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How to teach English as a second language?

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As an ESL PhD I can offer you what research and philosophical frameworks have agreed on for many years on end:

1. Second language learning is incidental- You have to provide the lessons in a real-life environment with maximum exposure to the target language, preferably in an 80-20 format which will lead to 100 target language.

2. Formal teaching of second language should not be mechanized, instead, the teacher should be a guide to using it properly rather than the executor of it. In other words, no memorization, no tediousness. That blocks the affective filter of the student and in turn makes it lose the motivation.

3. Expose the reader to as much visual imagery and words in the target language as possible. This is called Extensive Reading and it is a proven tool to establish text to language connections, and sound/symbol connections.

4. Kinesthetics are a plus. Teach by doing and they will learn by doing. Instead of saying "sit", go ahead and sit while you say it. Build games with rhyming words, expose them to songs and music, and to the culture.

5. Do not translate. Do not translate. Do not translate. Do not translate. Do not translate. Instead: Point, do, enact, body talk, paraphrase, scattergory it, whatever, but do not translate. The student has the flexibility and the INNATE ability to learn language because we learn the second language the same way we learn the first, therefore, we all CAN do it. Its only a matter of time.

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