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Tutoring English for Adult Students



Useful tips from a Writer and a Teacher—Prof. Eric Roth

How do you effectively teach English to a struggling private student? What will you actually do for 60-120 minutes together? How will you make the lessons meaningful enough that your client feels satisfied and wants to retain you for future lessons?

First, you must be very clear about what the client wants and expects. Some tutors even present a written contract outlining their rates, the location and times of meetings, and payment policies. Only work with professionals, graduate students, and/or friends and spouses of friends with a solid foundation in English. Be explicit about what you want and don't want to teach a client. Be prepared to provide options for potential clients that you reject.

For students who want to improve their conversation, It is suggested that you select the topic and materials in advance. You can use newspapers, books and/or magazines to find appropriate articles to begin the conversation. You can browse the highly recommended books from here: http://www.compellingconversations.com that provides 45 self-contained thematic chapters – is Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics. The combination of poignant questions, vocabulary lists, proverbs, and witty quotations makes your job much easier.

If you have a weaker student looking to improve their speaking skills, Prof. Roth advise to use a picture dictionary. You might use the Oxford Picture Dictionary to open conversations, and he added that he would be tempted to ask the client to bring in photographs and ads each week. You will need patience and be prepared to repeat words. Many students will want to work on their pronunciation. You can also ask/assign them listening activities on the web.You will have to direct lower levels to websites to practice their listening and speaking skills with drills. They will love the work; you might go mad repeating vowel sounds.

Finally, Prof. Roth said, the key for tutoring ESL students – or anyone else – remains respecting the student, meeting their needs, and providing a solid structure for your lessons. Using a set text, developing a known routine, and combining conversation, vocabulary and writing skills makes for a successful and satisfying experience. Set a clear goal for your lessons, and conclude when the students have reached that goal. You can then become genuine friends and leave money out of the equation.

Or not. You choose. What are your goals for tutoring students?


Eric Roth currently teaches writing and verbal skills to international graduate students at the University of Southern California. Eric has helped university students discover the pleasures and perils of the English language from dozens of countries over the last 15 years. He recently co-authored an EFL book titled "Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics" from materials he developed as a tutor and teacher. Eric can be reached through http://www.compellingconversations.com

06:48 AM Jul 10 2009 |

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mita hapsari


i can understand , what the people says in english but i can speak english well ! !

who can help me ? ?

12:24 PM Jul 27 2009 |



please give me example for essay about myself .

i need it now ! please …..........

01:52 PM Jul 29 2009 |





06:56 PM Aug 09 2009 |



the more you listen the more you understand and the more you learn and the more you learn you start speak english fluently.

the key point is tht you need to me fimiler with words, after that everything is simple.

07:25 AM Aug 10 2009 |



speake english


10:09 PM Nov 28 2009 |




I need some helps about pronunciation an article "the" in front of a vowel sound for example. The airport.

Thank you for helping.

01:46 AM Dec 01 2009 |




The is pronounced like figure before a vowel. Something like the short version of ee. Hope I helped. 

07:32 PM Dec 11 2009 |