Thoughts From an English as a Second Language TeacherWritten by esldave on December 27th, 2010
My name is Alan Cohen and I teach English as a Second language. My students are adults from Cape Verde, Haiti and Guatemala. I enjoy teaching because it is nice to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
The educational backgrounds of my students vary. Some were professionals – they were math teachers, pharmacists, and computer professionals in their countries. Others worked in factories.
I teach a variety of concepts but mainly focus on speaking, pronunciation, listening, writing, and spelling skills.
Yesterday, our first guest speaker visited us. He is a candidate running for mayor of our community. The students enjoyed listening and talking with the speaker. Both the candidate and I learned a lot of what it is like to come to a new country. I think it is important for my students to become part of their community.
Sometimes you get an idea for a class and you think it is going to be great. Instead, it fails. It happened to me today.
For the past few weeks I began each class with a dictation exercise. I read from the book “The Heart of a Leader” by Ken Blanchard. While some of the vocabulary is above their level, they enjoyed the stories and discussed how they can use each story’s principle to set goals for their lives.
Today, I used a similar technique. I brought in the book, “Full Steam Ahead” by Ken Blanchard and Jesse Stoner and the audio version of the book on CD. I played a section as they read along. The lesson was a flop.
However, luck was on my side. I had the students read the text. They found it challenging.
An idea came to me. I recorded them reading sections of the text. We then analyzed their pronunciation. The lesson became a success.
Tomorrow I am going to record then reading and save the recording. I am then going to record them reading the same text at the end of the month. This will give us a chance to listen and analyze how they have improved.