How to Start an ESL Program for Adults?

Are you proficient in English and love interacting with foreign adults? Do you wish to expand your reach and formalize your proficiency in English by way of teaching? Your time has come!
There are adults all over the world who want to learn English to associate with the global trends fully and level up their education or career. Did you know that various teaching opportunities for English adult learners have been dominating the market for years now? And it is predicted to reach the pinnacle in the years to come.
If you’re challenged with the idea of delving into the ins and outs of the English language and ready to live anywhere in the world or simply remain at your post, then follow the trail in this article to learn how to get started with an ESL program for adults.
Do you want to know how to build up an ESL program for adults? Many people think that having an English degree is indispensable to be able to teach English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) while others believe that they need to have a teaching certificate or credential.
No doubt, these qualifications will give you an edge, but they aren’t necessarily required. So, can you start teaching English to other language speakers even if you don’t have the related credentials? Yes! It is certainly possible specifically for native English speakers.
You love the idea of teaching English. But you might be wondering, “How should I start?” First thing – if you live in a non-English speaking country, you must find out how to start teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL). If you’re in an English-speaking country, the first step is to identify the place where you can teach English as a Second Language (ESL).
If we’re talking about a little bit more advanced and you’re keener on teaching English as a formal profession, then it’s better if you have the relevant background or qualifications. It could mean a bachelor’s or master’s degree in English, years of teaching experience, a TEFL certificate (for teaching in a non-English-speaking country), and a CELTA or TESOL certificate. It will vary based on where you want to teach.
In most cases, colleges and universities offer the highest pay for teaching ESL. They would only require you to have a master’s degree related to English. The most popular English degree is the Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MATESOL).
It’s a different case if you want to teach in public schools. You are only required to have any bachelor’s degree even if it’s other than English, and a teaching credential. Fair enough!
But you’re thinking, “I want to teach in private language schools.” It’s going to be a bit more stringent in this case. Because private language schools normally require a TESOL Certificate or a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). But the good thing is – they don’t always require would-be teachers to have a college degree if they have one of these certificates and qualify for other school-specific requirements.
What if your interest doesn’t fall in any of the categories mentioned? Don’t sigh. There’s another way – become a private ESL tutor. You’re lucky if you wish to teach privately. Why? It’s because there are no requirements to which you must comply.
So, do you know some people who can engage your expertise to teach English? Grab the opportunity as there are no specific qualifications required. Since you are teaching English privately, you can always arrange directly with your students about your pay. Often, being a native English speaker alone can open many doors for you to teach or start an ESL program.
Do you want to learn the basics for starting an ESL program for adults? Let’s now go through the core procedures you need to fulfill.

Earn a Certificate on Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)

You won’t regret it! And you’ll need it in teaching and developing ESL program for adults. The TEFL Certificate will prepare you on how to tailor a lesson based on your adult learners’ needs. You would also be able to figure out how to teach English to adult beginners or advanced, at your preference.
Why is it important to have this training? Because in terms of teaching ESL to adults, TEFL has a unique style of learning as compared to teaching ESL to children. It even has unique goals and different needs as ESL learners.

Develop a plan for your program

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You may ask, “Why do I need to prepare a plan if I can just teach English to adults straight away?” Well, in every business, it is essential to create a sharp plan because it’s going to be the roadmap you’ll need to follow on your pathway to success.
Just keep to its basics. There are a few core topics you must consider so that you can easily achieve your goals. What are these core topics then? List down the following and work on it with a lot of focus:

  • Who is your target market?
  • How will you reach out to your target market?
  • What are your initial costs?
  • When will be your break-even period?

Set up the relevant legal documentation

  • Register for your tax identification number
  • Open a bank account for your ESL program
  • Create an accounting spreadsheet for your cash flow statements
  • Apply for the necessary permits and licenses
  • Secure insurance to protect your business if you are going to formalize your ESL program into an entity
  • Build a credible and updated website

Pick a Location 

What is the one country where you’ve been longing to live and work since you were young? You can start your search there. But you can also explore in your home country and serve the people who are looking to perfect their English communication skills before migrating to a foreign land or the expats who want to take up ESL lessons.
With so many countries and such a gigantic world population looking for qualified instructors to address the need and start teaching ESL to adults, you’ll surely find a great spot and deliver value in your dream place.
Do all countries offer ample and attractive opportunities? It isn’t always the case. Some have better packages for ESL teachers than in other countries. That is part of the information you need to thoroughly research prior to making your decision.
But ultimately, it shouldn’t always be about financial gains. Of course, it’s a given to sustain your ESL program, but it’s not going to be your sole focus, especially if you’re still in the building-your-image kind of stage. You’re a great English speaker and teacher. Yes, that’s a super plus!
But it would also be ideal if you can learn other languages in your target location. It’s going to be a perfect chance for you to be in a specific climate or take advantage of that travel opportunity around you. All these will make fantastic roles in deciding for your location.

Get the right program

Where can you find the right program? It varies extensively. Like for instance, teaching in a university or an institution with night classes, finding the right program and the right teaching job can have different pacing and arrangements.
So, what approach should you take? Be on the lookout for what’s out there in the real world. Refer to a couple of programs and make comparisons of each in terms of the requisites, students’ preference, schedules, legalities, remuneration, etc.
Be sure to perform due diligence as you try out the programs you’ve initially picked. How does this work? You can make connections among the teaching alumni or check the reviews about the programs before putting it into practice.
You’ll never be lost performing this step. It will put you on the right track, and bingo! – You know you’ve made the right decision! Get contracts in place, and don’t hesitate to go for it all when you’ve nailed that dream ESL program for adults!

Craft the appropriate lessons

When do I plan and write my lessons? This is going to be your next question. It will be as soon as you have established the place or institution, you’ll be teaching in. Be sure to craft lessons that are not only realistic but also interactive. Put some twists if you need to. Make it fun and exciting.
You see, word-of-mouth is such an awesome kind of marketing strategy. Why is this mentioned? It’s because adult English learners will always look for varieties and engagements. So, if you can design your lessons with interesting variations, chances are you’ll get more referrals from the contacts of your students.
You’ll know for sure that you started right. Is it important to customize your lessons based on the needs of your adult students? Precisely! You need to have a sense of flexibility in preparing for your lessons. You wouldn’t want your students to always end up with the feeling of being confined in such a rigid lesson plan. You will lose the attention span of your students. What a frustration!
The one best way to maximize learning and immersion in teaching ESL to adults is to stuff as much vigor as possible in your lessons.

Promote your ESL Program

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Never miss this part. The heart of every business is – promotion! After you have gathered the core procedures in place, it’s time to market your ESL program to your target market. Try to promote it in your prospects’ native languages, if possible. You’ll gain more traction in doing so.
What mode of promotion should you use? All forms of advertising would be necessary to reach out to a vast audience. It can be in print such as brochures, fliers, magazines, or posters. It can also be through broadcast or social media, which ranks number one in terms of information dissemination.
Try to approach the groups of immigrants in your home country and connect with organizations that serve these communities, like associations, social clubs, and religious foundations.

Establish a service contract

You may think that teaching ESL to adults is just a face-to-face instruction, so why do you need to come up with a service contract? This is crucial to avoid misunderstanding and confusion. Verbal agreement must be sealed through a binding contract. It will protect you and your students from any untoward or unnecessary arguments later.
Besides, having a black and white agreement before starting your ESL program can make the process for teaching and learning methods smooth because things will fall in their proper places as planned.
One more thing – you can also set out the payment terms and conditions, the level of expectations in terms of the delivery of teaching methods, and the intellectual property rights. Therefore, a contract is the building block of a business as it can clarify expectations and reduce the risk of legal disputes.

Represent your origin very well

If you’re teaching abroad, what are the appropriate things you need to pack? When all is well-positioned, you’re now good to go! So, pack everything right. Consider bringing native things that can represent your heritage and linguistic background. Do this, and you’ll never run out of practical stories to share with your students!
But wait, there’s more! Representation is not limited to your packed bags alone. Prepare as many varied lessons as you can. Plus, you also need to let your students know that you are keen to learn from them, too. Your triumphs and trials while teaching ESL to your adult students are all dependent on this approach.

Know where to get the right resources

Any idea what are the resources that can help you start teaching English to adults? In this generation, people are so blessed with information overload. You look to your right and left; you’ll be dazzled with a lot of available information on diverse topics. So it’s impossible to miss useful references for teaching or developing ESL programs.
There are a lot of helpful resources you can find on the internet. Check these 10 free resources on the internet for ESL teachers to help you learn how to start an ESL program for adults. And by the way, don’t underestimate the importance of actual collaboration and learning with current and past ESL teachers, too.

Make your ESL program inspiring for adult learners.

Each adult learner has a different learning curve. Each has its want and need when it comes to studying. That includes learning ESL!
Do you know what the one good motivation of English adult learners is? It’s the focus! You’ll enjoy having students in your class who are focused and ready to work together to achieve that end goal of learning and improving their English.
Why are there people who are so keen to learn ESL?
It could be because they need to use the language for their chosen career or possibly to apply for a specific degree program where English is the medium of instruction. It can also be for an impending trip, perhaps.
What are the reasonable expectations of English adult learners from an ESL program? Good question! Be prepared because students will expect a lot from your program. And because of that expectation, they may also demand a lot from themselves as a result.
Some typical expectations students might have may apply for certain types of lessons. For instance, adult beginners might expect that basic conversation will happen much earlier than expected, while advanced learners will expect lessons that talk about English to pass a GED, or English for official functions, or maybe English for business set up purpose.
How can you make your lessons more effective? Remember, even if adult students can have longer focus, their time is also of the essence. Some of them might be managing a business, while some have full-time jobs, and some are full-fledged moms at home.
In this case, their patience and attention span may be affected if your ESL program appears to be long-winded and repetitive. It’s going to be a sad waste of their time! So, follow these tips to make sure that your lessons are not just effective but also efficient:

  1. Include activities in your lessons. Avoid the monotony of facing the board and then facing your students and back to facing the board again to facing your students another time. ESL lessons are not just about pen and paper or talk and memorize.
  2. Always ensure that your students are motivated to engage. Don’t allow them to keep silent and just speculate about the important points they are learning from your program. Encourage them to speak, ask questions, and suggest.
  3. Monitor the progress of your adult students regularly. Conduct more practical applications from your lessons so that you can observe the kind of learning pace each of your students’ manifests.
  4. Once you’ve established any progress from your students, let them feel it for themselves and boost their self-confidence. On the other hand, remind them constantly that errors are part of learning, and they can commit them at some point amid learning.

Are all these enough to make your lessons effective? Well, those are just the other side of the coin. It is also important that you have the right training. Will students expect you to have TEFL certification? Most likely!
That’s why it’s best that you have a TEFL certificate. And if you do, let them know that you have it. Anyway, obtaining a TEFL certification isn’t difficult. These top 15 TEFL certificate programs online for 2019 would be very helpful on your journey to starting the ESL program for adults.
Imagine the great impact it could bring to your students the moment they had completed your ESL program? There are many good results it can create in them. Imagine if your teaching was the only reason they were able to land an ideal job or be accepted in a degree program? What a fulfillment on your part!
One more thing – how do you think you can fully integrate with your students while teaching English? This requires a little extra effort on your part. Find out about their goals. It’s a good idea to ask your students what they expect from your class. Let them open up to you so you can understand the challenges they may face, such as time restrictions and additional responsibilities beyond their ESL student life.
The bottom line is – building a good relationship with your adult learners is the foundation to sustain your ESL program. Ready to start? You’re all equipped now – for sure!

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