Saturday, May 19, 2007

Teaching “How are you?” to ESL Students

Teaching common greetings to ESL student is one of the tasks of an ESL teacher. However, teaching cultural differences is also part of the job description.

Let’s look at the greeting, “How are you?” I’ve found that some of my private ESL students will respond to this question in great detail about how they are currently feeling. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are beginners, intermediate or advanced ESL speakers. Many students don’t know that the socially correct response to this question is, “Fine, thank you. And you?” or some other short variation.

As an ESL tutor, it’s part of my responsibility to make students aware of the culturally appropriate response. However, it should also be done with sensitivity. After all, as ESL teachers we are always encouraging our students to speak and practice their English. In this case, we are telling them to not speak so much. We have to find a balance all around.


No comments: