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Teaching English as a Second Language


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7 Systems and Textbooks

Many schools have their own systems for teaching English. These schools will offer training to new teachers in the particular method(s) employed.

Some systems can be effective in teaching some aspects of the language to some learners. However, there is no single system that can be employed to teach every skill to every learner. As such it is probably best to avoid working for schools that insist the same textbook and procedure be applied to every lesson at every level. Those schools which make such requirements are probably using the system as a substitute for the ability of the teacher.

A similar word of caution applies to the use of textbooks. There are many excellent textbooks on the market and most busy teachers would be unable to survive without at least sometimes making use of them.

The key to using textbooks effectively is to treat them as a launch point. If you simply say open your books to page 27 and work through one exercise after another your students will quickly become demotivated. Instead, be prepared to discuss around the topics contained within the book. Written exercises are usually best saved for homework, unless writing is the particular focus of your class.

A tip for keeping your students happy is to avoid working sequentially through the book. This screams “unprepared teacher”. Instead jump from topic to topic, even from book to book. If the students don’t have a book that you want to use - photocopy the relevant pages (obviously observing copyright legislation). This gives the impression that you have taken the trouble to prepare the material especially.

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