182. I currently have an ESL student that will not speak when asked a question, she knows English now, and speaks it with the other students, but she will not speak to me. Both myself and her ESL teacher have tried different techniques, but nothing seems to work, what do you recommend?

Sometimes speaking another language in front of everyone, especially the teacher --who can correct students publicly, as I do and must do on many occasions-- is a truly difficult thing to do.  I would recommend that you rephrase your questions at first. For example, instead of asking this particular student open-ended questions, or questions that require speaking sentences or brief phrases in English, rephrase your questions to YES/NO questions:

Your Question may be: -"What season comes after Spring?" Rephrase to YES/NO question: -"Summer comes after Spring, right?"

Your question may be: -"Which is your favorite classical composer?" Rephrase to YES/NO question: -"Would you say Mozart is your favorite classical composer, correct?"

As the student answers these YES/NO questions, praise (h)im/er for (h)is/er good English pronunciation and expression, for participation and involvement in the class.

I think you will find that once the student gains confidence on (h)is/er ability to respond in English --even if (s)he responds only with a YES or a NO-- the student would perceive the classroom environment as a less frightening environment. This is the time to give choices in your questions, allowing the student first to answer with a hand signal:

-"Would you say that the basic elements in water are (say 1 --signal one with one finger) oxygen, (say 2 --signal two with two fingers) hydrogen, or (say 3 --signal three with three fingers) both oxygen and hydrogen?" The students may reply using the words "oxygen and hydrogen," or with the hand signal showing three fingers. Praise the students for excellent listening comprehension and for participation.

Now ask the student all kinds of questions like the ones above so that (s)he can respond as often as possible. Praise every response, whether it is a YES or a NO, or a hand signal with the appropriate number of fingers for the right choice, or a brief word or phrase. Make sure the student participates very frequently, so maximum praise can be given for participation.

I strongly believe that pretty soon the student will be responding with an English word, and English phrase, an English sentence, a complete response in English.

I suggest you tape record your lesson so you can hear and review you questions, how many times you call on the student, and the method of responding used by the student. Review you lessons, asking more and more of the questions shown above.

Try these ideas and let me know the results --I firmly believe they will be very positive!!!!!!

 

 


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