Think about it. When you were a child and an adult asked you something and you could not help but stare at them. This was not because you were rude but because it was all unfamiliar with you.
This is what happens when ESL beginners are in a language classroom. They usually get nervous when the teacher starts talking in a language they don’t quite understand.
You surely don’t want to scare ESL beginners in your first class English lesson. You’ll also not feel good when someone starts saying stuff you can’t understand and expect you to reply in their language. It’s mortifying and nerve-wracking, at the least.
Below you’ll find tips to help you teach English to complete beginners. Read on and learn more.
Why Teaching Beginners is a Little More Challenging
Since complete beginners have no previous knowledge of English, sometimes they can be a tough nut to crack. When they come to you, they might not know their numbers, ABC’s, or even common phrases such as “hello!”
Some false beginners think that they know English due to their past exposure. While some of them have spent many hours studying the language, they cannot hold a decent conversation with a native speaker. As a teacher, you need to find out the language proficiency levels of your students and prepare teaching materials that work well for them.
Here are some tips to help you teach English to beginners successfully:
Keep it Simple
Remember you’re teaching English to a complete beginner and so keeping it simple is essential. Whether you’re instructing your students, praising them, or even giving feedback, avoid using too much English. Depending on their native language, they might even need to just learn letter sounds. Try to break down your sentences as much as you can and avoid using complicated words.
Using gestures is also important and can go a long in helping beginners to better understand what you’re teaching.
Make Sure They Understand
A major mistake that many newbie teachers make when teaching English to beginners is not checking for understanding from students. Remember some of your students in your first lesson may not be accustomed to raising their hands if they don’t understand.
Some decide to remain silent when they don’t understand because they see it as an embarrassment. When it comes to teaching beginners, it is important to understand the body language of your students so you can gauge whether they’ve understood or not. Also, you need to keep asking whether they’ve understood.
Make it Fun
English teaching for beginners does not have to be boring. Make sure you’re using lots of games for fun and to encourage students to practice what you’ve taught them. Also, be sure to know what your students are interested in and incorporate their interests in your lessons.
Also, avoid making students read from their textbooks and then fill in worksheets with zero images and lots of texts. The sky is not the limit when it comes to teaching English, so be sure to trawl the interwebs such as Homeworkmarket website for amazing ideas that will make your students remain engaged throughout the lesson.
Be More Practical
One of the best tips for teaching English to beginners is to show as opposed to telling. By using visual cues instead of spilling a lot of words, students are more likely to understand what you’re teaching.
For instance, instead of telling your students what past tense is, you can give them clear examples using simple drawings, short skits, pictures, and exaggerated gestures.
Allow Them Enough Time to Practice
You don’t expect your students to get ESL beginner lessons immediately. While providing lots of examples and checking for understanding are important, allowing them enough time to practice what you’ve taught them is important as well.
ESL beginner lessons require students to listen and repeat the language patterns several times after you. After that, they need to practice it with other students or individually. Be sure to let them know that it isn’t a crime to make a mistake when practicing so they won’t feel pressured to become perfect English speakers on the first try.
Consider Using Positive Reinforcement
You should never embarrass a student who gives a wrong answer. Try creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom by encouraging students who make a try.
For instance, if a student gets the word spelling right but can’t pronounce it properly, acknowledge they’ve tried before repeating the word with the correct pronunciation. This way, they’ll feel motivated and the rest of the students will get to learn too.