If you're an ESL teacher, it's not uncommon to have students who are young children, as well as some who are well into their adulthood. Teaching adult learners ESL can look different depending on their exposure to English. Some students are true beginners and have never spoken a word of English in their lives. Others have informal experience with speaking, but may have never learned to read and write. And then you have the students who know the basics of speaking, reading, and writing but want to master the language once and for all.
Regardless of what level your adult student is at, it's important to keep in mind that teaching someone with life experience isn't all that different from teaching a young students. Of course, you want to treat them appropriately and respectfully. But your lesson plans will all depends on their comfortability with English, which is why we've pulled together the best ESL worksheets and activities for adult learners. Some of the main topics that will be applicable to adult learners are jobs and professions, as well as social issues. However, it's important to cover the essential curriculum, too, like grammar, reading and writing.
Oftentimes, adult learners have already adapted the English language with slang and informal phrases. There's nothing wrong with them using colloquial terms, but it's important to remind them that there is a "right" and "wrong" way to form sentences. Re-teaching students basic concepts like sentence structure, pronunciation, and puncuation is called revising. Whether you're helping adult students re-learn the proper way or teaching them grammar for the first time, these worksheets will be helpful. You can use these worksheets as warmers or homework assignments.
- Reported Speech Statements
- Placing Adverbs of Frequency in Sentences
- Past Simple vs. Past Continuous
Regardless of what age level you're teaching, getting your students to feel comfortable with speaking in a new language outloud is the goal. However, you may need to get creative with adults to ensure you're not asking them to engage in speaking activities that they may find childish. With these adult ESL actvitieis, students will get the chance to interact with others through role playing, as well as answering questions about themselves. In the warmer, students will look at a picture and a task on a card; an example of a prompt might include "name five things that irritate you." Use the jokes activity to bring some humour to your class. After all, adults are the ones with the most responsibility and stress in their lives, so it's a great opportunity to get them to lighten up while learning new vocab!
Reading & Writing
The most fundamental parts of any language are learning to read and write, but those can also be the most challenging lessons to teach, especially with adults. They've had a lifetime to develop learning habits in their native language, so it'll take some extra work to re-teach them in English. However, teaching adults also allows for a wider variety of reading and writing prompts - they may be interested in topics that children aren't like politics or history. These reading and writing worksheets for adult ESL students are are just the tip of the iceburg.
Teaching adult ESL learners vocabularly can be a bit different from teaching kids. Many words in different languages have similarities to English, which can be both good and bad for the learner. It may be easier for them to learn the meaning of the word if it sounds and looks similar to the one in their native language. However, it can be easy to mix them up. These vocabularly worksheets for adult ESL go over the basics from everyday items to learning numbers, which will give your students an excellent foundation.
Jobs and Professions
Some of the most relevant lesson plans you can teach for adult ESL students will be about jobs and professions. In fact, the reason they are choosing to learn English could very well be because of a job opportunity or to diversify their skillset, so if it makes sense within your class curriculum to discuss the business world, you should absolutely do so! These jobs and professions worksheets go over the basics, like writing a coverletter and common expressions used in the workplace.
One of the best parts about teaching adult ESL students is that you can cover a wider variety of topics. Mature subjects such like social issues are appropriate to incorporate into your lessons, whether it be for speaking, reading, writing, or listening. In fact, students are more likely to pay attention and engage with the subect material when it's applicable to their own lives.
For more tips on ESL lessons for adults, check out these 15 secrets to teaching adults!
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