I'm new to teaching English. How do I get started?

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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I'm new to teaching English. How do I get started?

Unread postby Hayley » 14 Sep 2007, 16:15

i was a primary school teacher in the UK for ten years before moving to spain - i now teach english to english (children) but am about to start teaching english as a foreign language to a spanish lady.
i would really appreciate some help in getting started. my student says she speaks little or no english and i'm not sure where to begin.
many thanks

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How do I start teaching adults?

Unread postby Lucy » 17 Sep 2007, 13:20

Hi Hayley,

As a very basic idea, students of English language need to know about grammar, vocabulary and functions. Functions are set phrases used in different situations – e.g. the language of ordering food in a restaurant, the language of introducing oneself to strangers… Apart from grammar, vocabulary and functions, it is important that students acquire 4 skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Pronunciation is also important; some people consider it to be an extra aspect and others include it in speaking. You will need to cover these aspects in your lessons or for homework. Listening and speaking are best practised with the teacher; so you could set reading and writing tasks for homework. When planning class work and homework, aim for balance and variety and bear in mind what your student will be using English for. For example, you will need to spend more time in class speaking if your student will be travelling a lot to English-speaking countries.

In the first lesson, it’s a good idea to start out by checking your student’s level of English. Take along some exercises from the first unit of a beginner book and from the first unit of a book for post-beginners or elementary students. Do some of these exercises in class and ask your student some general questions, e.g. about hobbies, family, holidays. All of this will help you to see whether your student is a beginner or a false beginner. You could also ask your student to bring along any books she has used in the past and check how well she copes with the activities in that book.

When you have determined the level of your student, you’ll be able to choose a course book. When choosing the book, bear in mind what your student wants to use English for and in what type of situation she’ll use English. As you’re new to teaching EFL, I suggest you choose a book that has a comprehensive teacher’s guide. This will help you with a lot of the planning and preparation.

You could also read some books on teaching EFL. Suggestions are: Jeremy Harmer’s Practice of English Language Teaching; Jim Scrivener’s Learning Teaching; Michael Swan’s Practical English Usage.

Please write in again, if you would like more ideas.

Kind regards,

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