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  1. #1
    stevie31 is offline Newbie
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    Default Help with private clases

    Hi there,
    I'm currently teaching in an academy and but I also teach private classes in Spain. My problem is this, I have a lot of students who start classes but then don't return. The other day I had a first class with a couple in which I gave them a level test and talked to them to assess what they know and why they want to learn English. They emailed me back saying they were bored and didn't want to continue classes even after I explained that that wasn't normally how classes would be. I'm new at this (although I have a degree in English and the TEFL Certificate) and need some suggestions. How can I make my classes more fun so I don't lose students and what kind of activities can be done with beginner students who refuse to learn grammar or do any exercises.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Help with private clases

    Quote Originally Posted by stevie31 View Post
    Hi there,
    I'm currently teaching in an academy and but I also teach private classes in Spain. My problem is this, I have a lot of students who start classes but then don't return. The other day I had a first class with a couple in which I gave them a level test and talked to them to assess what they know and why they want to learn English. They emailed me back saying they were bored and didn't want to continue classes even after I explained that that wasn't normally how classes would be. I'm new at this (although I have a degree in English and the TEFL Certificate) and need some suggestions. How can I make my classes more fun so I don't lose students and what kind of activities can be done with beginner students who refuse to learn grammar or do any exercises.
    Thanks in advance!
    On the face of it you need to make the first class fun, and by, say, the third class, they will let you know about their motivations, etc. With private teaching, you don't have to follow anyone else's plan. I would not like to be put through a series of tests and assessments in a first class either. They were obviously assessing you too, and thinking, "OK, show us what you've got!" and they obviously weren't blown away with excitement.
    Your academy students are probably more committed from the beginning, and might expect the way you prefer to practice.

    As far as private students who don't want to learn grammar, etc. I guess you need to figure out whether you can afford (financially) not to give them what they want.

  3. #3
    stevie31 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Help with private clases

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    On the face of it you need to make the first class fun, and by, say, the third class, they will let you know about their motivations, etc. With private teaching, you don't have to follow anyone else's plan. I would not like to be put through a series of tests and assessments in a first class either. They were obviously assessing you too, and thinking, "OK, show us what you've got!" and they obviously weren't blown away with excitement.
    Your academy students are probably more committed from the beginning, and might expect the way you prefer to practice.

    As far as private students who don't want to learn grammar, etc. I guess you need to figure out whether you can afford (financially) not to give them what they want.
    I really don't have a way I prefer to practice and I obviously do want to give them what they want. As I said, I'm new and that is what we were instructed to do in the TEFL course I did. So what would you recommend doing in a first class with beginners that would blow them away with excitement?

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Help with private clases

    Some private students are not greatly interested in formal classes, so the assessment might come across as too heavy if students are the sort who prefer to converse. Where possible, get to know them a bit and try to find out what they're like without a level test, or do the level test by email.

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with private clases

    Quote Originally Posted by stevie31 View Post
    I really don't have a way I prefer to practice and I obviously do want to give them what they want. As I said, I'm new and that is what we were instructed to do in the TEFL course I did. So what would you recommend doing in a first class with beginners that would blow them away with excitement?
    I'd suggest no structured tests or evaluations. Try to engage them with easy English and follow their interests wherever they lead.
    I'll make an analogy with psychotherapy. On the first visit, the therapist gets a general idea of why the client is there. The clients tells the therapist their story in a way that is relevant to them, and the therapist files away questions in her mind that she will come back to later. The old method of taking a history (What is you complaint? How long have you had it? What was your childhood like? How are your school grades) can all come out almost spontaneously over several sessions. The important thing at the beginning is not to gather information, but to establish a relationship. Teaching is only a little different.
    But I'll let others say what they do to keep their students coming back.

  6. #6
    stevie31 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Help with private clases

    perhaps I shouldn't have said "refuse to learn grammar" as obviously no one wants to learn grammar. All I am looking for is advice on how to make the students excited and activities that are useful!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help with private clases

    Quote Originally Posted by stevie31 View Post
    All I am looking for is advice on how to make the students excited and activities that are useful!
    It very much depends on your learners. Some actually enjoy formal grammar, others hate it; some love playing games that would have others screaming; some just want to talk football, others want to know what you think about Wittgenstein.

    As Raymott suggested, follow their interests. By all means introduce your own ideas, but if something does not work with one learner, drop it - even if it's the favourite activity for another student.

  8. #8
    Kelv is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Help with private clases

    The most important thing for private teaching is to find their interest and exploit it. You must let the students like your teaching. Tests are not recommended. You may let them know learning is easy and fun.

  9. #9
    kamel2 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Help with private clases

    I think you should be serious and you should make some fun with them at the same time and try to ask them always about their mistakes at English .

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Help with private clases

    I did not carry out a formal level test with a single one of my private adult students. Much of the information given in the TEFL course assumes that you are going to be teaching classes and that you will be employed by a school or by another private teacher so you will have a curriculum to follow. With individuals, that is simply not the case.

    With each new private student, I made sure that the first class was just chat, chat and more chat. As we chatted, I was of course assessing their level but they weren't supposed to spot that. As we chatted, I also got to notice repetitive errors. In that first class, I didn't correct them in an obvious way - sometimes I repeated their sentence back to them (using the correct construction) but as if I were just checking if I'd heard them correctly. I made notes in my head, wrote them up quickly on the Metro on the way home from the class and then the following week, if it seemed appropriate, I would show them my notes, especially the repetitive errors and ask them if they could work out what was wrong with them.

    I would sometimes use a funny or embarrassing story to break the ice in the first class. Their reaction would tell me whether they understood it or not. I would then gauge if I thought they were likely to share something similar with me.

    I generally left asking why they specifically wanted to learn/improve their English until the second or third class. Frequently, they would actually have volunteered this information already.

    I will admit that doing all of the above with beginners is a challenge! However, it is possible. You have to tailor your chat to them!

    I loved doing private classes precisely because I didn't have to follow anyone else's curriculum or lesson plans. I could do it all myself.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 25-Oct-2013 at 21:19.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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