Teaching ESL
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how long do you stay on each grammar point?
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Author:  elecav [ Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:15 pm ]
Post subject:  how long do you stay on each grammar point?

HI,
I am new to this forum and i think it's great!
I am teaching both adults and kids, one to one or very small groups, and i need some advice concerning the kids. I have three aged 7-9 but they speak no english at all, they just no words by topic. So we have started with what's this? It's a/an, it's my.../it's your.../ what colour is it?, is it?.. yes it is, no it isn't. Just to get them started putting little sentences together. I use lots of games and activities, and they seem to like it. The problem is that i only teach them once a week, and i am not sure how much of what i teach them actually sinks in. I am not sure when it's time to move on to a different subject. If they still have difficulties answering yet is is or no it isn't, would you move on to something else or would you stay on that for more than a couple of lessons? By the way, each lesson i revise the previous topic.
Another question.. i have a 6 year old girl, but her attention span is like that of a 4 year old. The other day we played a game practicing my and your with toys but at the end of it she still didn't get what "my" was. that was sooo demoralising. Also, she's not able to learn more than 2 vocab per lesson. Is this normal or is it just her being particularly difficult? What do you do in this case?
Thanks so much, i feel i am getting nowhere with these kids!

Author:  mesmark [ Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:37 pm ]
Post subject: 

Welcome to the forums!

I also teach children just once a week. With the same age group, I usually spend 3 weeks (3 lessons) on one vocabulary unit. Once they know the vocabulary to an extent, then we can start to use it in different structures. I will focus on the target language for about 6 weeks (6 lessons) in a small conversation segment of my class. Then, I make sure that I review it quickly every other lesson for a few months. After that, I may bring it back from time to time just to refresh their memory.

I think sometimes it's better to move on to something else, but continue to have a review or old grammar usage portion in your lessons. That way you can continue to move forward but also pay attention to some older problem areas. You can always cycle back and do everything over again. It may seem like spinning your wheels a bit, but it's better to have a firm grasp of the fundamentals then to just be able to do what we are studying right now.

For your 6 year old, have you tried translating or checking understanding via Italian? I generally don't do any translation and try to let the students understand the meaning via context, but that doesn't work for everyone. I sometimes need to use the students' L1 to make sure everyone understands and so that we can move forward.

I also think that it's helpful at the end of the lesson to review what you learned that day. Then give the students the task of remembering that for next week, sort of like their homework. Sometimes kids go through the lesson not really paying attention to what it is they are supposed to remember. At the end of the lesson if you can summarize a point or two for them to remember, maybe they will.

I have had students that I thought weren't retaining anything. They seemed to be a blank page every class. However a few years later, they were the best in the class. Don't get too discouraged if you aren't seeing positive results right away.

That's not really any concrete "go do this" advice but maybe it helps :D

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