English as a Second Language

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COVID-19 UpdateWe are open to serve you online and in person, following COVID-19 health and safety requirements, such as mask wearing, physical distancing, and frequent sanitizing. Inquire about interactive online tutoring for a discounted rate with flexible scheduling. ELL students in grades PreK-6 can also get multiple subjects tutoring and support for your learning pod or microschool.

Serving: Children to adults, including students, professionals, those seeking U.S. Citizenship, and anyone who wants to master English in everyday life.   

Services: Personalized tutoring one-on-one, tutoring in dyads (pairs of two peers in the same grade or same ESL skill level), and tutoring in small groups up to six students. Small groups may form ongoing ESL learning pods for children, or you can register for small group ESL classes for children or adults.

Skills the Student Learns:

  • Speaking: We may focus on vocabulary, pronunciation, accent reduction, grammar, and fluency. This includes any speech that is most relevant to the student in school, work, and/or personal life. The student may learn formal and informal speech, as well as social rules of English usage. Ways to practice speaking include dialogues, role plays, and conversations about the student's hobbies, interests, daily life, and material that we read. We may also go on "language walks," in which we walk around your house, neighborhood, park, stores or other places to label and talk about what we see. The tutor engages children in games and play activities that evoke speaking in English.

  • Listening: Listening comprehension may include conversational practice with the tutor and listening to varied media, such as recorded lectures from the student's classes, the student's favorite music and movies, and story times for children. The student will practice answering questions and following instructions about what he or she hears.


  • Reading: This includes fluency and comprehension of any texts that the student wants or needs to read for school, work, and/or personal life. Examples from past learners:

    • A young woman working as a server in a restaurant practiced reading her restaurant's menu.

    • An elementary school student practiced reading and discussing his favorite superheroes book series.

    • An immigrant from Iran worked on reading materials for U.S. Citizenship.

    • During a learner's tutoring sessions in a cafe, she would overhear songs that she loved, and in subsequent sessions, she practiced reading the printed lyrics of her favorite songs.

  • Writing: The student will learn to write materials for school, work, and/or personal life. We may focus on syntax and grammar, semantics, spelling, punctuation, essays, compositions, reports, speeches, resumes, emails, and any other materials the student wants and needs.

  • Study Skills: The student will learn steps to organize studying, practice English in between tutoring sessions, put motivation into action, monitor progress, and treat oneself with positive reinforcement! 

  • Test Preparation: Study for tests, which may include:

    • Tests for ESL college courses

    • Tests for other courses, such as history, biology, psychology, etc., focusing on reading comprehension

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 

    • The Naturalization tests to become a U.S. Citizen

      • Practice for the history and civics test

      • Practice for the English reading and writing test

  • Self-Confidence: The student may also increase self-confident behavior, such as initiating conversations in English more often, sustaining conversations fluently in English for a longer duration, speaking assertively in English, demonstrating social norms of English usage, using and understanding jokes and idioms in English, choosing more books to read in English, increasing positive self-talk about activities requiring fluency in English, and taking on more challenging activities involving English usage. 

​​​Approach and Methods:

  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL): The tutor flexibly customizes and integrates several approaches that are unique to teaching ESL, which may be adjusted based on the student's progress and needs. These approaches may include the following: 

    • Direct approach: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are sequenced, based on the order in which people learn their first language. Grammar rules are taught inductively, which means that the student first practices English with examples, and then the student learns general rules for grammar.

    • Audiolingual approach: Like the direct approach, listening, speaking, reading, and writing are sequenced, and the student learns grammar rules inductively. The student begins learning with dialogues and by imitating the tutor's model.

    • Reading approach: The focus is on reading comprehension and increasing the student's vocabulary based on words that are useful to each student.

    • Humanistic approach: The tutor focuses on respect for the student's feelings, creating a comfortable and enjoyable learning environment, and communication that is personally meaningful for each student.

    • Communicative approach: The focus is on facilitating communication and social aspects of language, using role plays for real-life situations. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are integrated from the beginning.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): Tutoring incorporates aspects of ABA, in which motivation and positive reinforcement are based on the student's preferences and choices, and all lessons are tailored to the student's unique needs.

    • Verbal Behavior: Tutoring focuses on communication that is reinforced by other people in your community. In the verbal behavior approach, the most important part of language is its function, which means your reasons for using language and the consequences that you get from it. The tutor focuses on the student's unique reasons for using English. The form of language refers to what it looks and sounds like, such as where you place the subject, verb, and object in your sentences and your pronunciation. The tutor may also focus on the student's form for mastery of grammar and pronunciation. A formal approach is combined with a functional approach to ensure that new skills are practical and relevant, leading to improvements in your life!

    • Phases of Learning: Your tutoring experience may progress from assessment to mastery and beyond. 

      • Assessment: The tutor identifies baseline skills, i.e., the student's current strengths and areas of need.

      • Goals: The tutor and student or student's parents collaborate to set unique goals with mastery criteria.

      • Mastery: Every session, the student practices English, taking a step closer to mastering goals. The tutor records the student's progress, which may include graphs. 

      • Generalization: The tutor guides the student toward generalization of newly mastered skills, i.e., practicing them across varied and new settings, people, instructions, and materials, as well as generating varied and new responses. The purpose is to make new skills practical, relevant and meaningful in each student's life. If you are seeking tutoring for your child, you and other family members or a caregiver may participate in sessions. The student may also generalize skills in outings to parks, stores, or other relevant locations. 

      • Maintenance: The tutor also checks maintenance, which is the persistence of skills over time. This is important, considering that new skills build upon each other. The true test of learning is the independent demonstration of generalization and maintenance! 

      • Independence: At Inspire, the ultimate goal is the student's independence in using English throughout life. Tutoring can help the student increase self-confidence and socialization with other English speakers, as well as develop new skills for practicing English on the student's own. The tutor's job is to work herself out of a job, as the student becomes more and more independent. 

Rates: Pricing varies based on in-person, online, 1:1 and small group options. Discounts are available! Inspire is a vendor with Visions in Education and Vista Oaks Charter School. Tutoring is FREE for children in these programs.

Locations: We encourage virtual ESL tutoring during the pandemic but also have in-person ESL tutoring options. 

  • ESL Tutoring in Person: the tutor travels to you at flexible and convenient locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, including your home, library (when study rooms for groups reopen), nearby park, or another regular meeting place. Enjoy full immersion experiences and outings with your tutor in the community when safe to do so. 

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  • ESL Tutoring Online: enjoy live video interaction with your tutor from the comfort of your own home where you have access to a computer with a webcam. You can also get remote editing. Children, teens, and adults alike can benefit from online tutoring, which exposes us to educational uses of the internet. 

  • ESL Classes in Person: Inspire Behavioral Learning is now hosting ESL classes for children and adults at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. Summer ESL classes are for reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Classes take place Monday through Friday, starting July 26th! As a bonus in this beautiful forest setting, students practice speaking English and building friendships with other ESL learners on hikes integrated into ESL lessons! Contact us to learn more about this exciting opportunity and to obtain registration information.

Ready to Get Started?

Tutoring for Minors

Tutoring for Adults


Email: info@inspirebehavior.com
Phone: 510-296-5519

Fax: 510-296-5780


M-F   8:00 AM-7:30 PM

Sat    9:00 AM-6:30 PM

Sun   Closed

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Alameda County

    • Albany​

    • Berkeley

    • Emeryville

    • Oakland

    • Alameda

    • San Leandro

    • Castro Valley

    • Pleasanton

    • Dublin

    • Fremont

    • ...and more!

  • Contra Costa County

    • Concord​

    • Pleasant Hill

    • Walnut Creek

    • Antioch

    • Brentwood

    • Orinda

    • Lafayette

    • Alamo

    • Danville

    • San Ramon

    • ...and more!

  • Santa Clara County

    • Milpitas

    • San Jose

    • Santa Clara

    • Sunnyvale

    • Mountain View

    • Los Altos

    • Palo Alto

  • Solano County

    • Vallejo

    • Benicia

    • Cordelia

    • Suisun

    • Fairfield

    • Vacaville


I N S P I R E Behavioral Learning