8 Tips for Teaching English to Beginners

Teaching English to BeginnersTeaching English to Beginners may seem like a challenge at the start, but these tips can help. You may find (like me) that this is your favourite level to work with!

1) Keep it Simple

Pay careful attention to your language in class. Use simple sentence structure, and avoid long explanations.  Try to use materials that are visually uncluttered, too. This will help learners focus on the key information.

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2) Repeat/Recycle

Provide lots of opportunities for practicing the language that has been presented in class. Recycle previous vocabulary into lessons on new topics. Short, but frequent, exposure will help make new language ‘stick’.

3) Variety

It’s important to repeat information, but make sure to vary the activities while you do. Changing the activity types will keep students engaged and prevent boredom.

4) Have a Consistent Routine

When students know what to expect in a lesson, they don’t have to waste their mental energy trying to figure where things are going. Building consistent routines into your teaching will enable learners to focus more effectively on their language learning.

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5) Show, Don’t Tell

Too much explanation of grammar points will be lost on your learners. Use situations and visuals to help make contexts clear.

6) Provide Visual Support

Create points of reference in your classroom: a vocabulary wall, charts of important grammar  points, a list of classroom management expressions. Students can refer to these as needed during class without disrupting the flow of the lesson.

7) Make it Meaningful

Find out about your students lives. At the start of the course, have students create a picture about their lives and routines. Make one yourself about your own life, and share it with the students. It doesn’t have to be pretty (stick figures can get the meaning across just fine). Use the timelines as a way to develop lessons that are relevant to your students’ needs.

8) Create a Supportive Class Atmosphere

Remember that being unable to communicate effectively can make many adults feel very vulnerable. Encourage your students’ efforts and recognize their progress. Let them know that it’s okay to make mistakes. Sometimes having students teach you a few words or phrases in their languages can help.

Watch the video below to learn how ‘scaffolding’ works with Beginner ESL students!

 

Related Reading:

Authentic Material in Beginner ESL Classes

Teaching Beginners: Simplify the Language of Instruction

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