I am from India. I have been assigned to teach English for an academic outreach program for high school students in rural areas, mostly children of illiterate farmers. We have a 40 minutes session per week with 4 months to go. They have had English as a subject for almost 3 years but from the gathered information, their vocabulary seems to be poor and so is their grammar. Our aim is to equip them with essential tools that would enable them to understand the material and also enable them to translate their ideas to English. My co-instructor has the opinion of stressing on their school curriculum. We have a rough plan:
Teach useful and frequently used words.
Teach mnemonic tools to memorize the vocabulary.
Ask students to speak on a subject and correct grammar afterwards.
The 3rd point received a lot of criticism taking into account of their shyness but I personally feel it a good exercise. There is also a general opinion that mnemonic tools would render any help in writing essay on a random topic. What would be an effective way to teach English language to students who have a little exposure to the language? Considering the limited time, how can we teach them to express their ideas in English?
I was only able to contribute for roughly 2 months since I had to move to another country. The group of students were a broad mix with varying levels of proficiency. Some were at an intermediate level whereas some were absolute beginners. I cannot say for sure that the sessions were a success but I could feel honest enthusiasm on all of their faces, increasing session by session. Funny thing, help came from all over the IIT; students volunteering, researchers giving small talks, even the dean of sciences asking his PA to assist us whenever needed :). I thank all of you for your contribution to our humble effort.