Let Them Know You!
That's right, let the students know you, especially the adult students. At the end of my 2 hour classes here in Thailand, my adult students always like to ask me questions about myself because they're curious.
At first I was a little nonplussed about how quiet they'd be in the actual lesson proper, only to come out of their shells once the lesson had officially ended. They just feel more comfortable. Once this had happened a few times and I'd had a few informal discussions with them for 20 minutes or so after lessons I found that their confidence to talk in the lesson themselves improved significantly.
With children I think you need to keep things a little less personal, but it still helps to chat with them informally about yourself sometimes.
I agree with some of the 10 COmmandments that were posted on here, but I feel it's a little restrictive and undesirable to choose particular methods and declare them as the only way you will ever teach.
Remember that surely the priority is teaching people to communicate, with absolute accuracy and perfection being a long-term goal to work on. It's better for a student to be understood and be confident than be accurate, quiet and uncommunicative. Talking informally with your students helps them in the best possible way. If you don't slow down or grade your speech too much it's even more beneficial. It's hard for them, but it's the best way to create genuinely able English communicators rather than students with diplomas on their walls who cannot talk to English speakers unless they talk unnaturally slowly.
* The author of this submission, Nicholas Paul Richardson (22), is currently teaching in Bangkok, Thailand, but unfortunately has no letters after his name, is the spokesperson of nothing, and doesn't even own a car.
World's Best Jobs!
Dave's ESL Cafe Copyright © 2008 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.