<strong>Tips for teaching advanced ESL students</strong>

Tips for teaching advanced ESL students

Blog / Tips and tricks

Teaching adult learners at an advanced level is a real challenge. It is hard to surprise them with new methods and materials because they’re already familiar with most of them. They have attended plenty of classes taught by different teachers, so they often have very specific requirements. How can you effectively teach English lessons for adults? Check out our tips!

Flexibility and ability to adapt materials quickly

The adult learner needs to know that it is his expectations and needs that come first. This is why Advanced ESL Lessons cannot follow a rigidly fixed plan. In practice, this means that the learning programme has to be adapted to the learners’ needs, which vary and are often communicated at different stages of the lesson. This means that you, as a lecturer, must always be ready to readjust your plan to suit the current needs. You should always have a contingency plan at hand, a so-called Plan B or even Plan C. This way you can choose a method to suit your current circumstances. Learners sometimes ask for a change of material or want to practise other modules. Such a change needs to be made smoothly.

Specific feedback and working on mistakes

Advanced ESL Lessons are focused on continuous improvement, and this can be supported by specific feedback. If mistakes are spotted, the student should be corrected immediately and the troublesome part should be practised. Feedback on its own is not sufficient, and only practice will eliminate errors. Paradoxically, it is at the advanced level where listeners repeat the same mistakes, a phenomenon that is referred to as fossilization. Many people make the mistake habitually, and they are unaware of it. Therefore, the first step is to make them aware of the mistake, and the second step is to suggest a method of solving it, as well as to indicate an alternative. If the error occurs one more time, it should be brought to their attention again.  

Progress monitoring

Many adult learners notice a lack of progress already at the intermediate level. This is a common level of lack of motivation. In such a state, it is also hard to see the point of learning. At this level, the teacher needs to make space for specifics, which should include the objectives of learning. This is the only way to observe progress and talk about effective learning. It is common for many students at this level to learn conveniently, meaning that they are most likely to use the same vocabulary and reach for the same grammatical structures because of their habits. Following such a pattern is not conducive to skills development and, through such habits and mistakes, the student feels that they are not moving forward with his progress.  

Unconventional ideas

Creativity can save many lessons, and activities full of unconventional ideas protect learners from becoming bored. Iconographies, exercises in online applications, discussions, and quizzes are often excellent methods of breaking down difficulties, as well as the stress that is often responsible for adult learners’ lack of progress. Any kind of engaging activity is ideal both at the beginning of the class and at the conclusion. Advanced ESL Lessons are a great opportunity to use creative teaching methods that often reduce the burden of learning, such as those associated with mastering new vocabulary or grammatical structures. Graphics, funny memes or videos are a great way to introduce new idioms. It is very important to take care of this, as native speakers often judge English language skills by their skilful use of advanced grammatical structures, as well as sophisticated synonyms and idioms.  

Comprehensive and carefully prepared lesson plan

At the advanced level, an invaluable aid that also helps to save time is a carefully designed lesson plan. English4tutors has created materials divided into several modules, proposing different exercises, and above all offering different types of subject areas. Such a ready-made plan will save you time and will certainly help you to teach a class or enrich your original teaching plan!  

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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