To all my colleague:
I am a college student and a part time ESL teacher. My students are older people whose age range from 40 to 60+. Many of them attend my class regularly once a week. All my students wants to learn English but many of them have been in ESL class for over two years. To the best of my knowledge, they all study in other schools prior coming to my course for many years and they all have accumalted over 500+ english vocabularies and they show an understanding of English grammar when it is on paper. (I tested them with basic grammar and vocabularies and was amazed by how well they did, I also tested their listening comprehensions and gave them oral examinations. They performed adequatly and even became bored of my lectures and asked me for more advance materials)
So, Why can't they speak English when they are with other people? Is there something wrong with my lessons?
Here is what I did. I began with the basic nouns, pronouns, simple verbs, simple adjectives, and tenses, then times, directions, locations, and harder vocabularies, speaking, writing. (I gave them an assignment that ask them Why do they want to learn English?) I thought I have succeeded in teaching these folks English but when one of my colleage went and talk to one of them, that person couldn't understand. I went and checked my entire class and found that all my students coludn't speak English in a normal setting. They could, however, solve problems I assigned them and answered simple questions which are related to the text.
I asked myself, what is going on?! Together with my colleagues, we engaged each of my students, one on one, in normal conversations. ALL of them uttered nonsense after "Hello! how are you, fine thank you."
After that incident, some students stop attending my class. Some students still attend my class but are no longer enthusiastic. One of the students told me that she will continue to come to my class because she needs to speak English but doubts that she will ever learn to speak English.
I plead for your help. How can I motivate my students? Why can't they speak English when they know 500+ vocabularies and basic grammar?
I want them to be able to speak and understand English, or at the very less make them believe they can learn to speak English again.