First class- mixed abilities

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First class- mixed abilities

Unread postby ballerina » 19 Sep 2006, 15:27

I'm writing to ask for your oh-so-valuable help!
I am supposed to teach a class of adults of mixed abilities. Some of them are complete beginners; some of them are already elementary, can speak and read English a little bit.
My first class isn't supposed to be based on the textbook: I am to prepare some activities to check how many of my students actually know anything ;)
This is a General English/ Business English Course.
Now I'm really in trouble. I know many icebreakers, warmers etc. but I don't know almost any which I could use for total/false beginners class. I don't want my group to be either bored or frightened to death :)
I've prepared some information gap activities connected with introducing oneself, but that won't take 60 minutes.
Have you got any ideas? Share them with me, please! I'll be very grateful.

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Unread postby newbie » 07 Nov 2006, 06:13

I'm in a similar situation and I was really hoping to find some great replies to this post. I'm sorry no one has had a response yet. I'm hoping that in having to tough it out, you might have something to tell me that you wish someone could have told you. It seems there is little help for the total beginner level. I'm trying to figure out how to lay a foundation to work from with no book to follow, and no comprehension of my student's language. My main student (the only one I'm supposed to have) is a complete beginner, and the slough of neighbors and family that end up with us have varying levels. Some are quite good.

Any suggestions for me?

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New teachers

Unread postby Susan » 07 Nov 2006, 19:14

Hi there,

I don't know if you have seen the forum Tefl Helpdesk (on this website).

This is a place where anybody can ask questions and get expert advice.

It's a shame you received no answers to your questions; you will definitely get an answer in the forum I mentioned

good luck


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Unread postby chrisw » 21 Nov 2006, 08:01

Teaching beginners is a lot of fun. Some points for making a lesson work are as follows.

1. Watch TTT. no extra language whatsoever should show up in your lesson besides the target language

2. The lesson should follow an ESA structure but include a lot of mini activations.

3. Drill, Drill Drill Drill Drill and then Drill some more.

4. Teach less, but really have them practice it. They should leave the lesson being able to know down cold the info that you taught. Literally have them practice it dozens of times

5. Always go toward some kind of real activation, regardless of how little it is. This means that the students have to be asking questions to the other students and then they answer them.

6. Use roleplay

7. Get tons of pictures and props.

8. Learn how to elicit and mine things to death.Use your body and get active in the classroom. If you are not jumping around a little bit then you are doing something wrong

9. Make your CCQs easier to answer.

10. Do a lot of chorals. Every new word should get a choral about 5 times

11. Always have them do meaningful drills. This means that they have to choose what the right answer is.


13 plan your activation first and then work backwards. then you will know what language to present.

14. Control L1 but dont be too surprised when you hear it.

15. They should all have dictionaries.

16. Error correct them more for accuracy and less for fluency. Dont just let errors slide. The only way for them to get better is to correct them. This does not mean giving them the answer. Elicit it out of them!

17. You will need to teacher lead more than with higher levels, but WATCH OUT for it. They should still be using the language on their own.

18. Avoid just doing exercises. Push them through training to use the language in an authentic discourse.

19. Have fun! Beginners are great and everyone should have a chance to teach them.
Chris Westergaard
The Language House

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