How To Teach English As A Second Language

How To Teach English As A Second Language

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Teaching English as a secondary language to beginners is a demanding task for anyone. No matter my level of training or experience, I continually encounter new challenges when I teach English as a secondary language to children and adults. Even when I teach other subjects, I notice that each student learns differently. At the same time, depending on the mother tongue of each learner, I face new obstacles specific to this language. However, with a little effort and some knowledge, I have acquired the skills needed to teach beginners English as a second language. Please note that this post contains affiliate links and any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (at absolutely no extra cost for you). These funds help me keep this blog up and running.  Learn more about it Here.

My 3 Favorite Companies to Teach English Online

  1. This first company is iTutor Group. I love how this company allows me to teach adults. Normally, the adults have a mediocre English level, and the lessons are more conversational. The classes are 45 minutes each and there is potential to make $18-$25/hr. To Join iTutor group click HERE.
  2. I have also taught with DadaAbc: On this platform, I was able to teach kids for up to $20/hr, and each class is 30 minutes each. I taught for iTutor and DadaAbc at the same time which gave me the perfect balance of teaching kids and adults. To Join DadaAbc Click HERE.
  3. My favorite company is Qkids hands down. I am able to teach kids up to 21.75/Hr for 30mins each class. Qkids is unique because of their advanced, interactive platform that makes teaching the children easy and fun. To join Qkids click HERE. –

Below, I have included important ways to start teaching English as a second language.

Start With The Alphabet And Numbers

This is one of the first things you should teach your students. In fact, everything they learn will be based on these basic notions.

  • Let them learn the alphabet to some extent. You can start with the letter A and stop with the letter Z, then continue. Make sure you finish learning the alphabet at a pace that works best for you and the students. The idea is to encourage them to evolve, without putting too much pressure on them.
  • Teach them the numbers. You can use the same method used with the alphabet, starting with 1 and progressing according to the aptitudes of the students. You can design cards and distribute them to learners so that they can learn to write letters or numbers.
  • To reinforce the course, use cards. Write a word starting with each letter of the alphabet.
  • Learning the alphabet is obviously easier for learners whose mother tongue uses the chair alphabet like kursi.

Teach Pronunciation, Especially The Most Difficult Sounds

This is extremely important when you want to teach English as a secondary language. Try to focus on the sounds that are particularly complex for students who are not native speakers, including Th, R, and L.

  • The Th sound (as in words theater or thing ) is present in very few languages. As a result, many non-native speakers (for example those who speak Romance or Slavic languages) find it difficult to pronounce them.
  • The R sound is also complex for many students who are learning English as a secondary language. There are many reasons, including the fact that it is pronounced differently according to regional dialects.
  • The L sound is also difficult to pronounce for some learners, especially those from East Asia.


Teach Them The Names

After teaching the alphabet and numbers, move on to names which are one of the easiest subjects to assimilate. In fact, everything around us offers us the possibility of enriching our vocabulary.

  • Start with the objects we use in class.
  • Then go to the objects that are most often found in town, such as a car , home, tree, road, etc.
  • Continue with items that students use daily such as food, electronics, etc. 

Teach Verbs And Adjectives

After the names, the next step will be to teach your students the verbs and adjectives in English. These are of crucial importance for learning to build complete sentences (written and spoken).

  • The main function of adjectives is to modify or describe other words. Here are some examples: wild, silly, troubled and pleasant.
  • The main function of verbs is to describe an action. Here are some examples of verbs in English: to speak, to talk, and to pronounce.
  • You should make sure that your students understand the difference between verbs and adjectives. If they do not understand their function, they will be unable to express themselves well or formulate sentences well.
  • Spend more time on irregular verbs. The verb to go is an excellent example of irregular verbs. In the past, it becomes went and its past participle is gone.

Explain The Times And The Articles

After teaching them the nouns, verbs, and adjectives, you need to tackle the subject of tenses and articles. If they do not understand their proper use, they will not be able to construct a complete sentence.

  • The function of tenses is to explain when the action indicated by the verb occurred or took place. Explain to them how to use the past, present, and future.
  • Articles ( a, an and the ) are words that provide additional information about names, such as gender and number.
  • Make sure that your learners understand the times and the articles very well, as they are of paramount importance for building sentences and expressing themselves correctly.

Teach Common Expressions

To teach English even more effectively, invite students to practice and use common expressions. It is important that they do so, otherwise, the literal meaning of the words will not be enough to understand the meaning of many commonly used sentences.

  • You should encourage them to repeat (and use) these phrases until they can use them naturally in their conversations.
  • Start with phrases like never mind, no doubt, or make-believe.
  • Provide them with a list of common phrases that they will put into practice in everyday life.

Teach Building Simple Sentences

After you have taught them the alphabet, verbs, adjectives, tenses, and articles, you must teach them to build a simple sentence. This is very important because it provides a foundation that will help your students gain writing and reading skills. Teach them the five main models that control the construction of sentences in English.

  • Subject, verb. A sentence built on this model is very simple and is composed of a subject followed by a verb. Example: The Dog runs.
  • Subject-verb complement. A sentence built on this model is composed of a subject, followed by a verb, then by a complement. Example: John eats pizza.
  • Subject, verb, adjective. This type of sentence is made up of a subject, a verb, and an adjective. Example: The puppy is cute.
  • Subject, verb-adverb. This type of sentence is composed of a subject, followed by a verb and then an adverb. Example: The lion is there.
  • Subject, verb, noun. A sentence built on this model is composed of a subject, a verb, and a noun. Example: Emmanuel is a philosopher

Encourage Them To Speak Only English In The Classroom

One of the most effective ways to make it easier for your learners to learn the Shakespeare language is to encourage them to speak only English in the classroom. In this way, they will be forced to make better use of what they have learned to master English well. In addition, it allows you to optimize your work schedule and provides students with opportunities to learn.

  • This method is more effective if you have students who have already acquired basic concepts (knowing how to ask simple questions, learning to greet, knowing the alphabet and numbers).
  • When a student makes a mistake, correct it appropriately.
  • Always encourage your students.
  • This method is very effective when you invite students to repeat something after you or to answer a question. For example, you can say something or ask them a question. In this way, they will have the opportunity to respond in English.
  • Don’t be too strict. If a student has difficulties and tries to say something in French, do not cover him with shame. Listen to their concerns.

Adopt Different learning Methods

Varying learning styles allows you to teach English much more effectively. This diversity is important since each student is different and learns at their own pace.

  • Make it a habit to speak English.
  • Encourage them to respond in writing.
  • Create a culture where reading is fun.
  • Encourage them to listen to you.
  • Try to promote these learning methods in a fair manner

Use Visual Aids To Teach

This method is particularly important for improving their ability to make word associations. This will help your students match the words learned in class with pictures. Here are some visual aids you could use to teach English.

  • Images and photographs.
  • Postcards.
  • Videos.
  • Cards.
  • Comic books. They are particularly useful because they combine images and texts

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