Question Detail

My student is afraid of English. What should I do?

Mar 29, 2016 11:27pm

I'm not a teacher. I just started to teach English to a friend. I am not perfect but I tought I can give my very beginner friend some free lessons. She is briliant at her job, but when it comes to English, her confidence drops to zero and then her brain stops working. It's our third time working on "a/an/the".
I told her there is nothing to worry about. It's one to one, we can go at her pace, she can ask anything. I told her; I was just like her when I started. Mistakes show us where to focus so they are good. also, if you don't make mistakes that means you are not learning. It's ok to make mistakes. I try to keep things interesting, beside regular lessons, I show videos,songs,even brought a box and a ball for prepositions "in, on, under..."
She looks in my eyes to confirm it is the right answer even if she knows the answer. She has the constant look on face; mix of despair, panic, terror!
She doesn't do her homework, procastinates. Wants to learn but avoids learning. What should I do?

  • English Language Arts / Foreign Language
  • Engagement / New Teachers


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    • Apr 7, 2016 7:14am

      What morivates her to learn English, why does she need it? I'm afraid, you want her to know English more than she wants it. She should be interested in results to enjoy the learning process, you can't force her to do homework or watch videos or whatever. Self-motivation is highly important.

      • Apr 12, 2016 5:37am

        I am a big fan of immersion. Especially if you can find a small group of close friends. I think that it would be great if you invited a few friends to gather and then played games or watched a movie, BUT you could only speak in English. It would be an intimate, non-threatening atmosphere. And hopefully fun!

        • Apr 19, 2016 1:36pm

          Hi, thanks for answers.
          No, I'm not forcing her. We work in an international company and she needs to learn English in order to get promoted. So she asked my help. I asked for advice from a therapist friend. He told me she probably has a past trauma about English. I totally get it, I am the same with Math, some teachers get ego satisfaction after making fun of students for not knowing what they failed to teach... He also told me because of the past trauma I intimidate her as a teacher when I start talking English. He told me I should make a lot of mistakes while teaching, in order to get on her level so she can feel safe with me. I should stop being teacher and be the classmate you go in the break time to ask something you don't understand. He also told me telling her "making mistakes are OK" will not work because she knows that already. The problem is her subconscious doesn't know it. He advised me to give her some homework which she is not allowed to give the right answer. That would break the fear of making mistakes by showing her making mistakes will not hurt at all. on the contrary she gets celebrated and praised when she makes mistakes.

          • Apr 20, 2016 7:51am

            i feared english too , but now i am learning english with all effort , i creat a blog and lear myself :