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  1. #1
    stuartnz's Avatar
    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
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    Where to start?!

    First, some background. I have been working as tutor for the last 3-4 years with a Punjabi friend. I helped her study and prepare for her bachelor's degree and her registration exam, and for the last two years have been assisting her with her Master's assignments. Over the course of our acquaintance, she's put me in touch with some of her Punjabi friends, and I have done a bit of tutoring for some of their kids.

    All the above is relatively straightforward stuff. Whether working on a Master's paper, or working with a young child on their English, the structure and "course content" for want of a better phrase, is already in place, and the medium of instruction is English.

    Now, here's the rub. My friend's sister arrived from India 4 months ago, and, like the soft sucker I am, I agreed to help her learn English (for an hourly rate so low it's practically gratis). Her English is very minimal, and I speak no Punjabi. The language we have most in common is Hindi, which for her is a relatively comfortable 2nd language (though not bilingually so), and for me is a language I'm still learning. My comprehension of Hindi is OK, and I can write devanagri, which is proving very useful at the moment.

    My subject line relates to the fact that I really don't know where to start when it comes to ESOL "from scratch" as it were. I took the job on as a favour to my friend and to improve my Hindi and possibly pick up some Punjabi along the way. Proper, truly professional tuition is financially out of reach for my two students, so they're stuck with me. My friend's sister has two kids, one 12 and the other 8, both of whom attended schools in India which used English as the medium of instruction. So I've asked the kids to help their Mum with her homework, vocabulary pratcice, that sort of thing.

    Simply put, I'm looking for suggestions on where to start - which elements of the language to begin with, and in which order to progress. I am trying to use only English throughout the lessons, not just because it's easier for me, but to force them to use it too. However, we often resort to confused circumlocutory conversations in a mix of the three languages.

    Their primary interest is on usable everyday English, and they are impatient to get on with it, so I've printed out lists of the 500 most common English words and 100 most common verbs and told them to study them everyday. We've made a start by learning the pronouns, and forming sentences using the present progressive, as this is a tense the equivalent of ehich is commonly used in both Hindi and Punjabi. This has meant that I have been able to write simple sentences in Hindi and get them to translate them into English.

    I feel a sense of obligation to them, and want to do my best for them, so I'm keen on getting any advice available on the best way to proceed in an orderly, structured fashion. The situation is complicated by the fact that at least one of my two students may not be very well educated, and so I'm trying to avoid grammatical terminology to the extent possible. Any and all ideas and suggestions with received with gushing gratitude!

  2. #2
    Horsa is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Where to start?!

    That's a big question. There are some ideas on the site below.

    Try to keep away from your common language as much as possible - you are establishing a dependency that will be hard to get rid of. I suggest you get a copy of a book like Jeremy Harmer's 'How to Teach English' it published by Longman. Also you might benefit from using a course book such as Wavelength or English File. Each has several levels starting from the beginning.

    One thing you might do is go shopping etc. with your learner and help with practical English - don't do it for them just offer suggestions as to what to say to shop assistants etc. Perhaps drill things like "I'd like ... please" or "Do you have ..." Keep it simple at first.

    Teaching Absolute and False Beginners ESL EFL TESOL TOEFL Students English - Discussion of Methods for Teaching Absolute Beginners as opposed to False Beginners

  3. #3
    stuartnz's Avatar
    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Where to start?!

    Thanks for the advice and the links, Horsa. I am consciously trying to use only English as much as possible. I'd say that currently 80-90% of my talking is in English and your advice has strengthened my resolve to get that percentage up higher.

  4. #4
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    Re: Where to start?!

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    First, some background. I have been working as tutor for the last 3-4 years with a Punjabi friend. I helped her study and prepare for her bachelor's degree and her registration exam, and for the last two years have been assisting her with her Master's assignments. Over the course of our acquaintance, she's put me in touch with some of her Punjabi friends, and I have done a bit of tutoring for some of their kids.

    All the above is relatively straightforward stuff. Whether working on a Master's paper, or working with a young child on their English, the structure and "course content" for want of a better phrase, is already in place, and the medium of instruction is English.

    Now, here's the rub. My friend's sister arrived from India 4 months ago, and, like the soft sucker I am, I agreed to help her learn English (for an hourly rate so low it's practically gratis). Her English is very minimal, and I speak no Punjabi. The language we have most in common is Hindi, which for her is a relatively comfortable 2nd language (though not bilingually so), and for me is a language I'm still learning. My comprehension of Hindi is OK, and I can write devanagri, which is proving very useful at the moment.

    My subject line relates to the fact that I really don't know where to start when it comes to ESOL "from scratch" as it were. I took the job on as a favour to my friend and to improve my Hindi and possibly pick up some Punjabi along the way. Proper, truly professional tuition is financially out of reach for my two students, so they're stuck with me. My friend's sister has two kids, one 12 and the other 8, both of whom attended schools in India which used English as the medium of instruction. So I've asked the kids to help their Mum with her homework, vocabulary pratcice, that sort of thing.

    Simply put, I'm looking for suggestions on where to start - which elements of the language to begin with, and in which order to progress. I am trying to use only English throughout the lessons, not just because it's easier for me, but to force them to use it too. However, we often resort to confused circumlocutory conversations in a mix of the three languages.

    Their primary interest is on usable everyday English, and they are impatient to get on with it, so I've printed out lists of the 500 most common English words and 100 most common verbs and told them to study them everyday. We've made a start by learning the pronouns, and forming sentences using the present progressive, as this is a tense the equivalent of ehich is commonly used in both Hindi and Punjabi. This has meant that I have been able to write simple sentences in Hindi and get them to translate them into English.

    I feel a sense of obligation to them, and want to do my best for them, so I'm keen on getting any advice available on the best way to proceed in an orderly, structured fashion. The situation is complicated by the fact that at least one of my two students may not be very well educated, and so I'm trying to avoid grammatical terminology to the extent possible. Any and all ideas and suggestions with received with gushing gratitude!

    I think you should to try to get what's kind of english they like to learn.I think you should understand about thier hobbies...if they like sports english words,sure you can teacher them and enjoy with them.Of course,they can understand it's very easy and they can remember as soon...

    Or you can teacher them it's very normal english.I mean:you can teacher them how to speak oreal english...how to talk with people...how to talk them family,hobby,classmate,freinds,teacher.....and so on...

  5. #5
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Re: Where to start?!

    If I were you I would definitely make life easier for myself, all the more so if you're not getting much out of it financially.

    I heartily agree with Horsa when (s)he recommends the use of a course book. (S)he mentions "English File". This is the very best set of course books I have ever come across in all my teaching career and of COURSE it will give your student right from day one the everyday language she needs. It's true I've only used the intermediate and upper intermediate level books but there's no reason why the beginner's level book shouldn't be just as good as the higher level ones if the authors are the same, which I think they are.

    You'd probably need to buy the accompanying teacher's book and if possible the corresponding CD or cassettes (although at a pinch you could just read out the tapescipts).

    If for some reason you don't want to use a course book, in your place I would definitely give up and invent some excuse. The whole thing is obviously causing you a lot of worry and you've only got one life.

  6. #6
    stuartnz's Avatar
    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Where to start?!

    Thanks, Naomi. I'm looking through the OUP site now to find the English File materials I need. It's hard to find prices anywhere for the various English File materials.

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