How To Incorporate Students’ Interests

By Sang Nguyen

Incorporating students’ interests is always my primary approach to get to know more about my mentees and how I can help them to feel enjoyable in their journey to learn English. Therefore, first off, I often spend 15% of our time per lesson to ask how they feel now, how their past week was, what they usually did in free time and what activity makes them sense joyful the most. By this, I can socialize with them to learn about their thoughts’ process and their hobbies. Then I can understand them better in order to adjust recent lesson plans to make learning interesting and relevant.

That being said, through a decade of working experience with youth, I realized that it always takes much time to explore their strengths and weaknesses to match up their learning style to what I planned our lessons in amusing ways.


In order that, both parents and I have to understand that we need CALM and PATIENCE to engage and guide them effectively throughout the journey of learning English. This is also due to the fact that we cannot force anyone to learn something that they do not feel excited to absorb it or they do not find interesting reasons to learn new things. So, I always have to listen to them and their parents simultaneously instead of listening to their parents merely with some common complaints such as “my child is so naughty, she/he is so lazy to study, she is so slow to learn something new”, so on and so forth. 

Afterwards, I can recognize what make my mentees enjoy the moment they learn with me. Hence, I often give them as much freedom space as possible [under my control with some certain strict regulations] to trigger their curiosity about language, a foreign language and let them try a number of different challenges to study English, engage fun English activities and enhance their critical thinking skills simultaneously.

For example, if they like drawing, I would ask them to write a story about Friendship with lively illustration through pictures drawn by themselves instead of writing a long “dry” English essay. By this way, you think the mentee will feel more pleasant to study English even though they used to think this foreign language is harsh, don’t you?!