How to Approach the Teaching of Beginner Students?
We can notice two approaches of teachers to the possibility of teaching to beginner students: the first is the craze, the second is the fear.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Cassandre F. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Several factors are at the root of his two conflicting emotions such as the teacher's experience, for example.
Indeed, an experienced teacher will no doubt look forward to introducing a new language to novices who are most motivated and interested in learning English. But if the opportunity to teach novices materializes, a young teacher still inexperienced will feel apprehension and fear in the face of this ambitious challenge. Fear of not knowing where to start his lessons, fear of failing to instill in his audience the motivation and passion necessary to return to each class with a smile on his face, so fear not to interest them or even to build a good rapport with the students.
These are undoubtedly an important factor of apprehension for a new beginner teacher. Beginning students are not all to the same degree. This term of « beginner students » actually includes several segments of students very well summarized in unit 19 p.1 which classifies them in the following categories: the absolute beginner, the beginner, the beginner, the young beginner without the Roman alphabet. So many categories can scare a young teacher who has not yet acquired the necessary experience to approach each category of students with serenity. It will require him to call on his professionalism as a teacher and use the right tools to consider the courses with foresight and calm.
What must be done for this?
First, appeal to all your psychological skills. We must be interested in our students. Ask yourself: Who are they? Children? Adults? Why do they come to learn English? Is it an obligation of a curriculum? A request from a company? A personal desire? What needs? What levels are they really in?
All these questions are to be asked during the first meeting with the beginner students. We can use a questionnaire to answer his questions for example. This study of the teacher will be the first step also in the construction of the link that will unite him and his students. Therefore, during the first class, it is important for the teacher to be comfortable, smiling, friendly, to speak clearly and to have a good atmosphere in the classroom, between himself and the students, and students between them.
Then, it is necessary for beginners to always be structured in their courses and activities for a better understanding. The teacher must be aware of the needs of his students. To do this, for example, it may take a few minutes at the end of the week to discuss with the class, ask them if they find the lessons too complicated or not if the activities or topics are interesting ... He can also do it using a questionnaire. Thanks to this, the teacher can better apprehend the continuation of his courses, organize with the class to establish realistic goals in a given time ...
Teaching beginners also requires a good mastery of his course from the teacher who must be well aware of the level of his students to adapt his courses with simple instructions, control his language and have the pace of the course at the student level. For this, we can use several media to facilitate the understanding of beginner students and make the lessons enjoyable and fun: visual aids (pictures, photos, ...), audio, write on the board, draw ... The teacher must repeat and also use group or peer work and ask many questions to get students used to listening, talking, and interacting with each other.
Some problems can sometimes occur but that we can meet in all classes: boredom, a disruptive, a provocateur, a lack of confidence, ...
It is up to the teacher to correct the situation if he can because sometimes there are factors that he can not control. But he must appeal to his authority when needed, he must encourage and motivate his students so that they always want to learn, participate in class and speak in English and not use their mother tongue. The teacher must help students in learning the language by making them speak, write, interact, correcting them when they need to, depending on the course, giving them homework to continue practicing on their side ...
The beginner teacher may have some apprehension to attend to new students for the first time, but whether you are new or experienced, the role of a teacher is to fuel the desire to learn the new language, English, to those beginner students who may be from different backgrounds and ages. By his rigor, his organization, his courses, his presence, and his encouragement, the teacher must become the founding craftsman of the good relationship between these beginners students and English.
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