According to John Schumann, a linguist professor and the publisher of The Interactional Instinct: The Evolution and Acquisition of Language, “the motivation for second language acquisition varies across individuals, the talent and aptitude for it varies across individuals, and the opportunity for it varies across individuals”. “Therefore we don’t get uniform success across second language acquisition as we do – generally – in primary language acquisition”. In the context of Schumann’s theory, it can be said that teaching a second language is quite a challenging task for the ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers. There are various challenges faced by them, the most important being language barrier. It is obvious that most of them speak a different language at home. They often do not understand the meanings of simple English words, let alone phrases and complete sentences. Thus, it becomes difficult for the teachers to communicate with them in class. So, most importantly, language teaching should primarily focus on breaking this language barrier. Given below are some ideas for the teachers to make language teaching a less daunting task.


  • Understanding students’ intelligence is important–Most of the students might have no idea about the English language. So, what brings them to an English classroom? It’s just awareness about the benefits of learning an international language like English. Moreover, students in your class might have different levels of intelligence. While a particular might learn a phrase or a new word in minutes, there may be students who need more time. Thus, you must plan lessons after analysing the intelligence of students.

Learning English

  • Allowing them to interact more is effective–In an ESL class you must speak comprehensively. Try to be as clear and audible as possible. If required you may repeat words that are difficult to pronounce. You must encourage students to speak. Speaking can help them to correct their pronunciations. They may speak grammatically wrong sentences or incomplete sentences. Don’t discourage them. You can indulge them in activities like skits or dramas in class, which will let them speak English more outside the classroom.

Children Learning English

  • Let students know what’s happening inside classroom: Make sure all your students are well aware of what is being taught in the classroom. Make instructions clear to everyone. Encourage them to make notes of lectures. After each lesson or lecture, you must ask questions to students to know whether they understood. You can also ask them to write them things they have learned in class. Periodical tests and interesting assignments can help them learn fast.
  • Introduce technology in class to aid language learning – Be smart. Encourage your students to use technology in education. For example, you can suggest them to use educational mobile apps. They can choose from different language learning apps. There are also dictionary and translation apps. There is also a new concept in education – the video dictionary app. You can also help them learn English by watching Hollywood movies and English music videos.

Hope, these useful tips will help you deal with English language teaching in a better way. Remember, you need to be creative in the ways you impart language learning. It will make you a successful ESL teacher.

Rebecca is an ESL teacher in a language learning centre under the Stanford University. She is a proud mother of a three year old. She is a satisfied user of a newly introduced English dictionary app. She likes weekend trips the most.