ESL Teaching Guide for Public Speaking
Imagine this…it is your first time teaching Public Speaking course on an undergraduate level. You go into the classroom and see that your students have different ethnicity. Among them, there are Asians, South Americans, Europeans, Africans, who are the ones usually talked about among other Public Speaking instructors as hard to facilitate with in together with the mainstream students. The first ice-breaking activity you planned for the students is a spontaneous group-based presentation called, “The worst group presentation ever”. You are checking on how those international students are doing within their groups. You saw three international students scattered sit with other native speakers but it seems that they have trouble communicating with each other; What shall you do? Should you help them to communicate? And how? You then check the rest of the international students and find that all Asians are sitting together talking in their native tongue. You want to tell them to speak in English as this is an English speaking class, but you are worried if this would be too abrupt and scare the students away. You feel very frustrated.
Now imagine this...after grading the first speech, introductory speech, you realized that lot of international students did not even understand the guidelines well for this speech. For example, though it has been emphasized many times that there should be a thesis in the introduction part and there should be authoritative sources used for this speech, many international students still did not have those elements shown in their speeches. You remember that each time you want to approach them; they are either shy or telling you that they have no questions in what they need to do. They also never raise their hands or talk in class. You are frustrated with how to know if they understand what you say, since there is definitely a language barrier between you and them. Should you spend extra hours guiding them in their speeches? Would this warm-heart action be considered as too abrupt to point to their language deficiency? Above all, what do those so called ESL learners do know and do not know, you are asking yourself…
If you are a new undergraduate-level Public Speaking instructor having those questions in your head, let me tell you, you are not alone! With the frustrations, at least you have already realized that there should be something done to know better of those ESL students, to know how to guide them properly without losing their faces, to know how to assess them properly in order to make them progress, and to know how to facilitate a class with both ESL and mainstream students.
If you have already realized how important those questions are and haven’t known the solutions yet, welcome to this course! This course will be divided into three units for three main topics: (1) who are ESL students? (2) How to diagnose and constructively evaluate ESL students’ speeches? (3) How to design class activities for Public Speaking course to facilitate both mainstream and ESL students? For each unit, we will firstly have a mini-lecture and then we will all work together to construct solutions to any dilemmas we have faced with via sharing and helping each other.
One goal of this mini-course is for participants to gain a better understanding of who ESL students are, how they are different from mainstream students in public speaking, and how the instructors diagnose and evaluate on ESL learners’ public speaking skills properly. Another goal for this mini-course is for participants to build up their judgement of what classroom-based activities and assignment to suggest for each specific circumstance to facilitate a multicultural class with both ESL and mainstream public speaking learners. All in all, all that we are learning and discussing here is to help you design a better undergraduate-level Public Speaking course in future.
To begin the course, start with Unit One and proceed all the way through to the end of Unit Three:
Unit Three: How to design class activities for Public Speaking course to facilitate both mainstream and ESL students?
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