First Day of Class Two Days Away

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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First Day of Class Two Days Away

Unread postby brianschild » 19 Sep 2012, 16:27

Dear Lucy,
On Friday I will begin a much anticipated open-ended adult English class in Antananarivo, Madagascar. The proficiency of English will be beginning level and the focus will be conversation. I am, for the most part, a first-time volunteer teacher without credentials and the students who are attending are volunteering to attend the class also.The students are security guards, gardeners and custodians employed by the American School and wish to better communicate with the community both on campus and at the various houses and villas they guard 24/7. I have been doing a lot of prep work to get ready, yet I need specific directions on exactly what to teach and how. I will have a classroom to use, internet access both at home and at school, an Oxford Picture Dictionary, (Spanish-English) and three McGraw Hill Publications (grammar, vocabulary and verbs) to get me started. Any suggestions will be extremely appreciated. My objective is for the session to be student driven and teach what they want to learn. Thank you for reading my request.

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Re: First Day of Class Two Days Away

Unread postby Lucy » 20 Sep 2012, 14:02


this sounds like a really exciting class; I hope you'll enjoy it!

Do you have an idea of whether they are complete beginners or whether they have some knowledge of English? My guess is that they know some English already from working in an English-speaking environment. This will affect your teaching approach in the firs t few lessons: you will probably cover the same material but will do it faster if they are not absolute beginners.

You could start by presenting or reviewing introductions such as: Hello, How do you do? “my name is “, “I’m a gardener”. This will allow you to see how much English they know and get to know a little about them. You could also review numbers and the alphabet, possibly by playing bingo and asking them to spell simple words. You could also present some basic useful language; the picture dictionary sounds like a useful tool for teaching vocabulary.

You don’t have much available in the way of materials; could you order a course book for beginners in English? This would save you a lot of work in the future; that way you won’t have to invent and create your own lesson plans; the syllabus will be provided for you by the book. You’ll need to do a lot of presentations and revision before you can get to your goal of conversation lessons: dialogue will be fairly limited at that level. Again, a coursebook will help you with that.

You could also look at these posts:

Teaching beginners

What to teach a student who's going to the USA?

Long one-on-one sessions early in the a.m.

Please write in again if you want more ideas.

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Re: First Day of Class Two Days Away

Unread postby brianschild » 20 Sep 2012, 14:59

Hi Lucy,
Thank you so much for the feedback, content suggestions and reply. I agree that the students will know more English than they imply, its just up to me to get it out of them. Thank you also for sending me to the posts to check out and the book recommenations. I will do as you suggest!
I started a well presented free Self Study online course today and recieved awesome ideas there as well. Especially things having to do with teaching methods(esa, ppp), lesson planning and pronounciation. Now I just have to turn that info into a practical concrete plan. I will write again as needed and I really appreciate your help. The students will benefit most of all. I thank you for them.
Sincerley, Brian Schild

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