Essentials of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

7 Essentials of Teaching TESOL

Linguistics is one of the most complex subjects in the academic field. For learners of a new language, like English, it means entering into a completely new mode of communication. Languages are driven and supported by social cues and experiences, due to which languages become more than just a verbal means of communication. A language brings with it a whole new experience, which is why it is essential that the following tips be followed by those teaching English to speakers of other languages, to ensure that learners understand not just the technicalities of the language, but also what it stands for and symbolizes.

Know your students:

It is essential to understand the psyche of your students. Every student has a separate set of unique traits that makes up the person’s personality. This personality determines their ability to understand and take in the learning material that is being given to them. Therefore, it is imperative for people teaching English to speakers of other languages to identify these traits and mould their teaching patterns to ensure that every student gets the required attention.

Speak, Write, Read and Listen:

It is vital to make sure students stay in touch with all four forms of learning; speaking, writing, reading and listening. This is because these four forms complete the learning experience and it is pivotal that all four forms are practiced regularly as part of TESOL to ensure that a student learns the language completely.


It is a prerequisite to have a deep understanding of the complexities and technicalities of a language yourself. You can’t expect to impart knowledge and expertise without having a firm grip on the subject matter yourself. Hence, it is essential to ensure that as a TESOL professional, you are accomplished in the language yourself and can answer any question posed by the students.

Use sounds and visual:

To tap into the sensory system of your students, it is advised that you use as many sounds and visuals as possible. These sounds and visuals act as a cue for students to remember the content with. Therefore, any learning content presented through sounds and visual will be remembered by the students more easily, enhancing their learning experience.

Initiate group activities:

As an attempt to further enhance their learning experience, it is advised that teachers initiate and encourage as many group activities as possible. These activities have an element of fun and competition attached to them which pushes the students to try their best and win. That results in them paying more attention to the subject matter, thus leading to them learning more.

Assessment tests:

It is very important to regularly test the students to make sure that they are actually learning and getting to grips with the new language. That does not necessarily mean testing them in a conventional sense with a pen and a paper. It means having a casual conversation with them in English, or asking them something about themselves in English, basically anything that will catch them off guard. This will show how they react to listening and speaking the language instinctively. And instinct is the best judge of a person’s character and their traits.

Build a rapport:

Lastly, it is very important for the students to actually want to learn the language. Sometimes, because the learning process is difficult, people get dissuaded to learn it if they do not have a positive relationship with their teacher. A comfortable student-teacher relationship is very important. This relationship can only develop if the teacher is encouraging and friendly and offers constructive criticism rather than plainly pointing out student’s flaws. Teachers are advised to use tools like positive reinforcement to encourage the students and make them feel part of a friendly environment that helps them become actively involved in the learning process.

Anyone interested in TESOL should check out the Certificate IV in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.


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