Teaching Asian kids is differenT

For any ESL teacher, teaching Asian kids can prove to be a challenging task. Any teacher new to Asian Schools will find the overwhelming predominance of English grammar over communicative English. Apart from that there is also the perpetual fear of making mistakes and losing face, so the class is full of tongue –tied ,shy kids who refuse to be the first one to speak.

Another common problem is that the mother tongue influences English word rhythm and these kids tend to give each syllable almost the same strength, length, and pitch. In some languages in Asia, each syllable is equally strong, and it is reflected in spoken English. They do not understand that English being a stress timed language, they need to weaken and reduce unstressed syllables. A very good example is the word “CHOcolate. In many Asian countries students will end up saying CHO CO LATE”, influenced by the rhythm in mother tongue.

For an ESL teacher the prime function would be to build confidence in the learners and help them to generate language. The Certificate in Teaching Practice provides a trainee with the tools and strategies to do just that. Create a conducive and comfortable learning environment that generates fluency before accuracy. The course is structured to reach effectiveness at all levels- elementary, intermediate as well as the advanced students. Language is built as a communicative skill and grammar is contextualized to integrate the aspects of learning and make it as practically applicable as possible. The basic inputs in phonology diagnoses just the areas where an ESL teacher needs to work to remove the mother tongue influence and make pronunciation as neutral as possible, with correct stress and intonation on the right syllables.

Teaching Asian kids is definitely different- but it is also a challenge. Asians across the continent are respectful and diligent- that makes teaching worthwhile for any ESL teacher who aspires to take up teaching as a profession.