Teacher's Tips:
Teach the Learner...
    Not the Curriculum!

Red Bar

by Don Edic, ESL Director
Literacy & Evangelism, International

Teach the Learner
Jazz Chants
A Learning Session
Begin to think of your learners as being in a "learning session" rather than a "class." We have discovered learners speaking more and better English in the supermarkets and variety stores than in a structured classroom. Possibly, your learners did not have a good formal education experience, so a classroom is intimidating rather than comfortable. Provide an environment that causes daring, courageous, intrepid and adventuresome attempts to learn English.

If you have received your formal education in the United States, you may have to undergo some "readjustment" with your tutoring method. Let me explain.

Those of us who were educated in the United States went through the major educational years of our lives sitting in a formal, structured classroom. We sat behind desks with textbooks and had a teacher standing in front of the room using black (green) boards.

You may have to undergo some readjustment with your tutoring method!
The class structure was designed for us to listen, absorb information from our skilled teacher as he/she taught us. Even when learning another language, we memorized lists of vocabulary, grammar forms, idioms, etc. The teacher was above us, we were supposed to be subordinate.

Presently, most research shows that language acquisition is best accomplished by more than one method...more like "immersion." The lessons in PASSPORT are best taught in a free-flowing environment where there are no time constraints or negative pressures.

Try these classroom techniques

Less Sitting at desks, more movement by playing games, field trips and role-playing. If you want your learners to join in the fun of doing a game, then you will have to lovingly encourage and help them to get up and join the others standing ready to play.
Attempt to pronounce some of their words! Laughter makes people relax (as long as you're not laughing at them). You can use children's games and do things children enjoy, without becoming childish. We all have the child still in us, so use this natural relaxed atmosphere to promote language learning.
Try something new or different. Don't let the fear of failing keep you from trying something new. Sameness is borring, yes? And if what you do doesn't quite do the trick, then you don't have to do it again! But don't let the possibility of failure keep you from trying. You'll never know if it works unless you try.

Passport to the World of English
This is an international curriculum, not a United States curriculum. You will notice this as you look at the line-art. Those pictures are from our many language primers from around the globe representing many cultures and customs.

Therefore, if you are teaching English in the United States, you will have to provide relevant pictures, objects, conversations, emergency phone numbers, common colloquialisms that are needed for your learners.

If you teach PASSPORT in Bangkok, Quito or Nairobi, you will have to provide "culturally specific"' objects, pictures that will be known and relevant for your learners. So keep on purchasing magazines, cards and calendars that have pictures demonstrating vocabulary, action words, pronunciation as well as concepts of the key scriptures.*

    *From An ESL Handbook for Christian Tutors
        by Donald Edic, ESL Director

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ESL Ministry
Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church
1801 Lacassie Avenue Ball Walnut Creek Ball California 94596 Ball  925-935-1574
Joanne Rae Meads Ball jrmeads@worldnet.att.net
September 16, 1999

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