Friday, May 4, 2007

Teaching Adults ESL

One of the difficult things I find as an ESL tutor for adults is the limited amount of time that some adults have to devote to learning ESL. Some of my students are visiting the U.S. for the purpose of improving their English for their careers at home. These students are usually able to meet me two or three times per week. Many of my students live and work in the U.S. They have full-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities. For these latter ESL learners, meeting more than once a week is difficult.

In my advertisements for new ESL students, I usually write, “I strongly recommend that you commit to at least two lessons per week. I believe this is the minimum required for you to make notable progress in English.” If potential students cannot commit to at least two lessons per week, I stress at our first meeting together that their progress is highly dependant upon them working outside of our class to improve their English skills.

Some ESL learners still choose to meet with me only once a week. After working with some of these students for a couple of months, I often start to feel a bit unsatisfied (I don’t know it that’s the best adjective, it’s some uncomfortable feeling). I don’t see the student making enough progress. Sometimes I feel that I am taking their money without being able to deliver. Oh well. I deliver the lessons and it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to learn the language, if that is their desire.


Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel about taking student's money feeling as if you haven't delivered. Although I've been tutoring Japanese adults for more than full time for the past 6 years, a majority of my adult clients have very little motivation and defeatist attitudes towards English acquisition. Your post however, made me realize that the ones who study twice a week seem to have progressed exponentially more than the ones who only study once a week (even if it is despite themselves). I'm going to have to suggest that they come more often.

By the way, do you have any magic for motivating students, especially middle aged ones, to want to study?Also, how do you deal with student's lack of retention of the material that you have presented in spite of numerous reviews?