Teaching Beginner StudentsWhen teaching beginners, there are a few very important points to consider achieving the best results.
students that are beginners in the English language usually suffer from nerves and a lack of confidence, it is important not to let the students feel so overwhelmed that they lose all interest in learning a foreign language. But on the up side beginner learners are usually the most enthusiastic and faster learning of all English students.
Especially in the first few lessons, it is important to make the lessons fun and motivating as to create confidence. Using lots of visual aids can promote discussion and spark interest. Finding out what the student?s interests are can be very helpful. Thus when bringing pictures, books and videos to a lesson, you can choose
them around what the students want to watch and read. This could also make the students learn slightly quicker and easier.
For listening materials such as a cassette player, use only simple slow sentences for the beginner student as too much information in this department might let the students know how much they don?t know and make them lose confidence and the enthusiasm to learn.
Corrections made in the beginner lesson need to be approached carefully. You, as a teacher, don?t want to knock newly built confidence, but learning the English language wrong initially can cause major problems in the long term. Rather than make corrections while the student is speaking, make a note of it to address later on in the lesson. As the teacher, it is your job to not embarrass students. You are there to teach them the English language and to make them confident within it.
Another way to approach corrections is to put the students into pair work and allow them to make the corrections themselves. Pairing weaker with stronger students can accomplish this, but make sure that the corrections are being made constructively and the stronger student is not over-powering the weaker student.
Make sure that you follow the sequence of allowing the student to self-correct first, then if they are still battling, ask another student to help, and as a last resort, the teacher can correct the mistake.
When setting up activities be sure to be well prepared. Always have an activity fully thought out before you bring it into the classroom. For beginner students it could be very detrimental to their learning if the teacher is confused. Pace the lesson very carefully as not to rush and over-load the new students. Choose your material for each lesson to the level or below the level of the students. This could be encouraging when the students can understand it. Keep your lesson balanced, involving reading, speaking, listening and writing equally.
Games are always a good idea with beginner students as it is fun and even though they may be learning in the process, it isn?t threatening and it doesn?t feel as though they are studying. When choosing games for your students, make a point to be very imaginative, creating new games or adjusting known games to suit the type of students you may have.
When you are writing on the board, take special care. It is important to have your writing clear and readable. The writing should be big enough to see from the back of the class. Before you start, make sure that the board is clean and that you have plenty of chalk. The blackboard can be useful for many things, so feel free to use it for that. It is good for the OHP and for sticking pictures on. It is also very useful for corrections or games.
In a lot of schools, this may be the only piece of teaching equipment you have to teach your beginners, so use it well.
In conclusion, teaching beginner students might take different skills than teaching students that already know a small amount of English. But it is a delicate part of teaching that can be very rewarding if done correctly.