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Tips for Teaching English

It's almost summer, which means an influx of volunteers from around the globe will be coming to Casa HOY to help out with our many different projects. One of the themes we offer is Teaching English. Placement options include schools and foster care centers, with children or with teenagers. You might be in a structured setting with another teacher or with a little more freedom on your own/with other volunteers.

Whatever your situation may be, we've compiled a list of tips that we at Casa HOY think is important for your English Teaching volunteer experience. It's a long list, so take what you need and add your own ideas.
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PLAN! Plan more activities than what you have time for. With a two second lull you can lose their attention and interest.

Activities should be planned in 20 minute blocks, their attention span won’t go much beyond that.

Encourage every student to participate. If they’re shy, call on them. Or have students work with partners or in groups.

Try your best to learn all of their names. It will make it easier for you to manage the class and get students to participate. If you’re there for an extended period of time, have them write down their name and a few interesting facts about themselves (what they like to do/eat/play, NOT where they live).

Make a lesson plan for each day, and for each week. Tie everything together with a theme for the week.
What is your objective for the activity? The day? The week?

Try scaffolding – build on each activity, don’t just choose random topics. Example: Theme: Food. Day 1, Vocabulary, Day 2, Restaurant; Question Structure, Day 3, Ordering Food, etc.

General focus should be grammar, vocabulary and oral/written communication.

Think of topics they can relate to: find out their musical interests, favorite soccer players, favorite food, technology, Facebook, movies, places to visit in Morelos (or wherever you're teaching), fashion, culture, family.

Typical format for a one hour class: Review from the previous day (10 minutes), A warm-up (5 minutes), The information (20 minutes), Practice activity in a group (a game or worksheet) (15 minutes), Individual practice (a game, worksheet, partner practice, skits) (10 minutes)

NEVER leave materials with students- only worksheets. Do not let students keep pencils, markers, scissors, NOTHING. If you wish to make a donation to the school, give it to the teacher you are helping, the school director, or the Casa HOY staff member you are with.

Slow down. Take it easy. Don’t use many phrasal verbs or vocabulary that is super unique to your country. No "bad" words or offensive language.

Have more than enough copies and materials for everyone.

Learn about your placement. How many students? Boys/girls? What is their English level? What is their general family background? Ages?

Learn the curriculum. Talk with your teacher or HOY staff for guidance and to know what the teacher expects.

Be prepared for a lack of discipline. Discipline is the school’s job- defer to a teacher or HOY staff member. However, be strict. You don’t want to undermine the teacher. Learn the class rules.

Ask teacher/staff if you can give out rewards for participation and games. Good rewards are pencils, stickers and erasers. Try to steer away from candy.

Games include: competitions, fly-swatters (hitting the correct word on the board), charades, hang-man, I Spy, categories, running up to the board to write the correct word, etc. Talk to other volunteers for more ideas, and spend some time at an Internet cafe looking up activities.

Don't talk to students about drinking, partying, your personal relationships.

No cellphones or pictures during class.

Posted by UnMejorHOY 10:06 Archived in Mexico Tagged parties travel mexico de reyes international traditions community cultural volunteer casa voluntourism casa_hoy participatory rosca

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