tutoring an 11 year old

Discussion about teaching ESL to children

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PuppyLove
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Joined: 29 Sep 2019, 08:32
Status: Prospective Teacher

tutoring an 11 year old

Unread post by PuppyLove » 29 Sep 2019, 09:12

This month, I started tutoring an 11 year old girl. She has just started 6th grade and has been learning English as foreign language since 1st grade. For a bit of context, we live in a small country and many people get a lot of exposure to English because things such as movies and videogames don't get dubbed, only subtitled (the former) or not translated at all (the latter). Not a lot of Internet entertainment, such as youtube videos, are available in our language so parents often expose their children to English from a very early age. This results in many kids being proficient in English before they even start school.

However, my student (let's call her Stella) has little to no contact with the language outside the classroom due to a combination of strict parents who seem to think only "traditional" (reading the textbook and cramming new vocabulary)learning methods are valid and a lack of interest. She is aware that she is lagging behind her classmates who have much larger vocabularies and therefore better means of expressing themselves. This results in insecurities; when faced with a word she can't pronounce, she always chooses to say nothing so that she doesn't make a mistake and "embarrass" herself.

Stella has good reading comprehension skills and likes to read in her native language. With me, one-on-one, she is very talkative, but as soon as I try to get her to speak English, she completely closes up. She seems to be a fairly good student who studies regularly, but she also seems to forget English vocabulary and sentence structures after she "doesn't need them anymore". When she speaks English, her sentences are very short and simple and she sticks with what she knows, which is, unfortunately, not much.

I would really like to help her improve overall competence in the language and encourage her to explore what it has to offer. Any advice would be much appreciated!

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