Teaching ESL to adults is very different to teaching ESL to kids. But that doesn't mean that it isn't fun! As an adults' ESL teacher, you can plan your lessons to include games and activities just like you would for a kids class, but you'll probably need to change the game slightly. Teaching ESL to adults isn't all about fun and games; you can learn a lot from your students, engage in meaningful conversation and specialise in business English. In the video below, Indiana and Zach talk about what it's like to teach English as a second language to adults and the benefits that you can enjoy. Make sure you watch and subscribe to their videos.
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Hi, my name is Zach, and this is Indiana, and we're here to talk about teaching ESL to adults learners in China.
Ok, so I think we should start by talking about some of the benefits of teaching English as a second language to adults because it is a great job. Definitely, it is, and it is because you get such a great opportunity to learn from your students, and really take in a lot about China. I mean you'll learn a lot from working with younger learners of course, but what you learn from the adults is what real life really is like in China, rather than from someone who is much younger and is much less aware.
The interaction is so different because they are so motivated, they're super into it because they're putting down their own cold hard cash to get these lessons in, and they want to be there. Absolutely! And the time that you spend with them is so enjoyable, and you get to learn so much from them. You get to be educated about China by Chinese students. Just like where they go for vacation, what they like to do with their free time. Most of it has to do with food, but you'll learn so much about foods that you didn't know existed out there.
The centre overall, the atmosphere is very professional but at the same time quite relaxed. People aren't screaming and chasing each other around, they're actually there for a little bit of a break, they're there to study. A lot of these students are coming in right after finishing work and going straight to these centres, so they're unwinding while they're there; it's supposed to still be enjoyable. However, not all of them work, some of them are students, some of them stay at home and just come to English classes, but some of them just come to English classes.
The students and the class sizes, on the whole, are quite small. Instead of a high school setting where you have 70 kids in a classroom, you're looking at typically in these centres of classes about 25, thelower twenties, in the teens. Very often too, there will be private lessons, face to face lessons. Could be one on one, could be a group of 4, and these are usually in small intimate rooms as well.
The thing that makes adult ESL lessons great is that you get to spend 50 minutes, with 1 to 4 students, or you get to spend 50 minutes with 20 students, and the dynamics are just so different. You have the opportunity to craft these really really poignant lessons where you just get in there, you and introduce a topic. You teach it, practice it a bunch, and hopefully, they're speaking much more than you are at the end of the class. Once the class is coming to an end, you can open up for a short discussion or Q&A and before you know it, boom, they're off back to work or their families, and they've really used the language.
Another great thing about adult ESL classes is that they're related to real life situations or interests. For example, how to purchase a plane ticket, how to navigate in an airport using English. Things that are going to be used for travel, business trips, and these situations that the students are hoping to be prepared for. I heard about some students once that came in and tried to learn how to effectively write an email. Yea and some students go to a wine tasting and learn to be able to talk about wine flavours. Those are the best, the type of classes that you can take outside of the classroom and get the students involved in.
For you as a teacher, what else can teaching ESL to adults have to offer? So, career development, anything that you should be doing, you should want to have that opportunity to develop yourself with. In the centre, there will be the opportunity to develop into management roles, and also you will have a chance to go into more specialist teaching roles such as business English, especially if you have industry experience. Maybe you haven't been a teacher your whole life you have some experience elsewhere in your career, and you can bring in that knowledge from outside and right into the classroom. Even if you were a history major, or you studied geography, or whatever that might be, you can bring that into the class. So that way you can have the sort of lesson where you go beyond just learning English, and go into other topics as well. It's a great space for creativity, and with a lot of schools, especially for training schools, you do have a lot in the way of materials. All of those materials are premade for you, technology, touch screen TV's that you're teaching on where you can do PowerPoint Presentations, or you know, draw up a video on a moment's notice. It's actually quite funto be honest.
There are many other benefits to teaching ESL to adults. It can offer you lots of opportunities to connect and make friends with your students. You can work in a professional environment, but ultimately, you'll get paid for what truly is a rewarding job. So if you are interested, what you can do, is submit an application after clicking on the button below and come and join us in China.