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How To Keep International Adult Students Interested In Your Teaching

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In an ideal world, all of our students would be interested in all of our classes all of the time. And many international students are really motivated to learn English, and will be paying attention to your every word.

But that won't always be the case. No matter how good a teacher you are, no matter how good the school is, there is always going to be one class eventually that just doesn't care. Maybe they had a bad teacher the year before, who turned them off to English. Maybe their parents are putting too much pressure on them. Or it could just be it's the period before lunch!

The reason doesn't matter. What matters is finding a way to get their attention back and make them eager to learn. We asked several international teachers for lessons they use when they need to get their students' interest back. Here are some of the ideas they shared with us.

·      Download a popular film in English with English subtitles. Make it something that is age-specific for them. This will get them to want to understand it. Plus, if they have seen it before, they'll be interested in seeing how the lines they liked in their language are said in English.

·      Dedicate a day to learning English slang – and include some cheeky swear words. Many international teachers stick to teaching formal English. Learning to talk the way “cool people” talk is far more interesting for the average student. Doing this with song lyrics or Instagram captions can be really fun.

·      Nearly everyone in the world is interested in how others see their country and their culture. Print out some recent news stories about their country in English, and have them read them and discuss how they differ from their local media.

·      If that doesn't work, try the same exercise but less seriously. Print out some articles from English-language celebrity gossip sites. You can bet more than a few students will want to talk about scandals and gossip involving the rich and famous, so they will be motivated to learn the words.

·      Tell them about a problem you are having in the local culture – something simple like not understanding the local bus line. Giving you help will inspire them, because it will make them feel more knowledgeable about something than you, and that makes people feel good.

·      If your headmaster will allow it, take them out of the classroom and into town and ask them to show you the things they find interesting – but insist they speak English. This will give them a chance to show off the place they live, and be much more refreshing than sitting in the classroom.

·      Learn about their local sports team, then dedicate a class to talking about it. Most international students like sports even more than American students, and will be delighted to talk about it for hours.

·      When all else fails, pretend that you can't figure something out on your smartphone or other mobile device. Nothing will make them happier than to help an “old” out with something that seems so basic to them.

cc InternationalEducators.com


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