Question Detail

How do I get my students to speak in English?

Oct 10, 2016 9:09pm

I teach newcomer ESL (9th grade). The majority of my students speak Spanish. Even though they have enough English to ask basic questions of one another or have simple spontaneous conversation in English with one another, they are extremely resistant to using English with one another or even at all sometimes. I have to constantly remind them, and even then it's a battle. Any suggestions?

  • English Language Arts
  • 9


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    • Dec 6, 2016 4:58pm

      Yes, I have this problem too with my Chinese speakers. This semester has been especially challenging. One thing that usually works for me though is Positive Reinforcement Training. It may sound weird, but one of my hobbies is to train animals, and I've successfully trained my cat. I use a similar technique in my classroom. I reward the positive. I'll offer something students want. You can find out what they like simply by asking them - maybe it's extra time, a movie, etc. Then you set that as the goal and you can move toward that goal the more English is used in your classroom. In this way, you're constantly reminding them by focusing on the positive. They'll feel better about themselves for achieving the goal they've set and you'll feel better too.