TIPS for teaching beginners from
English File 1 Teacher's Book
/ Oxford University Press/
beginners requires special skills and psychology
very satisfying to teach because enthusiasm and motivation is usually
high (especially with real beginners), and progress rapid and
measurable. But some beginners may lack confidence after several
failed attempts to learn (false beginners) and may be easily
discouraged. Others may have dogmatic ideas about how they want to
learn. Older learners often think they can't learn as well as younger
ones, which isn't true.
aware of your students' needs
your teaching and materials accordingly. Do they have particular
concerns, e.g. Do they need functional language quickly? Is speaking
more important for them than writing?
clear realistic aims
know what you want students to learn in each lesson and tell them.
Beginners need a clear, step-by-step approach. Don't aim too high or
go too quickly, or all but the strongest will lose motivation. Keep
reminding students what they know, what they're going to learn, and
how well they're doing. Students need to feel they are moving forward.
Use a Progress chart to help students monitor their progress.
to suit your situation
two teaching situations are the same. Adapt, personalize, and localize
the course to suit your students. Spend more time on structures and
sounds which students have problems with because of L1 interference.
Use the names of locally-famous people and places as examples in
exercises to generate interest and humour.
that everyone can see the board and move to pair and group work easily.
Experiment - a semi-circle works well. Although some students feel
more secure sitting in the same place, encourage them to change
visual as possible
flashcards, blackboard drawings, and mime to put across meaning. Build
up your own library of magazine pictures (e.g. of famous people,
activities, etc.). Cover them with plastic for long life.
care with your board work
board's your main teaching aid. Think how best to use it. Beginners
want to copy everything so write clearly and make sure students copy
correctly. Tell them when and when not to write things down. Plan
grammar explanations beforehand and decide what you want to highlight.
Elicit and mark the stress on new words for students to copy. Use
blu-tack to stick pictures on the board. Colour-coding with pens or
are your students' main source of listening comprehension. Simplify
your English and try to use language they can understand. However,
don't speak unnaturally slowly. Always use contracted forms, and
insist students do the same. Don't talk too much! A good teacher gets
students to do most of the talking.
clear, simple instructions
sure students know exactly what they have to do. Demonstrate
activities with a good student first. Explain an activity clearly in
English then, if necessary, ask a student to tell the class in L1 to
check everyone understands. Teach students the instructions you use
most often in class, e.g. Ready? Stop. etc.
is very tiring for a beginner. Variety of activity, pace, and focus
can really help, so try to balance intensive and less demanding
activities. Give students a time limit for each activity. Stop an
activity at its height - don't wait for it to grind to a halt!