speak English

Teaching Someone to Speak English Is Not Easy!

It happened during one of my first teaching assignments I was teaching my class to speak English as I do each Wednesday and the lesson of the day was on past tense statements. We were discussing how to construct a past tense sentence correctly and were giving the students present tense situations and asked them to come up with the correct past tense sentences. Usually, my students understand the lessons well, and the response to my questions is lightning fast.

On this day, however, for reasons that are beyond me, my students had taken to adding “was” and “were” to past tense sentences.   It was turning to be a rather frustrating lesson for me. No matter how much I explained it, they persisted in constructing their sentences with “was” and were”. Needless to say, this was getting to me. I could sense I was running out of patience but as a professional teacher I could not lose my composure.

Their answers to the question as simple as the past tense of “I walk home” were rather hilariously misspoken as “I was walked”. Getting to the end of my tether, I had what I like to consider a brain wave! If I could not teach my students the concept of past tense with words, I would have to resort to imagery.

I then drew on the board (in my rather non-artistic own way), an image of a person walking along the road as opposed to a person being led around on a leash by a larger person. The resulting giggles in the class let me know that I had finally got the lesson through to them on how to speak English correctly!