Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Hainan Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Taizhou Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.
Teaching beginner students seems to be quite the daunting task for many teachers much more advanced than myself. I have a year and a half of Teaching English as a Foreign Language under my belt, the first year of which was spent in Honduras as a preschool teacher to native Spanish-speaking students. Because my English-teaching profession took off in this manner, I have a somewhat different outlook than many teaching professionals seem to have. Teaching beginner students is one of the most rewarding tasks I have ever had the pleasure of fulfilling. Beginner students, especially the young ones I had the blessing of teaching, are sponges; they are full of possibility, curiosity, and are incredibly nonverbally perceptive. Young beginner students have so many grand possibilities ahead of them. Especially for those students living in third-world poverty, the chance to learn English is the chance of a lifetime. Learning English can very literally change the outcome of their life and learning young typically negates any chance of an accent; the language can bring them up out of poverty and soaring into the global community. I’ve seen the possibilities; they are outstanding. This possibility is one of very many reasons that I love what I do. A student that grew up in a dirt-floor shack can wind up a veterinarian at any clinic of his choosing, or an astronaut on the moon, or a professor of arts. The possibilities that the English language and a bilingual life bring to children like these are unendingly beautiful. Young beginner students are curious beyond any creature I have yet to meet on this great earth that we call home. Once they get their foot in the door, they want to know more. They want to know everything. “¿Miss Coan, ¿Cómo se dice la puerta en inglés?” and “Miss Coan, ¿Cómo se dice la grama en inglés? Como se dice…” and so forth. They want to understand you. They want to practice their words. They take such joy in saying, “Miss Coan, puedo ir al bathroom, please?” They are not fearful of rejection at their imperfect attempt at the language if you give them no reason to be. Because they want these things, they catch them quickly. They learn at an alarmingly intelligent speed, and because they use it, they don’t lose it. Young beginner students perceive nonverbal cues in ways that more advanced students and adult students cannot. I once taught for three days without speaking, due to a hoarse throat. It made no difference in my classroom. None at all. These nonverbal cues are essential to EFL education and using them in the classroom will greatly increase retention. Speaking without nonverbal cues, in fact, can be detrimental to a young beginner student’s retention and understanding of the English language. Afterall, they still rely on nonverbal cues and visuals at understanding their native language, which they have by no means mastered at ages three and four. My experience teaching beginner EFL students in Honduras allowed me to grow in the profession in many ways, as well as see the beauty and joy in teaching beginner students. In the beginning, it was of course an intimidating charge, but it turned out to be an incredible learning experience for everyone involved. Beginning students have nowhere to go but up, so every step taken to improve their skills is noticeable and rewarding. I cannot describe the number of conversations I have had that involved my speaking English and my students speaking Spanish. They understood me. I understood them. We were all learning, all trying, all fighting for knowledge. The growth in the English language that my Honduran preschoolers experienced during that school year is one of the most incredible experiences that I have had the joy of being a part of. In short, teaching beginner students is nothing to fear. Mistakes will be made on all sides, but that’s no reason to sorrow. In my experience, teaching beginning students is nothing short of rewarding in every way.