Https Blog.Esl-Languages.Com Blog Esl Most-Spoken-Languages-World Teaching ESL: How to Have a Successful English Corner

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Teaching ESL: How to Have a Successful English Corner

I have to admit that when I hear the “What’s-your-favorite-brand?” for the 100th time, I wasn’t too interested in English angles. Its purpose was to give Chinese students the opportunity to speak with Americans and learn their English. Hopefully, we can persuade them to come to our training center and learn. In theory, it was a good idea for everyone except the Americans. I can still see a shy elementary school student being encouraged by his Chinese mother to “show off” the few English words the boy has memorized. I felt sorry for the boy as I tried to smile for an hour and realized that the boy was difficult.

After spending more than 300 hours in English corners during my 7 years in China, I have found that there are right and wrong ways to live it. At first we were told that if we, the Americans, showed up somewhere, that a large crowd of people who wanted to learn English would confuse us with English conversations. This did not happen. I helped hold English corners in libraries, bookstores, parks, colleges, on busy streets and even at McDonald’s. Each of these had to be built from the ground up, but could be developed into a very successful program.

We had two types of English corners – free speech and activity based. Free English corners are often useful in colleges and libraries. Activity-based English corners were useful in any setting, but required a lot of work and planning. Below are some tips on how to have a successful English corner.

  1. Select the type of English corner. We usually divide the English corner into four parts. First, we taught 8 – 10 “Commonly Used American Words.” This was probably a fantasy or fantasy that we could make up and try to make sense of. We never tried to explain the meaning, but instead we tried to make it so that the students try to guess the meaning. Then, we usually taught a song with simple words. Then we taught about culture, and finally we played games.
  2. Choose to enjoy the situation. I knew that if I got tired of what I was doing, then my students would get tired too. I vividly remember trying to teach the proverb, “You’re barking up the wrong tree.” I had stood the student on the chair, while pretending to bark like a dog. We always did our best to add flavor to education, not only to keep students coming back, but also to keep us interested in education.
  3. Be flexible. I have vivid memories of teaching for two years at McDonald’s. We split into a McDonald’s corner and have an English corner every week at 3:00 PM on Saturdays. We have brought a portable display to let people know what we are. We brought a sound system with two wireless microphones. Everything we had to do to try and make the English corner successful. However, most of the time, something went wrong. Either there was an error in the operating system or there are no batteries in the mics. Sometimes we planned for 30 students and 100 came, and sometimes we planned for 100 and 5. If you run the English corner, you have to be ready to “ride the wave.”
  4. Follow the 10% – 50% rule of thumb. Usually in China, I look at one of my classes and divide it into half based on their level of English. Then I take the bottom half and come up with 10%. Often this was a good goal of the story. I would try to give 40% of the students most of my time and effort. For the top 50% of students I can throw nuggets (not McNuggets from McDonald’s) of solid English for fun. So whenever we have two projects or a team, I focus on the bottom 10% and try to help them individually. Be warned. English corners in public places will appeal to everyone. It was common for our public English corners to be filled with English school students and college English professors who wanted to learn English.

I still have many memories, and I made many friends through the work in England.

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