Tutoring Tips for Home Language Students

Teaching Tips

 tutoring1 Teaching time ideas:
For 15 hrs/week done in 5 days, most hosts do 3 hours of lessons each weekday morning. For a change of pace, consider breaking up the teaching time as 2 or 2.5 hours in the morning with a 30 mintue to 1 hour follow-up/review later in the day, or 90 minutes each in the morning & afternoon. An afternoon lesson might consist of speaking or writing about the events of the day, reviewing new vocabulary or idioms used that day, perhaps reviewing photos or videos of the day.
Note that HLI specifys that lessons should take place during the day and not in the evening.

Seasoned New Englanders all, many hosts leverage our unpredictable weather by extending lesson time on bad-weather days so that more activities can be planned for great-weather days. The contracted hours must be documented for each week on your “hours sheet”, but lesson days and times are up to you.

Teaching Tips:

  • Make sure your student has a notebook and pen
  • Have the student keep a vocabulary list and have a way to quickly record new words that are encountered in your travels. (an audio or video recording device may be useful here if you have one, or a small notebook)
  • Review / Drill on the new vocabulary list daily
  • Make an “idiom list” and make a game of using idioms on the list frequently as you go about your days
  • Make every outing a learning excursion – keep adding to the word lists, and have students write or talk about their activities during lesson time
  • Your local library is a great resource for appropriate reading materials matched to your student’s abilities and age

Movies as teaching tools and/or fun and relaxation

  • Most DVDs can have subtitles turned on – use English for intermediate students. French is usually also an option if you have a beginning French student, but this  counts as relaxation and entertainment, NOT as an English lesson. However, you can have your student write about or discuss the movie later during lesson time.
  • If appropriate for the level and age of the student, watch a movie which you can then discuss. If on DVD, let them stop or back up if they have questions or didn’t understand.  Stop the movie to ask them if they understand or have any questions – in particular if dialogue is very fast-paced. Some students are shy about stopping the movie, so check in with them – in particular after scenes where dialogue is very rapid! The availability of English subtitles (for all but advanced students) is very helpful for understanding.
  • Having a study guide with vocabulary for the movie which you can review in advance is recommended.  If you have created a guide like this, we’d love to share it.
  • They can write a short essay about the movie, add to vocabulary & idiom lists, and ask questions.
  • Movie suggestions:
    • Dead Poets Society
    • Finding Nemo
    • Chololat (in particular for French students)
    • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (great for teen girls)
    • Spirited Away (in particular for Japanese students)
    • The Wizard of Oz (It’s an all-American fairy tale that is culturally significant)
    • The Crucible (for visitors to Salem)
    • Worldwide blockbusters they may have seen at home: Star Wars series, Indianna Jones series, Toy Story series, Harry Potter etc
    • Good Will Hunting (great movie, filmed locally -with very foul language – ONLY for older students/adults with a discussion about appropriate language)
  • Online resources:
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