Teaching Tips Tuesday from Greenheart Travel

Teaching Tips Tuesday from Greenheart Travel

Heading to a Greenheart Travel Homestay Program in Spain, France, or South Korea? Here are 3 quick teaching tips to keep in mind as you begin tutoring!

1.Use Teacher Talk

What is teacher talk? Teacher talk is a technique that uses focused language when talking to your student. By using deliberate and precise language with your student, it helps to ensure that they are following along with you and are not lost in the “fluff.” What is meant by fluff? You can think of fluff like filler words that distract your student from the main point you are trying to make, here is an example:

Today we will be reviewing articles. Articles are helpful but I also think they can be confusing depending on the person. Do you remember articles? We talked about them yesterday during our lesson, anyway, please take your workbook, open it and turn to page 37.


We will be reviewing articles. Please open your book to page 37.

Adding “fluff” is something that every teacher does from time to time, and it can be difficult to realize you are doing it, especially if you are feeling nervous. Our recommendation is to be very intentional with the words you say. If you’re starting to get too wordy, pause and check in with yourself. Take a deep breath, re-center, and remember that less is more.

2.Ask Questions

During your tutoring sessions you want to give your student as much time to talk and practice English as possible. A great way to keep your student talking is by asking questions, questions, and more questions! Keep in mind the 5 W’s (and 1 H).







Asking questions not only helps get your student talking, it can help you, as the teacher, better understand their areas of strength and improvement, here is an example:

Teacher: What is your favorite color?

Student: I like purple.

Teacher: Why do you like purple?

Student: It is nice.

Teacher: Where do you see purple in this room?

Student: There.

Teacher: What is that?

By asking additional questions about the student’s favorite color, the teacher has now broadened the scope of the lesson. It not only just about colors, but the objects in the room, what their names are.

3.Consider Context and Keep it Relevant

Consider these two sentences:

Earlier today, I walked down Addison and got on the Brown Line heading towards Kimball to go to The Perfect Cup. I’m glad I took the L because it started pouring as soon as I got on!


Earlier today, I walked down the street and got on a train heading north to go to a café. I’m glad I took the train because it started raining really hard as soon as I got on!

While these sentences are technically conveying the same information, the first one uses a lot of Chicago specific words and phrases. Words that could easily confuse someone not from Chicago. When teaching we want to consider our student and the context they might have for certain words. A good rule of thumb for this is to keep it general and limit your use of region-specific language, colloquialisms, brand names, and idioms/figures of speech.


Instead of Kleenex, say facial tissue

Instead of Chapstick, say lip balm

Instead of feeling “under the weather”, say feeling sick/ill

Instead of “whatever floats your boat”, say “whatever makes you happy!”

Looking for more advice? Head to our teaching tips page!


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