How to Tutor English to a Private Student in Taiwan

This is a method used to tutor English to private students who are at intermediate to high levels.It uses their favorite English TV series, sitcom or other Television program.


  1. Image titled Tutor English to a Private Student in Taiwan Step 1
    Choose a TV series. Let the student choose an English television series that they like or that is applicable to their line of work. A physical therapist, nurse or doctor can, for example,choose a series like Grey's Anatomy. They should then choose a 10 minute segment for every week.
  2. Image titled Tutor English to a Private Student in Taiwan Step 2
    Explain time management.Emphasize to the student that "contact" time should only count for less that 50% of their total learning time. They should spend at least one hour previewing, preparing, correcting and reviewing on their own for every contact hour.Because work and life can keep us busy, it's sometimes hard to find an hour during the week, suggest to split the time up in three or more 20-minute time slots. Much more effective and not so tiring.
  3. Image titled Tutor English to a Private Student in Taiwan Step 3
    Incorporate the 4 approaches. Listening, reading, speaking and writing.
    • Listening. - Preview and review, private time - 10 minutes.The student watches the video clip of the week(without subtitles). Of course there will be words and phrases they won't understand. That is fine! Identify the words and phrases that will be mastered in the week. They e-mail you the video clip or the name and timestamps. You should also watch it.
    • Reading - Preview, private time. - 10 minutes.Most series' subtitles can easily be downloaded at sites like Use the timestamps to find the exact words in the video clip. After watching the video clip, the student should read the subtitles aloud and note the words and sentences they don't understand. Print it out and use a pencil to circle all the new words and make notes.
    • Writing - Preparation , private time - 20+ minutes.Ask them to write about what happened in the video clip. Describe the people, their emotions, sequence of events etc. As if they're writing to somebody that hasn't seen the clip. They can also watch the clip again with subtitles.
    • Speaking - Preview, private time - 10 minutes.They should practice telling the story to themselves, a friend, a family member, a pet, anyone!
    • Speaking - Contact time - 20+ minutes. They tell you what happened in the clip, like a story! They can refer to their notes if necessary. Give them some feedback on their written work, they make notes to correct it later and them e-mail it to you during the week.
    • Reading - Contact time - 10+ minutes.They read aloud the corrected writing assignment of the previous week.Make sure they understand everything.
    • Listening and speaking - Contact time - 10+ minutes.Choose about 10 words of phrases from the clip that you think they might not understand. Test them verbally to see if they do. They should explain to you what it means, if they can not, explain it to them.
    • Speaking and reading - Contact time - 20+ minutes.The student asks questions about the new clip. If they don't have any specific questions you can go through the subtitles together and discuss. Also discuss the previous week's grammar and pronunciation corrections.
    • Writing - Correcting, private time 10 minutes.Send the student the corrected writing assignment to be re-written.
    • Listening - Review, private time - 10 minutes.The student watches the video clip again, but this time understanding more!(without subtitles)
    • Reading, speaking - Correcting, private time - 10 minutes.During the contact time you should record the whole session. Listen for any grammar or pronunciation mistakes at home and make a list of short sentences for the student to practice reading aloud. Send it to them via e-mail.
  4. Image titled Tutor English to a Private Student in Taiwan Step 4
    Conclusion - Total time: Listening 30 + Reading 40 + Speaking 50 + Writing 30 = 150 minutes.


  • Remember to give positive feedback to your student. Their heart is just as important as their mind.
  • You can adjust the method to suit your student's needs.

Article Info

Categories: Teacher Resources