Saturday, April 28, 2007

Simple Present Functions: My Typical Day

One good method for teaching the Simple Present tense (or any verb tense) to ESL students is to have them use the tense to describe their own life experiences. For example, there are two functions for the Simple Present: (1) to express general truths (e.g., The sun rises in the East) and, (2) to express habits or rituals. Asking the student to express habits or rituals in his or her own life will help to reinforce the latter function of the Simple Present tense.

One homework assignment I give to my beginning ESL students is for them to write at least 20 sentences about their typical day. First, I give them some written examples of my typical day. I find that having a written example for students to follow is very helpful. It looks something like this:

My Typical Day

Every day, I wake up at 8 a.m.
I feed my two cats.
I meditate for twenty minutes.
I make breakfast.
Usually, I eat cereal with milk.
Then, I take a shower.
Next, I prepare for my students.
I leave my house at 10 a.m.

You may notice from this list that you can also ask the student to include “time markers” (next, then, after, etc.) if you’ve already covered these.

For any homework assignment where I am asking the student to write something from scratch (as opposed to something like a cloze exercise where most of the language is already provided), I ask the student to give me sample answers before he or she leaves our tutoring lesson. For example, for this Simple Present exercise, I will ask, “What do you do every day?” or “What time do you get up? When do you eat breakfast,” etc. This way, the ESL student is producing the language and should have an easier time of it when they do their homework on their own.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! I'm so glad that I've found your blog--I'm about to begin as an ESL tutor this week in Upstate NY... one more training session to go! I'm looking for lesson plans, tips, whatever, and I think I'll enjoy reading your blog. Bookmarked!

Anonymous said...

another fan of your blog here. thanks for posting! its really interesting and informative!