ESL Tutoring Tips For Dummies

I’m betting you aren’t a dummy, but tutoring ESL for the first time might make you feel like one. Be on top of your game with these simple tips!

Don’t forget to do your research

ESL isn’t a new thing. There are hundreds upon thousands of blogs out there – there are blogs with activity examples and websites with actual worksheets you can download.

Clicking around the web for a few hours can give you inspiration for your own lesson plan. Good places to start are this awesome blog post (for TAPIFers) and the islcollective.

You can also check out my 5 favorite ESL activities for high school if you’re in the need for some more inspiration.

Plan for two instead of one

An hour can seem like a short time when it comes to teaching, but sometimes lessons go faster than you expected them to, or sometimes they don’t work at all and you’re forced to move onto something else. Whatever it is, it happens, it’s just a good idea to have a few different activities up your sleeve for a single lesson.

Make sure you aren’t the one doing all the talking

I was guilty of this the first few times I tutored. Sometimes it’s easy to just want to fill the silence. As a language student as well as a tutor, I know how relieved I was when the teacher did most of the talking. Only, it didn’t help me out.

Make them flounder for a bit instead of instinctively feeding them words – they’ll thank you in the long run.

Ask what they would like to focus on

Sounds too simple, but it can be a lot easier than trying to build up a general lesson plan from absolutely nothing. See what they know and what they don’t, what vocab is a little spotty, ect. By having a clear beginning, you can create a finish line.

Do what other people have done

Use those free downloads!! They’re there for a reason. There’s nothing wrong with using another teacher’s lesson (or lessons). If they’re popular, it’s because they work. Some of my favorite lessons came from other teacher’s ideas.

Don’t forget to have fun!

Of course have fun. This is English, not math! (Sorry to those who actually find math entertaining.) Your students will probably feel just as nervous speaking to a native as you will starting your one-on-one teaching career. Listen to songs, tell them funny anecdotes. Try to present English as a way of fun interaction and a door to whole new world – if you’re passionate about it, they will be too!!

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