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Can anyone give me some tips on teaching English to advanced level students?
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I'm used to teaching advanced students who are native speakers of Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Recently I have started teaching a student who is a Spanish speaker from Chile. He says that he wants to work on his pronunciation, vocabulary, listening comprehension and writing. However, as soon as we start to work on anything specific he cuts me off and chats about his problems with English and other topics that he is interested in. At the same time, he wants me to give him instant competency. I found a textbook that I thought would be suitable, but he doesn't like it. I prepared some material tailored for him - he did attempt it, but said he would rather use a text because its physical object would be a reminder to him to do some homework. I am finding it a bit stressful because although he is interesting to chat with I'm not actually teaching him anything...
If it's a private class, I'd relax and do what the person wants- if he's happy to sit around chatting, then do that, but sharpen your skills with using conversation as a teaching skill- build links and reminders across conversations, etc, without getting him worried by homework he'll never do.
I have private Tagalog classes and my teacher and I end up chatting, and she can get a piece of homework out of me about once a month. Every so often we go on a back-to-basics study drive, then end up chatting again.
Interestingly, the same topic has just cropped up in LinkedIn groups, some nice tips and links were shared, if you are there as well.
I totally agree with Tdol and could only add that in 1-2-1 teaching it makes perfect sense to share responsibility with the student in terms of what topics to cover, which skills to master, what specific needs to address. Homework can also be subject to mutual agreement but personally I wouldn't rely on that much.
As for learning, we never know for sure how it takes place, if it ever does - some students seem to trive on just chatting as if about nothing.