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Resources for teaching english as a second language

LucidLucid Registered User regular
I've been teaching english to newcomers for the past four months or so. The lessons I've been given to use often don't seem adequate, some of my students have expressed a sort of disappointment at the content. The lessons are just photocopied from various texts, I believe. They're not useless, but my supervisor just recently asked if I could look into finding some more or better lessons. She said they may invite me to a meeting about it soon, but for now I've been doing research. I'm completely new to this however, and thought I'd ask if anyone on the forums has had experience, perhaps with suggestions to offer.

My students are fairly diverse. They're refugee status, most are moving towards citizenship. The level of knowledge ranges from nothing beyond hello/goodbye/how are you? to those that are able to have fairly advanced conversations. I teach from the alphabet to more advanced things like idioms.

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    spaboollyspaboolly Registered User regular
    I don't have any experience teaching languages, but I have quite a bit of experience learning and using them. I've always felt that practice is the best way to learn, forcing the students to cement the language in their minds so that using it is more natural and less of a complex process of "Okay, that word in English means this in Spanish, and this is how it's used in a sentence." It's more engaging for the students too.

    Again, I'm not a teacher, but if the resources at your disposal now are limited to some photocopied worksheets, then finding some slightly better worksheets may not be as helpful as finding a more practical method of teaching. Are all of these students in the same class, where you could maybe do some sort of exercises that would allow the more fluent ones to help teach/practice with the others? Have you looked into some of the educational computer programs used in schools? (not sure if you have the equipment for that, but even just using it as a blueprint for making your own lessons might work) Have them read simple books in English as a class? I have a friend studying Japanese who loves to read Japanese kids books.

    I don't know if any of this is really helpful at all, but I hope at least it might give you some ideas.

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    finralfinral Registered User regular
    This website may help you: eslcafe.com/

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    SilverEternitySilverEternity Registered User regular
    I agree with @spaboolly that doing mixed grouping between students of different levels of proficiency is a good idea. Do the students engage in much conversation or is the work "photocopied from various texts" mostly reading/writing? There is a cool app free called Duolingo that was recommended to me by an ESL teacher (if your students have access to smart phones or computers). I took a class last semester on teaching "literacy learners" that focused on ESL, but primarily at the K-12 level. Much of the course focused on "culturally relevant" instruction. Specifically, being cognizant of the context of instruction and creating and environment where students have something of their own culture represented.

    Also similar to @spaboolly‌ said, having a range of reading material available might be helpful. In the past when I taught at a school with a significant population of native Spanish speakers I created a classroom library with a wide range of books on different topics and levels available including some in students' native languages. I had a student who could barely speak English, but would readily dive into science fiction books written in English. This can be costly, but can be done relatively inexpensively by going to library used book sales or hitting up garage sales.

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    spaboollyspaboolly Registered User regular
    Also similar to @spaboolly‌ said, having a range of reading material available might be helpful. In the past when I taught at a school with a significant population of native Spanish speakers I created a classroom library with a wide range of books on different topics and levels available including some in students' native languages. I had a student who could barely speak English, but would readily dive into science fiction books written in English. This can be costly, but can be done relatively inexpensively by going to library used book sales or hitting up garage sales.
    Or asking for donations if you live/teach in a community where that would be feasible (i.e. not impoverished, bigoted, etc). Duolingo is a cool app as well (been using it to brush up on Spanish after not needing it for several years), but I don't personally like the fact that it teaches essentially by rote memorization rather than understanding and application. Definitely could be useful though if you have the resources.

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    LucidLucid Registered User regular
    Interesting ideas, thanks everyone.

    The library thing might be something I'll mention. I know a few librarians that could assist or offer further ideas, so it may have potential.

    Some of my younger students have smartphones, so the Duolingo app may be something I can suggest.

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