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ESL Teaching Tips

Native Speakers

As teachers and native speakers we are at times arrogant of our own ability. We believe that as this is our mother tongue, we are above mistakes. This more often than not is not the case, as most of us do not speak ‘clean’ language, we play on words and ‘mix’ in foreign ones as well. In our lives, we use colloquial language peppered with local slang and phrases of our country of origin.

  • Teaching is neither:
  • ‘a piece of cake’
  • or something that should be taken
    for granted as native speakers.

It is imperative to always have a little trepidation at the start of every new class, for each one is individual, with some similarities, but not a ‘fool proof plan!’

A Valued Point

A point that is always brushed aside is the fact that English is a language purely of the mouth. Before you start to scoff, let me explain that it is the only language where the tongue is used mainly to help blow air out of your ‘box’. In other words, there are no facial expressions or jaw movements, simply use of our mouth. This in fact means, that your ability to make yourself understood, relies on the amount that you open and move your lips, together with correct octavel use of ones voice.

Latin languages are spoken from the diaphragm, Semitic the stomach, Asian from the throat and jaw. It is something to ponder on.


‘It’s not what you say, but how you say it!’ that matters.

A Common Mistake

The mistake of most students is that they believe the more vocabulary they know the better their ability. What many fail to realise is that the secret of language is knowing the clear rudiments of basic grammar, for without it, there is no language!

It is possible that at school, their teacher was none too confident when it came to transferring to them grammar skills, for the way of teaching has changed drastically over the years. Today with the help of a good grammar book, no teacher should be afraid to tackle this, as they too will become more confident in their teaching abilities.


To stare or not…

English speakers are taught not to stare into someone’s eyes, but to look at the person in front of you, directly on the bridge of their nose (where their glasses would rest).

This enables one to look both at the eyes of the person you are talking to and their lips at the same time, allowing us to watch the movement of their mouth and interpret what they are saying clearly.