Teaching English lessons without knowing another language

Teaching English lessons without knowing another language

Blog / Tips and tricks

Teaching English to adult students without knowing their native tongue may seem like a daunting task, but if you keep reading, you’ll see why this is simply not true. If you’re a monolingual native English speaker and still in two minds about launching your ESL teaching career, let me try and persuade you to take that leap.

Teaching English without knowing another language can be highly beneficial to students in several ways.

Immersive language learning

When students are taught English lessons without relying on translation or their native language, they are fully immersed in the target language. This immersive approach encourages students to think and communicate directly in English, helping them develop a more natural and authentic command of the language. They are exposed to the sounds, structures, and nuances of English in a holistic way, promoting better fluency and pronunciation.

Enhanced listening and speaking skills

By removing the crutch of translation, students are compelled to listen carefully and actively engage in conversations. They learn to rely on their listening skills to understand meaning and context, improving their ability to comprehend spoken English. Likewise, they become more confident in expressing themselves verbally, as they are encouraged to find ways to communicate their thoughts and ideas using the language resources available to them.

When it comes to developing students’ listening skills, our English lessons focus on playing/watching YouTube videos with captions on. The combination of listening while reading and watching what they hear greatly facilitates comprehension. 

Contextual understanding

Teaching English without translation encourages students to grasp the meaning of words, phrases, and grammar in a contextual manner. They learn to rely on context clues, visual aids, real-life examples, and other techniques to comprehend and use new vocabulary and grammar structures effectively. This fosters a deeper understanding of the language, allowing students to develop a more intuitive grasp of English.

English4tutors lessons often provide vocabulary activities with visual aids in which the student learns new words by matching them with pictures. Check out our lesson plan Your brain on plants that introduces names of gardening tools and plants through visual matching activities.

Improved problem-solving skills and application of acquired knowledge

When students are taught English without relying on translation, they are encouraged to find alternative ways to communicate and understand. They become more adept at problem-solving and critical thinking, as they must actively seek meaning, make connections, and find solutions independently. This skill set extends beyond language learning and equips students with valuable problem-solving abilities applicable in various aspects of life.

Most of our vocabulary and video sections are followed by a discussion or an oral comprehension check. And why is that so? It’s simply because the student needs to connect the dots. After learning new vocabulary, they need to actually use it, not only in writing, but in spoken sentences as well. They also get to demonstrate their understanding of the content displayed in the video as well as present their critical thinking skills. This final step is the most important one as that’s the point where everything starts to fall into place. 

Confidence and independence

Teaching English without relying on another language empowers students to take ownership of their language learning journey. They become more self-reliant, building confidence in their ability to communicate in English without constant translation assistance. This independence fosters a sense of achievement and motivation, propelling them towards further language development and success.

Cultural and linguistic awareness

By immersing students in English lessons without leaning on translation, they gain exposure to the cultural nuances and idiomatic expressions inherent in the language. This exposure fosters cultural and linguistic awareness, enabling students to understand and appreciate the diversity and richness of English-speaking cultures. It promotes a deeper understanding of the language’s context, history, and global relevance. This explains why there is such HIGH demand, globally, for English native speakers as ESL teachers. 

Teaching English without knowing another language challenges both teachers and students to think creatively, communicate resourcefully, and embrace the immersive learning experience. It turns on our light bulbs or makes us put on our thinking caps. (Go ahead, find a better idiom. I dare you.)

About Tijana
About Tijana

Tijana is an ESL Teacher, Teacher Trainer, and ESL Content Creator with a decade-long working experience. She designed 600+ lesson plans. Tijana holds a B.A. in Applied Linguistics from UVic, an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from UBC, as well as a 120-hour TEFL certificate.

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