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    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 1

    Tutoring a Child - Advice?

    Hello all,

    I've recently been asked by a friend of my family to fly to Italy this summer and tutor her 8 year old nephew in English. He doesn't speak a word of English, and she said she'd prefer a tutor who didn't speak a word of Italian. While this will ensure that he gets the proper immersion environment his parents want for his lessons, it does leave me with a few problems with how to deliver my lesson plans. There's also the issue of making sure my lessons are geared towards an 8 year old Italian boy.

    I'm in way over my head here, and I'd appreciate any advice or direction to any resources that would be helpful in putting together a lesson plan.

  1. Newbie
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Israel

    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 6

    Re: Tutoring a Child - Advice?

    Hi! I tutor students the same age, but I know their mother tongue, Hebrew. Still, I'll tell you about the things I've done with them that worked well and didn't use Hebrew.

    Do you know about TPR (Total Physical Response)? It's a system of "learning through actions." There are some great resources online, for example You begin by giving commands and modeling them for the student to copy--think a sophisticated version of Simon Says. It's low-pressure because the student isn't expected to speak at the beginning--just to carry out the command--and it works very well. I won't go into the whole thing here because it would get lengthy, but it's very effective at beginning levels and you should read up on it.

    Early on, you should also do a lesson in classroom English--useful phrases like "fill in the blank," "listen please," so that you'll be able to communicate these essentials.

    Playing Go Fish with picture flashcards is another really fun thing to do and doesn't require knowledge of the student's L1. There are some great cards on If the student likes drawing (most 8-year-olds do), have him make his own flashcards sometimes.

    If you can, bring videos of cartoons in English. Most are funny even if you don't understand all the words, and they are a great low-pressure way and fun way to learn.

    That all being said, you should learn a few words of Italian. It tends to put students at ease, and I'm sure that the little Italian you will learn won't ruin the immersian experience.

    I hope this is helpful to you.

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 4

    Re: Tutoring a Child - Advice?

    Hi there,
    I think Labbygail gave you a perfect direction. It is not as scary as it sounds, though. My opinion is, you need to spend lots of time with the youngster. Age 8 is one of the best times to learn a language in immersion. And there is a better chance that he won't easily forget what he learns as those 3-5 year olds do. Just spend as much time with the child as you can and change locations. Nature is a good place for summer time. It was how Anna taught the deaf and blind child Helen Keller almost 2 centuries ago. And do fun stuff; watch TV, play games, cook and bake together and ask him to help you, listen to the music, read books, etc.
    Good luck! I hope you'll make it!

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