Monday, February 14, 2011

Using local names and events

I have found that unless an ESL textbook was developed locally, it will usually be for children who have moved to an English country so all of the names will be Billy, Susie, Mary, Joey, etc. Similarly, places such as London and New York mean very little to an eight year old in Thailand of China.

Unfortunately, texts that are made locally are often dreadful. Bad spelling and grammar make them unusable and the problem is often compounded when local teachers who have never been outside the country attempt to teach English using those books.

The internet is full of great ESL websites. I like to take these articles, exercises and quizzes and adapt them for local children. It’s easy enough to change children’s names in stories to march local names (or even children in your class) and local money, local, holiday, local places…you get the idea.

This helps children to relate to your topic. If it is not relevant to the children, it won’t make sense. They won’t understand it and will tune out. When that happens, they stop listening and look for something more interesting to do – such as playing with a Rubix Cube under their desk!

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