ESL Teaching Guide - Canada

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Lynda Heinsma - May 2004

I am teaching in an LBS program in Hawkesbury Ontario; have many students who have ESL needs Positive aspects: Adults - mostly interested in progressing.

Negative aspects: a lonely situation - no other instructors to discuss/plan with many people have great difficulties but I don't know how to help Wages: $17.00 an hour / 20 hr week this year.

Staff support: Somewhat ok. I can phone when I need guidance or advice. Curriculum: There is no set curriculum. We are to try to see what the learners goals are and then set up work that will fulfil these goals. -difficult in some ways.

We use Laubach levels 1 -4, Voyager F - 8; and Challenger 1 -8 Student Motivation: It's up to them. I was an elementary teacher and also have worked in an office and in Home Care as a PSW. Now I've completed my certificate for teaching literacy to adults.

Suggested Reading

Canadian Culture: An Introductory Reader
Living and Working in Canada: A Survival Handbook (Living and Working)
Live & Work in the USA and Canada (Living & Working Abroad Guides)

Karen Burgess - May 2004

I tutor ESL in my home in British Columbia, mostly to Koreans, using the Exploring English series by Tim Harris and Allan Rowe. I have anywhere from 5-8 private students. I charge $20 per hour and serve them coffee. Usually once a year I invite them all with their family members to a barbecue at our home. Thus, my students become my friends. Although I incorporate grammar, reading and writing into my lessons, I try to focus on conversational English. I have taken many TESL courses at our local university but still have not achieved my TESL certificate. I always tell my students this when they first come to me. However, I have never had to advertise my services as they come to me by word of mouth advertisement.

I also teach ESL at our church on a volunteer basis one morning per week. That one is a beginner level, using the Side by Side series by Steven J. Molinsky and Bill Bliss. In this class there are from 8-10 students of mixed ethnic backgrounds, but mostly Koreans. At our church class, we do different things besides classroom work. For example, we´ve had 2 field trips since January, and 1 cooking class where we had a guest come and teach us a particular food preparation.
I started teaching ESL many years ago to the Vietnamese “Boat People’, simply because I enjoy relating to international people and I´m good at English. After that initial experience I took some courses at a nearby community college, and have been taking them continuously since then. My students tell me that I´m the best teacher they´ve ever had, so I am pleased with that affirmation. For me, this is positive reinforcement.

Negatively, however, I find that since I´m the only native English person my students relate to all week, their spoken English progresses slowly. During the week, they seem to relate only to and with their own people. I would like to know how to encourage them to go outside this comfort zone and reach out to others, however haltingly. In other words, how do they get from their “head knowledge’ of the language into the fluency of spoken English? I do various communicative activities with them, both privately and in my church class, and they "get" it then, and do amazingly well. However, in the candid, day-to-day unscripted English, they falter. - First Stop for Your Second Language Needs
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