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ESL Students: The Usual Suspects

by Sarah Menkedick May 21, 2009
Sarah Menkedick introduces four types of students in your ESL class.

There’s the guy who’s really interested in grammar and can’t stop asking you why the present perfect form of run is irregular.

He pores over his book every night and could present a thesis on the use of adverbs of frequency, but if he actually needs to bust out a comprehensible sentence in casual conversation, he’s floored.

There are the two or three middle-aged workers who’ve randomly decided they should learn English, gotten really pumped about it during the first week, and then promptly grown bored.

Now they recite new vocabulary words as if they were heavy rocks dropping with a thud.

There are the keen university students who want it, need it, soak it up with the desperation of a man trying every trick he knows to get the woman he wants.

They grapple with the language, play with it, try to please it and alter it a bit to suit their needs. They could use more practice, but they’ve got skillz in place for the moment when they actually meet a foreigner.

And then there are the rare students who soak up language like the proverbial sponge, who will always have a four-year old’s capacity for absorbing new vocabulary and grammatical structures.

There are, of course, many more types of language learners.

Which one are you?

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