What do in the very first one-on-one lesson?

Discussion about teaching ESL to children

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What do in the very first one-on-one lesson?

Unread post by Echo »

I am a qualified ESL teacher with a BA. I have never done an actual lesson but I will probably be doing some one on one class soon while I’m looking for a full time position.
Say it’s with a 12 year old child.
I was just wondering how exactly you begin with a student you’ve never worked with before. Most resources only give information on how to plan a normal lesson with students you know.
How do I break the ice?
How do I assess their level?
Is there anything else I should know?
Thank you so much for anyone who replies.
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Re: What do in the very first one-on-one lesson?

Unread post by Briona »

Hi there,

The first class with any one-to-one student should involve some form of needs analysis. With an adult (who isn't a beginner), this could take the form of a questionnaire, which would be administered in interview format. You would ask questions relating to their past learning experiences, their current and future use of English, and their goals/reason for studying. You would then use this information to plan a suitable course.

Children should be assessed in a less explicit way. In the first instance, I get as much information as I can relating to their level and abilities from the child's parents. If the child is very young, I simply use that information to choose level-appropriate material (often from a coursebook), and after basic introductions, I get straight down to the lesson.

If the child is older, say 10+, I start the lesson by asking them basic questions that they should be able to answer, e.g., questions about their family, their hobbies, school, etc. This gives me a rough idea of their comprehension, and their ability to express themselves on familiar topics.

To accurately assess their level, I tend to use speaking board games. You can find ready-made games/boards online or in various teacher's resource packs that accompany coursebooks. Alternatively, you can find blank templates that you can use to make your own game. If you know the child's age, you can create questions or use topics that will allow you to assess their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. If you're not sure what they should know, have a look at the contents page of a coursebook designed for that age-group. It is also worth finding out what the child likes, so you can design your lessons around their interests.

Hope that helps, and if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Experience teaching in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, and Qatar
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Re: What do in the very first one-on-one lesson?

Unread post by Jonathan87 »

First off, one-on-one educating can fall into two classifications: English direction or English mentoring.

There's a major distinction between the two classifications that ESL educators should know about, particularly if the lessons are a piece of an organized course or English instructional hub.

The idea driving coaching is that the mentor will likely get the understudy to learn alone—the coach goes about as a guide without giving addresses unless totally essential. A guide ought to give criticism yet shouldn't make particular revisions
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Re: What do in the very first one-on-one lesson?

Unread post by MiaWilliams »

Hi there!

I would recommend breaking the ice with learn-by-play game activities so that the student and yourself can interact in a fun, confidence-building environment.

To assess their level you really want to be testing them on all 4 major skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. You might also want to determine their motivation for taking the class so you can home in on what will seem relevant for the student. Perhaps they have a parent from a native English-speaking country and in this case the student may speak fluently but lack writing skills. Or perhaps they have had a traditional education and while their passive knowledge is excellent they might not feel confident enough to actively use the language.

Either way, you should keep the lessons engaging and interesting and always feel free to ask the student what they would like to focus on too in the class.
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