Welcome to
ESL Printables, the website where English Language teachers exchange resources: worksheets, lesson plans,  activities, etc.
Our collection is growing every day with the help of many teachers. If you want to download you have to send your own contributions.





ESL Forum:

Techniques and methods in Language Teaching

Games, activities and teaching ideas

Grammar and Linguistics

Teaching material

Concerning worksheets

Concerning powerpoints

Concerning online exercises

Make suggestions, report errors

Ask for help

Message board


ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Asking for advice    

Asking for advice

Emy Lee

Asking for advice
Hello everyone,
I �m having an issue with one of my students and I would like to ask for your opinion and advice.
Some time ago, I �ve been assigned a tutorial conversation class with a nine year-old boy, one hour a day from Monday to Friday. The kid is a complete beginner, so you can imagine the struggle of having him talk. Actually, he would need to improve all of his skills. Though, that is not the real problem. I planned games and activities and so far, I got him to speak. Well, a bit.
From the start, he barely talked, nodded and shaked his head for answering instead of saying a clear �yes � or �no �, showing almost no interest in class, failed to fill the worksheets, drawing in his notebook, etc. Again, this is not the real problem because I always managed to have him warm up to the lesson and participate.
The real problem is that is it obvious that he doesn �t want to take the class. I felt it the first day. It seems that his parents forced him to. And he confirmed it to me later... in a rather rude way. Lately, he became quite disrespectful, as he wanted to make me pay somehow. I �m supposed to be his teacher for one last week, but his mother told me she planned to have her son sign up for an other two months. I don �t know if he can handle it...
So, what should I do? In a way, I feel sorry for the boy and I don �t way to let him down. I don �t want to dissapoint the mother or put the kid in trouble. In a other way, I feel he would be a lot happier in a class with other children of his age. Maybe he would be better off studying something else than English.
Have you ever had experiences like these? I am looking forward to reading your replies. Thanks!!

24 Aug 2009      


dear emi lee;
This is has happened to me once, and I don �t know if this can help you but this is what I did. I talked to the mother and suggested her the idea of including his son in a course with children of his age, because I thought this might help the kid feel more interested in learning English. Unfourtunately, the kid would never become an active participant of the class, never spoke more than a sentence (only when I asked him to do it) he was feeling really miserable, anyone could see that. I talked to his mother and told her that the kid was suffering, this might have been shocking for her becuse that is the word I used "suffering". She realized her kid was not happy at all and decided to find another activity for him.
I think you try to do the same, after all it �s for the kid �s sake
ok, good luck Thumbs Up

24 Aug 2009     

Costa Rica

Well Emy Lee, that story sounds similar to me!!! In fact, I have a student like that in fourth grade. The rest of the teachers and I, well, we don �t know what else should we do....
We talked to our boss (principal) and his parents, but there wasn �t any positive behaviour from the child!! Confused 
Last week, he just went to class for a day and then,  he didn �t come anymore (lucky for us) Wink  At first, I started to giving him some stickers every time he finished a job, and he was doing great, but suddenly, I don �t know what happened, and he stopped working. He decided not to work!!!
Right now, I trying to help him, but if he doesn �t want to work, I kind of ignore him!!! In this group I have 33 students, I can �t loss my time in just one student!
I think his family and the child should go to a psychiatrist, but they say they are okay!!
See Emy Lee, you are not along in this teacher �s crazy world!!! LOL
Good luck!!! Johanna!

24 Aug 2009     


To me the real problem lies in the fact that learning English has been imposed on him and does not come out of his free will, so he is acting rebellious. What i would do in a situation like that is some of these:
- make him see that his parents mean him well,
- ask him what he would like to do/say in English,
- find out which of the intelligences is strongest in him (visual/spatial, logical/mathematical, etc.) and try to enforce it
- make him laugh in class, even if it takes making a fool/clown of yourself
- make him speak not by telling him "c �mon repeat" but by playing �deaf � or totally ignorant of his mother tongue and use the english accent (the r �s, t �s, etc.) to speak his mother tongue - it aaaalways gets them going (btw, i can see you �re canadian?? so i don �t know if you speak the boy �s first language. also, you didn �t say what his first language is)
- "seduce" him into learning, make him think that all you �re going to do is play and have fun, and not learn English
- do a recording of him. record chunks of his english and then play it as a sequence and make him see that it is possible to speak english and sound goooood

ummmm ... i �m running out of ideas, but if i think of sth else, i �ll let you know

24 Aug 2009     

class centre

Sometimes I say to my sts: OK, guys, no learning today! Only games! They are happy and very willingly participate. Besides, my system of prizes works amasingly. They want to complete the job or to answer a list of words, or to do watever which is rewarded. The other members  on the forum are very right - laughter, making fun of everything ( including yourself), running, jumping, catching ball, anything to break his intention of  being rude and uninterested. He is just a boy! They all like to play and enjoy their activities... Something hinders him to accept your lessons. I am sure it �s a family problem or his parents � wrong behaviour. You can not change it. Try everything and take it phylosofically.
Good luck!

24 Aug 2009     

miss K.

That �s a hard and not an encouraging case to have such a student. Several suggested to have fun even if it means making fun and clown of ownself. Well, don �t you think that if teacher  willl make fun of herself it will motivate the student to be even more disrespectful to the teacher? It won �t help to better up the situation.

24 Aug 2009     


@ miss K.
I think you took the �clown � idea literally. What i (we) actually meant is that it is good to exaggerate things with the kid and get overexcited. That �s all. Smile

24 Aug 2009     


Try some tongue twisters and show him that you can �t do them eihter. That way you �ll have a good laugh together. Do you access to a computer? If so try some of the English games.  Do lots of mimes, etc and have fun.....the grammar will come in time. Think about how he learnt his mother tongue!
I think sometimes we as teachers take ourselves too seriously.
I am over 60 yrs old and I think nothing of crawling on the floor if I need to demonstrate "crawl" and so on.
Yes, make a clown of yourself. There is nothing better than laughter. See the movie "Patch Adams" to see what I mean.

24 Aug 2009     


Why don �t you consider this as a challenge? And look for the patient, committed and wonderful teacher in you... I would show this kid that learning English is not what he thinks... it could be a bit tough at the beginning, because all the work will be yours... but once he started enjoying his classes you will see his attitude will change.
I would talk to him, ask him about his likes, what he would like to do in class, etc.
And, of course, I completely agree with bill2joy.... HAVE FUN TOGETHER...
I don �t think you should give up!!!
GOOD LUCK and let us know what happened!!!

24 Aug 2009     


hiii everyonee,,
ıam a new teacher and ı need experienced teacher �s advice.ı will teach can and can �t to beginners. they only know some words. they have just learnt the names og the animals, so ı will use animals ans ask can ...fly ex.would you please give me more creative ideas about this<*thanks beforehand

27 Aug 2009