "Hey! What's up?" as an example of informal language.
- Remind students that they are likely to use informal language when speaking with friends and others their age.
Step 4. Remind students not to use imprecise language
Use flashcards and other visual aids to provide a list of imprecise and unhelpful terms. Provide examples of specific language that they can use in conversation. Then create a sample dialogue or scenario for them to follow. If you hear students using imprecise language, make an effort to point it out and correct it.
- For example, explain how the words "stuff" and "thing" are imprecise and of little use in conversation.
- In the context of a store, tell students that "I'd like to buy that pencil" is much more useful and specific than "I'd like to buy that thing."
Step 5. Teach students the "start, respond, and follow-up" model
Guide students through the flow of casual conversation by helping them start a new topic, such as asking about someone's day or weekend. Continue the class by reminding them to provide an answer. Help beginning English speakers continue the dialogue by asking follow-up questions. Repeat this pattern of conversation until the students get it right.
For example, have two students have a simple conversation about the weekend. One can "start" with a question, like "How was your weekend?" The other can "respond" by saying "It was good." The student can then "follow up" by asking the first student about their weekend
Step 6. Clarify the difference between interactional and transactional language
Remind students that the regular "interactional" conversations they have with friends, family, or acquaintances are different from the "transactional" conversations they have in stores and restaurants, where they buy goods or services. Provide examples and prepare sample dialogues so they can witness the difference on their own.
A good example of an interactional conversation can be:
"Hey! Did you do the homework last night?"
"Yes, I did."
A good example of a transactional conversation can be:
"Excuse me! How much will it cost for 1 slice of pizza?"
"It will cost $ 2.50."
Step 7. Pair students to practice basic conversations
If you teach more than one student, encourage them to learn together. Assign different roles to each student (such as merchant and customer) and provide a slogan for the conversation. Invite students to interpret these conversations for a more complete learning experience.
- For example, you can imagine that a desk is the cash register in a fast food restaurant. Tell one student to be the employee and another to be the customer.
- Students might be more interested if they move around the classroom or learning area.
Method 3 of 4: Use Effective Body Language
Step 1. Change your facial expression when teaching
Keep classes from being monotonous and overwhelming by adding a touch of personality and fun elements. Think of ways you can add exaggerated expressions of joy or sadness in your classes or other displays of emotion. If you show commitment while teaching, chances are good that your students will feel and act with commitment.
For example, if you teach students about different responses to conversations, you can use facial expressions to help. Say something like "Yes, I'd be happy to do that!" may be accompanied by a big smile, while "I'm sorry, I can't make it!" may be accompanied with a frown
Step 2. Encourage the students to act in different settings
Don't force them to stay in one place while teaching them different concepts. Instead, it replicates real-world scenarios, such as a restaurant or a visit to a store. Switch roles so students can experiment with different questions and answers.
If you practice with your child, ask him what role he wants to adopt first. Keep changing as you practice different conversations
Step 3. Incorporate effective gestures to make classes more dynamic
Think of smart ways to use your hands and arms to make vocabulary classes clearer for students. As you go, use exaggerated movements to establish your point, as it will be much more interesting for the students. As students speak, invite them to use larger, more dramatic hand movements as well.
For example, big hand gestures can be helpful in a class on adjectives. When explaining the words "tall" and "short," extend and lower your arms to show a person's height
Step 4. Help students analyze body language in a video
Look for sample conversation videos on the internet. Focus on language learning video channels or, if relevant, channels with child-friendly content. Play the video once or twice, instructing students to observe the various behaviors and gestures used by the speakers in the video. If necessary, explain each gesture and show them how to use them in everyday conversations.
For example, in a video describing a basic greeting, the actors might wave their hands to say "hello" and "goodbye." Remind them that they can also wave their hands when greeting someone
Step 5. Explain what to do and what not to do about physical contact in conversation
Depending on the age and culture of the students, you may have to dedicate a class exclusively to personal space and how it translates into regular conversation. It describes that they should not stand right next to a person, but should offer a comfortable amount of space of at least about 2 feet (60 cm). Prepare some sample conversations for students to practice.
If you notice that students are too close to each other or accidentally violate someone else's boundaries, don't scold them. Instead, point out what they are doing wrong and how they can improve
Method 4 of 4: Foster a productive environment
Step 1. Prioritize constant communication over correctness of answers
Remind students at the beginning of each class that practice is the most important. Explain how language learning is a process of trial and error, and that it is okay to make mistakes when learning to speak a new language. Focus on creating a nurturing and welcoming environment, as this will make students feel more comfortable.
Encourage students to take on challenges during each class. If they say something wrong, you can always help them
Step 2. Establish ground rules for each class
Create a respectful and engaging environment by reminding students to be polite and kind to the teacher and their peers. Encourage them to raise their hands when they have a question instead of interrupting or talking on top of others.
- If you want students to commit to these rules, consider writing an agreement and having them sign it.
- If students are not polite, the learning environment will not be as productive or helpful.
Step 3. Encourage students to participate in classes
Pay attention to those who are not as active or involved as much in different topics. Help them participate by inviting them to take part in practice conversations and by encouraging them to answer questions during class.
If students do not participate in a class, it does not necessarily mean that they are bored. They may have a hard time understanding it
Step 4. Give students plenty of time to practice new words and phrases
Don't expect them to memorize new vocabulary and talking points right away. Instead, exercise them with flashcards and other practice exercises that help them build a solid foundation. Keep reviewing the same topics for weeks and months, even if you have moved on with different lessons.
Repetition and practice are key when it comes to improving spoken English
Step 5. Use your experiences to create authentic lessons
Remember when you have learned English for the first time. As much as you may not have recent memories, remember the fun and interesting aspects of the classes. Take scenarios from your own journey as an English speaker and add them to practice exercises.