Teaching English to locals compared to non-locals?

Reply
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    5

    Lightbulb Teaching English to locals compared to non-locals?

    Hi Everyone,

    This is an open discussion. I am just curious about what people's experiences have been teaching English to kids whose parents are local Chinese, and teaching English to kids who are Chinese but have studied abroad, or who are completely foreign from Hong Kong but have a good basis of english already? (hope that makes sense?)

    Also, what teaching styles do you think you would recommend in specifically teaching locals and techniques specifically teaching kids who are foreign but have a good basis of spoken english already?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    2,128

    Local students tend to be stronger in terms of grammar but lack creativity in their writing skills and need more help with oral conversation.

    'Foreign' students are naturally much more fluent in oral conversation and have more vocabulary but some struggle more with the technical aspects of English (i.e grammar).

    Of course not all students fall into these categories. Do a proper needs assessment during the first lesson to get a better understanding of their areas of strength and weakness.


    Sent from my iPhone using GeoClicks


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    297

    Hm, in my experience it really depends more on the individual student than on anything else. I've had foreign students (from Korea, Japan, Thailand, Brazil, etc.) who were very advanced and some who could barely talk at all. And as far as the local students, some are very advanced and want to talk about poetry and history and theories whereas others of the same age can barely make a conversation. And everything in between.

    If they have studied abroad (or at an international school), I do agree that their oral English will usually be better, but it hasn't been my experience that local students are stronger in grammar. Almost all of my local students struggle with grammar (articles, tenses, etc.) to a varying degree, although they are better at knowing grammar terms. But even if they know the terms, they don't always know/remember how to use it in a paper.

    So I guess I'd say it really depends! And yes, I also agree with jmbf that you should assess each student during the first lesson.

    Last edited by foreverhobbes; 16-06-2014 at 08:51 PM.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    2,128

    Yes I agree that all students are different and have different strengths / weaknesses in their English. Any generalisations made are subject to one's own experience and so different teachers will have different opinions on this.

    Are you planning on teaching groups or one-to-one?


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    5

    Thanks for all the input! I learned a lot from all of what you said. I am mainly teaching kids one-on-one at home. But, have had different experiences dealing with the parents and the children of one local family and one non-local family.
    I'm more used to tutoring kids who are just improving their grammar or vocabulary but go to an international or ESF school already. But, I've taken on a new job of tutoring a local kid who's family don't speak English at home. After talking with the mother she just send me a bunch of report cards, teacher comments and past homework. I don't think the mother can really read the comments herself as they are written very intricately with quite advanced vocabulary deeply explaining her child's learning level. SO, I don't think the mother knows what level of English her child is on, and since I'm not exactly an experienced teacher (just a native English speaker with a TEFL) I don't really know what she wants me to do as all she is saying is that her child must be the best in her class and that she is expected 3+ hours of English teaching a week. I am wondering whether to take on the job because I am getting the vibe that this woman may be quite demanding and have unrealistic expectations.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by foreverhobbes:
    Hm, in my experience it really depends more on the individual student than on anything else. I've had foreign students (from Korea, Japan, Thailand, Brazil, etc.) who were very advanced and some who could barely talk at all. And as far as the local students, some are very advanced and want to talk about poetry and history and theories whereas others of the same age can barely make a conversation. And everything in between.

    If they have studied abroad (or at an international school), I do agree that their oral English will usually be better, but it hasn't been my experience that local students are stronger in grammar. Almost all of my local students struggle with grammar (articles, tenses, etc.) to a varying degree, although they are better at knowing grammar terms. But even if they know the terms, they don't always know/remember how to use it in a paper.

    So I guess I'd say it really depends! And yes, I also agree with jmbf that you should assess each student during the first lesson.
    Actually, on that not regarding grammar being a difficult thing to grasp. I noticed that particularly in correlation to Chinese the grammar is quite basic. Unlike, let's say English there is a present-perfect tense, past-continuing and the list goes on. Not only that but the verbs change too according to the tense and I can understand that this can be quite overwhelming for English learners. I've learned that just a lot of listening & reading practice can help tackle this. In my case, with young students (kindergarten/primary school) I'm not sure where to begin..hahahha I guess just a lot of focus with spelling and reading?
    Anyway thanks for all the input! I have found this discussion to be very useful!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    2,128

    It may well be that the mother's expectations are unrealistic. What I suggest is that you get some books (buy / borrow) which will give you an idea of the student's curriculum in terms of what they are learning grammar wise, vocabulary etc (they have books available in Popular and elsewhere). Combine this with the teacher's notes and past homework and you will start to see where the areas for improvement are. Also don't forget to talk with the student and find out what they find most difficult etc etc.

    Communicate this with the mother and try to get some agreement on the plan going forward. You will have to do some work on planning the lessons with appropriate materials to address the student's weak areas.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    5

    Thanks! really appreciate the advice!