Teaching Beginners At the beginning of every course, it is
At the beginning of every course, it is essential to evaluate the learning levels of your students. To do this, written and audio tests should be conducted. The results of the test should indicate where to start in the learning process and lesson planning. Every student will be at a different level depending on their strengths (written, oral, listening) but the levels should be similar to some degree. Students may fall into more than one category. Some will have strength in writing while others in speaking or comprehending. According to the TEFL guidelines, there are five different stages for beginner learners: the absolute beginner, the false beginner, the adult beginner, the young beginner, and the beginner without Roman alphabet.
Absolute beginners have no English background; therefore, having some working knowledge of the students' native language would be helpful. Having a base in the first language will help students and teachers feel more comfortable and confident.
False beginners have been exposed to English but likely did not retain much. To have some working knowledge of the native language would be beneficial for the students and teacher. Teachers should communicate slowly and use known vocabulary to be effective and to avoid using students´ first language. False beginners should be easier to teach than absolute beginners since they have been introduced to English previously. Reviewing and repetition are very important at this stage.
Adult beginners are motivated to learn English at a faster pace. They have strong desires to accumulate as much English as possible. Young beginners pick up new language easier than adults but their attention span and attention to detail are not as strong as adult beginners. Using games and other activities along with structured reading and writing activities will help young learners succeed to retain more information.
Speaking the native language while teaching beginner learners without a Roman Language background would definitely be a plus for any learning level. The differences between Roman and non-Roman languages are extreme. Middle Eastern and Asian alphabets use entirely different alphabet characters and read in a different direction than Roman lanugages. Phonemics are hard to pick up especially for adult learners. When working with any stage learners, understanding, patience, cultural awareness and working at the right pace will all contribute to a students´ success at learning English or any language for that matter. Teachers should be patient and think in the students' shoes, feel what it's like to learn another language and the difficulties presented to students during all stages of learning. Teachers should be aware of students, if they comprehend the lesson plans and should slow down if necessary. An understanding between students and teachers should be established from day one. Building a trusting rapport between students and teachers as well the classroom as a whole will encourage students to ask questions and speak in front of the class. Having an understanding between students and teachers will create easier communication in the classroom allowing students and teachers to explore each others cultures. Holding a high regard and respect for student's culture will build mutual respect for the teacher's culture and background. Include the student's native cultural practices in lesson plans about American or English Cultures. Comparison and contrast assignments would help students understand cultural variances easier.
Working at the right pace for the majority of class will keep students alert, motivated, and interested in learning English. Evaluating students to determine the levels they are at, to determine what students comprehend, and determine areas that they need more practice in.
Using the information to determine what activities that students would benefit the most from. Also, utilizing visuals and audio materials that will aid students in comprehending and retaining information. To be successful in teaching beginners, patience, understanding, cultural awareness and working at the right pace are essential skills for teachers.
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