Have you tried to spend 30 minutes giving an English class for students who don’t understand you even a simple word you are saying? Giving English lessons to beginners is a very challenging task, which requires specific and exquisite teaching plans and strategies. ESL teachers ought to not only make students understand what they are talking about during the class, but also make learning English fun to integrate students into the class.
Here are some tips for ESL teachers to teach beginners:
1. Break down the courses and classify the vocabulary
Mastering a new language is not easy for a majority of people. When learning English, ESL teachers should help students establish a solid learning structure, which requires teachers to break down the information into digestible pieces so that beginners can master all the newly-learned knowledge.
It is a good way to classify vocabulary, which allows students to learn new words in different fields in an orderly manner, such as classification according to the types of objects, plants, animals, artifacts, etc. When practicing simple listening, introduce key vocabularies before playing the video which will help students to understand dialogue or text content generally.
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2. Repeat everything
Repeat, it sounds boring or even stupid. But for beginners, repetition helps them understand the lesson better. For example, when you meet with a student, you will say "Hello, how are you?" so that the student knows how to greet others next time; lead the students to read simple words repeatedly, and they will remember the correct pronunciation and understand them better. Furthermore, before starting a new course, repeat/review the knowledge taught in the previous lesson.
Even if your students cannot understand everything you say at first, they will figure out you are saying exactly over time (they have context.)
3. Use props
The text description is abstract for beginners, while visual images allow students to associate words with real objects. When you decide to teach students some new words about fruits in the next class, you can download relevant pictures from the Internet in advance, put them on your slides or print them out. Or if you want to make it real, just bring some fruits to the classroom and show them to your students when teaching the new word. At the same time, you can also print out some common sentences and paste them on the walls of the classroom, and encourage students to use them when necessary, such as "May I go to the bathroom?" "Could I use the computer in the classroom?" "Would you please help me to take my textbook?"
4. Use body language and play the mime
When there is a lack of pictures or no space to draw pictures, you can make good use of your body language and movements to express. For example, you are introducing the new word "dog" to students, trying to perform dog behavior and model the dogs’ bark. If you want a student to fetch you the textbook at a distance but he does not understand what you are saying, you can point to the textbook and do the action of “fetch”.
What's more, you can design some related classroom activities or games, such as "watch me guess the word" --- divide the students into groups of 2 people, one student performs the words on the whiteboard, and the other student guesses the word. It can be very effective in checking student’s vocabulary comprehension and bringing fun to the classroom at the same time.
Giving English lessons to beginners is full of challenges and you may feel physically and mentally exhausted after a class.
But don't be discouraged, keep patient and control your emotions. When your students can speak English by themselves, you will find that all the efforts are worthwhile.