Some students are so afraid of using a foreign language and making mistakes they develop xenoglossophobia, meaning fear of foreign languages. This is just one of the problems a teacher may encounter when they try to teach a student English, German or any second language to a non-native speaker.
Instructors from a teacher language training program cite the following ways that enable you to improve your teaching.
Expose Them to the Language
One of the ways to improve the proficiency and fluency of your students is to expose them to the language as much as possible. The classroom lectures and conversations are not enough. Suggest television shows, movies, books and even songs in the language you are teaching them. These are things they can do leisurely and at their own time. They can also immerse in the language without worrying about a test or recitation. These slowly embed into the lifestyle of a student and will make absorbing vocabulary and context easier.
Ask Questions about Certain Topics
Robotically lecturing or having students memorize grammar, vocabulary and sentences will make the language go in one ear and out the other once the academic year ends. Ask actual questions and initiate conversations outside the lesson plan. This allows them to think creatively and on their toes because in the real world, they can’t memorize responses. This approach also teaches them to speak colloquially; in a lot of cases, informal conversations are more effective in improving their skills.
Let the Class Flow
An inflexible approach to teaching will make it difficult for your students to go beyond rote learning. Allow each session to flow; you can still follow the lesson plan and teach grammar and vocabulary. Begin with simple topics before moving on to tougher ones. Let the students talk about their hobbies, family and other similar topics in the language you are teaching them. This lets them relax because they don’t have to think too much about what they are going to talk about.
Press the Fact that Mistakes Happen
Tell your students that mistakes are unavoidable, especially when it comes to learning a second language. If they feel discouraged, they might not use the language outside the classroom because they are too shy.
Teach them that failing is part of the process. Teach them they should learn from their mistakes and use these as building blocks. When they make a mistake, encourage them to use it as a learning tool to become better. Tell them to keep going, because the only way to learn is by continuous practice.
Encourage Use Outside the Classroom
Lessons are great for learning grammar points, the meaning of words and proper sentence construction. However, quizzes and recitation are not real-world scenarios. Students must have a firm grasp of the language when they start conversations with native speakers. They can start with simple sentences such as buying groceries, bargaining at the local store, talking about hobbies and others.
These are some of the best practices when it comes to teaching a second language to non-native speakers. Integrate these into your sessions to make the classroom engaging and the learning more effective.