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Effective Adult ESL Teacher

by Katherine Howe, Livingston

Through the summer, we only had one active ESL student who has been working with a volunteer tutor (who was a certified ESL teacher in Seattle for many years).  Prior to that I worked with this same student off and on for two years.

In my efforts to help this particular student: who is:

I strongly used the domains of  Assessing, Identity and Context and Content. He was BEST tested on entry to the program and I did extensive informal assessing by asking questions about his life (sometimes with the aid of drawings and sign language).At the beginning,  we worked with basic survival skills such as numbers, money, identity information and then progressed to vocabulary and phraseology helpful in his workplace and interests. In addition, lessons including such topics as family, weather, seasons, household items, clothing, body parts and health care were included.

Each time we met, he came with questions about a language problem he had encountered so I was able to easily help him progress with content by letting his needs guide our lessons. He has been BEST tested several times and shows progress each time.

His present tutor has continued in the same vein and broadened his learning experience by including field trips and other real life situations.  She is working with him on reading and writing more and presently is using music as an additional and fun way to increase comprehension.

As the ESOL tutor trainer, I have focused on the above domains in training because I feel they give tutors such an obvious place to begin…with the student’s life and immediate needs.  I am planning another tutor training this fall and will use the new  ESOL standards to guide the training.  Because our program is dependent on volunteer tutors with limited time, having an organized system of progression that I can give them will be very helpful.