Program for English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) Teachers

We offer professional development workshops 10 times a year for instructors who teach English to adults. These courses, taught on Saturday mornings, are targeted to new and aspiring teachers who teach English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) to adult immigrants; community volunteers who are looking for teacher training; and experienced English-as-a-Second-Language teachers who are looking for additional training. The workshops are free and can accommodate up to 60 participants.

Our program provides ESL teachers with a vital opportunity to learn new ESL teaching theories and approaches. It also offers the ESL teachers a chance to share their own experiences in the classroom. In doing so, ESL teachers expand their knowledge beyond theory and learn classroom-tested teaching strategies. Overall, participants find that our teaching training workshops stimulate ideas and discussions that heighten success in the ESL classroom.

Program instructors are professors and graduate students from the Department of Applied Linguistics and English-as-a-Second Language at Georgia State University.

Each workshop focuses on a different topic. Topics include teaching pronunciation, using visual materials to develop conversational skills and working with students with a low level of education.

2018 Schedule

Classes take place on the following Saturdays between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

January 28: Intro to TESOL
This workshop will introduce foundational concepts of Second Language Acquisition, and relate them to pedagogical applications in the English-language classroom. Key concepts of motivation, anxiety, and group dynamics are presented through interactive activities that teachers can utilize in the classroom. This workshop includes discussions and activities related to theme- and task-based language teaching

February 25: Speaking and Listening Practice in the ESL classroom
To be able to interact with the broader community, immigrants must become competent in speaking and understanding spoken English. Building this competence requires a great deal of practice in a safe, comfortable environment. This workshop focuses on creating opportunities for students to practice through a communicative approach to language learning. Participants will look at the difference between fluency and accuracy, as well as strategies for encouraging speaking/listening practice in the classroom.

March 25: Grammar and Vocabulary in the ESL classroom
This workshop will focus on the place of grammar and vocabulary in language teaching. Grammatical competence occupies a prominent position in communicative competence.Issues about how to teach grammar will be discussed in this workshop. Some techniques for teaching grammar, as well as current practices in teaching vocabulary, will be presented.

April 22: Assessment and Evaluation in the ESL classroom
Assessment is an integral part of instruction, as it provides feedback to whether educational goals and standards are being met. Many assessment tools are used to place students into classes, evaluate learner progress and inform instruction. In this workshop we will discuss assessment options for adult language learners and how to use the information provided from these assessments to structure classes and curriculums.

May 20: Teaching pronunciation
What constitutes “pronunciation”? What is needed for “good pronunciation”? Many English teachers find it particularly challenging to teach pronunciation. More often than not, teachers are forced to depend mainly on their own intuition. In this workshop, we will 1) provide opportunities to think about what our goals should be and what we should prioritize in teaching pronunciation and 2) discuss main topics in pronunciation such as supra-segmental (rhythm, stress and intonation) and segmental (consonants and vowels). Useful classroom activities will be demonstrated, including practical tips on how to teach pronunciation.

June 24: The Communicative Teaching Method in the ESL classroom
This workshop will focus on viewing language as a medium of communication and will show the benefits of teaching oral interaction, hearing and reading comprehension. The approach refers to the way students can learn to communicate with real experiences and viewpoints. By emphasizing the social purpose of language, this method focuses on meaningful interactions and authentic exchanges of information. The workshop will discuss tactics for teachers to engage their students in exercises that will develop skills in authentic, real-world situations.

July 29: Beyond the textbook: pictures and other visual materials for developing conversational skills
Language teachers often try to help their students develop not only as individuals but also in their ability to relate to others. It is not enough for students to have a competent ability in a language if they cannot develop a conversation or discussion. In this sense, language teachers have an additional role as communication teachers. It is important for them to have a wide range of resources in the classroom, such as pictures and other visual aids. In this workshop we will discuss how language teachers can help develop a student’s oral communication skills, as well as how to utilize visuals aids.

August 26: Multilevel/Multilanguage ESL classroom
In multilevel ESL classes, teachers face the challenge of having to use a variety of materials, activities and techniques to engage the students to help them reach their educational goals. To ensure some success for all the students in the multilevel classroom, teachers must determine what each learner needs and wants to learn. Teachers can do this in a variety of ways, including group separation and self-assessment. This workshop focuses on the methods by which a teacher in a multilevel ESL classroom can develop the necessary skills to successfully help students at varying levels of understanding.

September 23: Literacy and working with low-schooled students
This hands-on, highly interactive workshop is geared to helping English-language learners who are beginning readers move on beyond memorizing the alphabet and into learning how to read. We will learn creative strategies for helping students develop critical skills needed for reading, including the sounds that go with letters and letter combinations, blending, strategies to construct meaning from print and incorporating these in a multilevel classroom. Come ready to role-play and practice being both a student and a teacher in an adult ESL classroom!

October 28: Integrating culture and language in Adult ESL classrooms
In this interactive, hands-on workshop, we will explore practical, research-based teaching techniques for integrating language and culture in adult ESOL classrooms. We will focus on current frameworks of intercultural training such as the 3 P’s (ACTFL 2004) and the D.I.V.E. model. Participants will leave with strategies to apply immediately in their classrooms – and new ways to think about the role of culture in ESOL instruction in general. Come ready to practice and play!