How to Make Your English Lessons More Engaging for Adults

by Amy Harris

Being a teacher today is not easy for anyone, but teaching English as a foreign language comes with challenges all of its own.  Having said that, TEFL teachers have an incredibly rewarding job, as their students tend to be adults who are either paying for the course themselves, or their employers are, resulting in them being highly motivated and eager to learn.

TEFL teaching is highly focused on good communication and is naturally taught differently to the way in which English is taught in mainstream schools within the UK.  Teaching those whose first language is not English doesn’t need to be complicated, and with some good preparation, interesting material and an outgoing and engaging personality, you will be surprised how quickly your students are capable of learning.

Giving your best

Having a good mentor, such as the DOS at your school, who is readily available with good advice is advantageous when starting out as a TEFL teacher.  If you are only just moving into the world of teaching through TEFL, then chances are you have never been faced with a classroom situation before.

This can be challenging in the beginning but always bear in mind that your students are there by choice.  In most cases, they desperately want to acquire English skills to enable them to expand their job prospects and earning potential within the UK.

Tips for teaching adult students

Teaching adults the same English material as you would teach children is not going to work.  Some of your students may be highly intelligent and well-travelled, and will likely require a higher degree of mental stimulation.

Whilst children learning English within UK schools will go through many well-known works of English literature throughout their years in education, you won’t have the same time frame with your adult students.

So how do you choose the right material to make learning interesting and engaging as well as being useful to them in the real world?  You as a teacher, will ultimately want to give your students the very best you can, so a little research, both online and via a knowledgeable mentor is the first step in getting you on the right track.

Interesting teaching material

You will discover a wealth of TEFL teaching material online, plus via TEFL teaching textbooks. Once you have gained a little experience, you will find that you have built up your own library of excellent resources to pull out as required.

Although there are standards to be maintained and certain educational material that must be used, you can pretty much pick and choose large amounts of the material that you think is right for your particular group of students.

Gauge your classroom.  Is the age range extremely varied, or are the students mostly twenty-something’s?  Are they a little older?  All of these things matter in assisting you in choosing the right material for your group.

Inspiration & Ideas

The best way to come up with interesting and useful material for your students is to ask yourself what you would like to learn if the situation was reversed.

You would no doubt want to learn a little about the history and culture of the country you are living in, touching on the economics and politics of the country.  Manners and etiquette are extremely important, as this tends to vary greatly between countries.

General sociable, and also formal, conversation between British people will be crucial for your students.  So, as much as reading fictional literature would be just as enjoyable, teaching your students to converse about the things that matter in the real world will be invaluable to them.

About The Author:
Amy Harris writes for Law Training – which helps British and international students find the right legal courses in the UK. She is an American expat who enjoys helping people with their education and career search.

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