Thursday, April 8, 2010

Using Eye Contact in the ESL Classroom

Hello Fellow ESL Teachers and ESL Tutors,

Thank you for visiting ESL Teacher, the best place to hone your English teaching skills. I really appreciate your visit!

Today I wanted to discuss the use of eye contact as a tool in teaching an ESL class. As most teachers perhaps instinctively already know, it is important to look at your students. This is how you can tell if they understand the lesson, if they are pronouncing the words correctly...or if they're sleeping!

However, I find it interesting that some new teachers are not looking at their students. Give your students eye contact time, be sure to look at each and every student as you teach. It makes the students feel like a part of the class.

In addition to getting a feel for your students, you can use eye contact to help students practice speaking. Here's a technique that I use to help students learn dialogues:

1) Write a dialogue on the board and then pair up students and have them practice it.

2) Have the students switch partners, and this time tell your students to look at each other, and not read the words.

3) If your students tell you they can't remember, tell them to look at the words, then look at their partner, and then speak.

4) Feel free to tell the students that you are having them practice speaking without reading for their own good. After all, they aren't going to walk around reading a book when they talk to people!

5) Have the student pairs come up to the front of the class and perform the dialogue. Be sure that they look at each other (and not stare off to the ceiling or the floor!).

Eye contact is very important in keeping a class focused. If they can look at you in unison, then you have a class that's ready to learn from you.

Please, share your advice or experience with eye contact in the ESL classroom. Thank you again for visiting ESL Teacher!

Your fellow ESL Teacher,


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