Teaching English as a second language can be a very challenging task at times, just as Ramona Maharaj from the City of Hamilton knows. She has taught in ten countries throughout the past decade, all of which have required her to adapt to a new situation and culture as well as students and class structures. However, she has learned some tricks along the way that have been effective in breaking the ice with each and every set of new students. Below are some tips of things you can try on the first day to engage your ESL students.
First, catching them off guard is always a great way to get their attention. If one person is disrupting the class, put him or her on the spot to see how good their English is; and give them a chance to be humbled. If it is more than one person, or even an entire class, making up a fake quiz or test on the first day will let them know you are now joking around; even if you kind of are.
Next, try and do some activities that are relevant to their lives. Many people on the first day of a language class ask themselves why they are there in the first place. Answer that question by having them engage in an activity that they can use outside of the classroom right away.