Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How Learning Another Language Can Improve Your ESL Teaching

Hi Fellow ESL Teachers and Tutors and Friends!

Welcome to ESL Teacher! Today I wanted to offer some advice into becoming a more compassionate and disciplined ESL teacher. Go through what your students are going through by learning another language.

When you succeed in learning another language, you will be better able to teach your students to succeed as well.

I learned French and then Mandarin Chinese. Both were challenging in different and similar ways. Learning them showed me how I could help my students.

It also helped me understand how they feel when they are in my classroom, and how I can best help them improve! What about you? Please comment and share!

Your fellow ESL teacher,



  1. Hey

    This is a fabulous post. I learned German before I began my career in esl teaching and it has helped me significantly.

    I can sympathise with students who have trouble with finer grammar points and understand how hard it can be learning verb conjugations and such like as an esl student.

    Teaching ESL is challenging but I agree, learning another language can certainly take your ESL teaching to the next level!

  2. So true! Just like the marketing principle: eat your own dog food! Its very important to understand what your students are struggling with!
    They will make the same mistakes you did!

  3. I definitely agree with you, but it's difficult to find time to learn another language. I think a lot of people study English to open doors and create opportunities in their life. And because English does this more than any other language, people to tend to study it.
    Wouldn't it be nice if learning a new language is quick & simple!

    i do find that when I am teaching I think of my own language learning experiences so that I can create better lessons for my students.

  4. I agree with you about putting yourself in the learner’s shoes. I would also say that being familiar with your student’s first language can help you deal with most common L1 interference problems. Although a lot of people say you should only use English in class I find comparing the grammatical structures of English and the student’s L1 can be particularly useful, especially with more analytical learners. Using the student’s L1 can also help with vocabulary and comprehension checks.

  5. It is true that in order for you to teach a certain field of knowledge efficiently, you must first master it.