As native English speakers, it is easy to forget or not understand how difficult English is to learn as a foreign language. The following simple tips will help you communicate better with your students making your job easier, their studies easier and help you to teach more effectively and efficiently.
1. Speak Slowly
Until you know exactly what their listening and comprehension skills are, speak slowly so that they have time to hear and process your words. Slowing you speech down to about half the normal speed is a good place to start.
2. Speak Clearly
This sounds like an easy one but most of us are unaware of how much we actually slur our words, run one word into another and change the sound and pronunciation slightly.
Here is a good exercise to see how clearly you are speaking. Speak this sentence out loud:
I am going to the store to buy some bread.
Are you clearly pronouncing each word or do you run them together?
Practice tongue twisters to learn how to pronunciate clearer for your students. (Tongue twisters are also great activities for your classes!)
3. Project Your Voice
Projecting your voice is crucial to reaching all of your students. Projecting your voice is different than speaking loudly. Projecting you voice means always speaking to the people in the back row, not by shouting, but by focusing your voice on them, thus carrying your voice and attention to them.
4. Keep Your Mouth Clear
Don't chew gum or have candy in your mouth while you are teaching. You may not notice the difference in your speech, but it can make a big difference to your students.
5. Make Eye Contact
Make eye contact with each and every student while teaching. Walk around your class room while teaching as well as when students are working on activities.
6. Get on Their Level
If you are going over to a student to speak one on one with them, physically get on their level. Sit, squat or kneel. It can be very intimidating to students if you are looming over them. It's almost always easier to understand someone face to face, especially since you are speaking in a language they are learning.
7. Write It Down
For most people learning another language, reading comprehension is easier than listening comprehension. As much as you can, write important points, vocabulary, definitions, grammar rules, directions, etc. down on the board for students to read. Teaching by speaking and writing is much more effective way to communicate than just speaking.
Have some tips for better communication with students? Share them in the comments!