Help a TEFL teacher with a one-to-one with a 10 year old.
August 17, 2009 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know what books or resources, paid for or otherwise, would be suitable for teaching a 10 year old intermediate level English?

I'll be starting my first lesson with a kid on Wednesday, it's one-to-one. Obviously I'll try and make some sort of short assessment but I'll need to recommend resources for the father to buy.

Any help or ideas would be much appreciated.


posted by mooreeasyvibe to Writing & Language (6 answers total)
Is he immersed in English normally, or is he in a non-English speaking environment? And what kinds of materials can you get access to - art supplies, English-language stories...or just internet printouts?
posted by mdonley at 11:17 AM on August 17, 2009

He's a Chinese boy whose family moved here a while ago.

I've been given a short term 20 hour contract to improve his English. The parents will pay for resources that I recommend.

In the short term though it will primarily be internet printout stuff. So useful sites would help here.
posted by mooreeasyvibe at 11:24 AM on August 17, 2009

Your local library almost certainly has resources. Mine has both print and electronic ESL material. I would recommend calling them and speaking to a librarian.
posted by nestor_makhno at 12:13 PM on August 17, 2009

Overall: color pictures, blank paper and a bit of planning as far as what you're going to say.

I teach TEFL to kids (not one-to-one, though - I can, but it just hasn't come up on the schedule), and lessons which are formulaic help kids grasp new vocab and language because the novelty of a private English lesson fades with the imposition of routine.

After assessing his level ("intermediate" is pretty wide), I'd start out with pictures or prompts and a set of questions related to them that lead you toward the target language (say, learning new vocabulary about weather). The images don't need to be of Super Popular Cartoon Guy, just visually interesting. For basic flash card stuff, try Google Image Search, but set the parameters to "line drawing" for clear b/w printing.

You could even use famous art, like this Breughel painting.

Start out with simple questions about the picture that he can achieveably answer: What do you see? What's that next to the mother and child? Is it cold?

Then things can evolve - Have you ever gone ice skating, like these kids? What happened? Tell me about it. When you were in China, was there this much snow? What can you do in the winter that you can't do in the summer? What holidays are in the winter?

Go through a couple more, maybe, with different seasons, and keep a record of new/target vocab on a board (I use a piece of A4 paper slipped into a translucent plastic pocket thing for one-to-ones). Check the new weather vocab with a picture-word matching sheet (so he's got a record of what he's learned today, and something to reference later). He could make this up or you could have a quick one you made up in a word-processing program.

From there...he could draw his own pictures of different environments and their weather for you, to describe next time (or in writing) for homework. You could mime the words (thunderstorm, boiling hot) and guess each others'. If he's an OK reader, get some kid-and-level-appropriate reading material on the subject that's got the target language in there; the British Council has some good general materials you can adapt at a few levels.

The material itself, though, is probably less important than what he can do with it. Bring lots of blank paper to every lesson - you may get a brainwave for a creative, non-verbal-type assignment midway through a lesson, and the more equipped you are to deal with it, the better. My best lessons are those filled with student-produced language, so as much as you can, think about how a worksheet can be made into something verbal or student-produced.

And finally, how will his progress be assessed? If his folks want a GRAMMAR WORKSHEET GRAMMAR WORKSHEET GRAMMAR WORKSHEET-centered approach, then he's going to lose out on oral fluency and fixed expressions and general conversational ability...liaise with them so they have a clear understanding of what he's going to get out of the twenty hours. If you've got access to his teachers in state/public school, that's a good idea too.

Good luck! Memail if you've got more questions.
posted by mdonley at 1:02 PM on August 17, 2009

Thanks a lot for this advice. Brilliant. The British Council site is particularly useful.
posted by mooreeasyvibe at 2:55 PM on August 17, 2009

Ok, I got some more info. Apparently the kid's parents want him to improve his reading and writing skills. This suggests that his spoken side of English is getting there already, and apparently he is already enrolled in a state school here in the UK.

So, I'll need to find some exercises or resources to develop his reading and writing.

Any suggestions?
posted by mooreeasyvibe at 4:04 PM on August 17, 2009

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