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August 13, 2006

Tips and Tricks- Gestures

Hello readers!

Perhaps the idea of teaching a room full of true beginners (students with absolutely no English background) is about as appealing to you as having a mouth full of cavities filled in at the dentist's office without any anaesthesia.

If so, then you might be surprised to learn that it can be done- with your sanity in tact. Here's one technique that can help you a great deal: it's the use of...

...gestures to help students understand instructions.

For example, if you'd like your students to stand up, what would you do? Position your hand so that it's palm up, and move it up vertically, while you say, "stand up." You could also then stand up yourself. After a while, you won't need to say anything, you'll just be able to raise your hand in the same way and your students will know what to do. (Of course, once their English improves, you won't have to rely on gestures anymore.)

What if you would like your students to listen to you? What would you do? How about a simple hand behind your ear? Alternatively, you could pinch your ear lobes. Whatever gesture you choose, continue to use the same one and the students will be able to follow.

How about if you want your students to repeat after you? First, have them listen (using either one of the gestures above or one of your own) and then point to yourself as you say a word, phrase, or sentence. Then, point to the students (palms up again, to avoid causing offense to anyone) so that they know they should repeat. You may have to point to your mouth as a speaking gesture as well, but eventually someone in your class will figure it out and then you'll be sorted.

Here are some other instructions to think about. How would you get your students to understand?

* sit down
* 1 minute left
* write
* speak
* think
* don't look at your classmate's paper
* stop talking now
* work with a partner
* you're missing a word
* past tense

Can you think of any others?

Feel free to share your knowledge with the other readers at ESL Lesson Plan by leaving your comments on the blog!

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

*For more ESL Tips & Tricks from ESL-Lesson-Plan, please click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, has lived and worked in China since 1998. During that time, she has worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She’s worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she’s also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing as well as working as an ESL instructor for the Australian International School of Beijing. Carol is also enrolled in Oxford Brookes' MA TESL program in Oxford, England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at August 13, 2006 05:48 AM

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