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Teaching English to Beginners


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Some thoughts, top tips and practical ideas for teaching English to beginners.

Published in: Education, Technology

Teaching English to Beginners

  1. 1. Teaching Beginners Free voiced over presentation and ‘Grammar for language teachers’ course available at Jo Gakonga
  2. 2. Some thoughts
  3. 3. Starting from zero got nothin’ to lose… Tracey Chapman ..but first words are the hardest to remember
  4. 4. Ls will learn quickly may be very motivated… But may have had bad experiences before..
  5. 5. It can be very frustrating… Be empathetic…
  6. 6. They may have a low sense of esteem in language learning
  7. 7. Build their confidence
  8. 8. They may have very different expectations of a class
  9. 9. Using L1 for translation and explanation is more efficient Using L2 only may be motivating…
  10. 10. Literate in Roman script?
  11. 11. Feeling infantalised ..depressing and discouraging.
  12. 12. Don’t talk down to them. Try to incorporate relevant vocabulary and themes.
  13. 13. You have been going to your class for about 3-4 weeks. Would you prefer to have learnt: a) a small amount of language thoroughly b) a larger amount of language, not so precisely.
  14. 14. Remember language is organic… .and the curriculum is cyclical…
  15. 15. Top Tips
  16. 16. ‘It all seems like a meaningless torrent.’ Keep your language simple.
  17. 17. Instructions Demonstrate rather than explain. Explanations Check meaning with concept questions
  18. 18. Visuals
  19. 19. Get good at drawing!
  20. 20. Beginners get tired quickly short activities and changes of pace
  21. 21. I add loads of gesturing, face expressions, acting out, smiling, speedchanging, intonation. You, teacher, must enjoy classes. Add energy!
  22. 22. I add loads of gesturing, face expressions, acting out, smiling, speedchanging, intonation. You, teacher, must enjoy classes. Gesture/ mime/intonation
  23. 23. What to teach
  24. 24. As a total beginner in a language, what do you think you would like to learn first?
  25. 25. Colours,number etc are tempting because they are finite, but they’re not that helpful
  26. 26. Give to the language they will need first..
  27. 27. Greetings
  28. 28. Cover the walls with useful phrases… How do you say ---? What does --- mean? I don’t understand. Can I --- please?
  29. 29. Personalised language
  30. 30. I’ve got…
  31. 31. Ask them what they want to say in L1
  32. 32. A silent phase? Total Physical R esponse
  33. 33. Functional language shopping, in a café
  34. 34. A: Hello, what would you like? B: I’ll have a black coffee, please. A: Anything to eat? B: Do you have any cake? A: Yes, we’ve got some nice chocolate cake. B: Great. I’ll have a piece of that. Thanks
  35. 35. Drilling May not be very fashionable but really useful at low levels
  36. 36. Drilling Choral drilling In pairs, in groups, individual Mumble drilling Chanting (to music)
  37. 37. Grammar as chunks of language Did you ----? Would you like…. ? I don’t want… There’s a…
  38. 38. High frequency High surrender value
  39. 39. Cognates are helpful Exploit this, but beware of false friends
  40. 40. Recycling Flashcards – a vocab box
  41. 41. cards on make can
  42. 42. Situational PPP
  43. 43. I want you Fiona! From: Streamlines Departures By Bernard Hartley & Peter Viney Unit 30 mZ8
  44. 44. Listening
  45. 45.
  46. 46. Picture stories for reading and speaking
  47. 47. A country woman goes to the city for the first time. She sees buses, cars and tall buildings. She goes into a building an looks around. She sees an old, old man standing next to some doors. He presses a button and the doors open. He goes inside and the lights over the doors change – 1-2-3-4-5 and back again 5-4-3-2-1. The doors open and a young, handsome man walks out. The country woman said ‘That’s fantastic – tomorrow, I’m going to bring my husband!’.
  48. 48. Practise, practise, practise….. ……and then revise it all.
  49. 49. Thank you! Jo Gakonga