Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mr., Ms., Miss, Mrs. for ESL Students

The titles Mr., Ms., Miss, and Mrs. are often difficult for English language learners. And it's something so basic to native English speakers that ESL tutors and ESL teachers often take this for granted. Perhaps, I should speak for myself. I often take it for granted.

I usually notice that these titles are difficult for ESL students when they are reading aloud. This leads to an impromptu discussion about the pronunciation of each of these titles, as well as how to appropriately use them. (There's also an opportunity for a small reinforcement of the s/z distinction and voiced and unvoiced sounds.)

These titles can also lead to a mini-history lesson about the title "Ms." And even in how to address letters.

The two main points here are that for the ESL teacher or tutor, there are lots of ideas for lesson plans, and flexibility is important during a class.



Lucy said...

I love teaching titles. As you post, this brings up pronunciation and lots more. In my case, it usually leads to greetings- and with French speakers, 'addressing' is very important. For example the use of Mr. and Sir, is often confused. For example, it is common for many of my students to want to say: Please follow me, Mr. - Instead of: Please follow me, Sir. Teaching titles opens up many opportunities for teaching functional language, pronunciation and more. Thanks for this interesting post.


Anonymous said...

I'm growing a bit weary of these vague posts...whom are they supposed to help?

Had you broken down the historical reasons for the titles, or how you went about teaching the s/z distinction, it would've been much more helpful.

You seem to be talented and have a lot of info. How about sharing it with the rest of us :)

Name: Debra Garcia, M.A. said...

Thank you "Anonymous" for your post. If you really want additional information about teaching ESL, please note the short paragraph in the right side of every page.

It says, "Most of the articles in this ESL blog are fairly short. If you'd like to get more grammar points, ESL lesson plans, and other information related to teaching ESL, you can check out my website at Teaching ESL to Adults."

For more information about s/z, you can take a look at http://www.teaching-esl-to-adults.com/voiced-and-unvoiced-sounds.html. This is one of the many pages on my Teaching ESL to Adults website.


Anonymous said...

I am looking for strategies to teach human rights to ESL students. Any thoughts or places I can look to find info?