Firstly, when a teacher approaches he's/her students she needs to be prepared to 'adapt'.
Absolute beginner - no English at all
False beginner - some English, but not much language retention with very limited, simple structure
Adult beginner - motivated, choice was made by themselves, so eager to learn
Young beginner - quick learner but less motivated, choice not made and see no benefit to learning
Beginner with no Roman alphabet - start from scrach, more time required to develop basic literacy
e.g. read/write skills
Keep it simple, use a lot of visuals, repitition, pair/group work and encourage communication.
1. Some examples to approaching my beginner students would be as follows:
The need to use common sense, inveriably some form of special skills and psychology needs to be
implement at one stage or another.
It's my duty as their teacher, to be sensitive to my students. Treating each as 'individuals' and
to get to know their needs, before/during the lessons. To then adapt my lessons around them as well
as me. Students need to feel that they will be experiencing a 'relaxed and supportive' atmosphere
in my classroom, so praises and encouragement will abound as opposed to overcorrecting.
English is the language I'm teaching in the classroom, so "Only English will be spoken here!"
Planning and pacing my lessons with clear realistic aims and expectations.
For maximum visible exposure, I need to arrange my classroom in such a way I feel comfortable with.
Also, my students should be able to see me clearly too. Obviously, depending on my future teaching
circumstances, my still preferred seating arrangement is the 'horseshoe' arrangement.
The board work will be planned and clear.
Instructions need to be simple and clear. Eliciting lots of questions throughout my lessons and I
will be making good use of the drill/choral repition during the study stages. I need to creatively
plan each of my lessons to have the 'easy' feel to it, and not the difficult element. Then, I'll
relay my method to my students by giving clear demonstrations on each activity that'll follow.
Either pair/group work, individual, or as a whole class activity. (I intend starting with
teaching 'online' - one-on-one lessons. So lots of [individual/pair work] mixed activities.)
The weaker students, will be paired off with stronger ones. They might need extra lessons
Specially in the case of the real/false
beginners [I WON'T rush through], if all the planned material is not covered in the lesson, I
intend to save it for a next lesson or, use it for revision purposes.
Applies to all students - Repition for emphasis is good, so lots of revision and homework to follow.
For weaker students to catch up I might need to give them extra work.
2. One-to-one lessons: Individual students/parents might feel the need to have the teacher's undivided
attention here. That learning lessons will be geared more to their needs/wants as opposed to a group
environment. Obviously, there are advantages and drawbacks to this.
In most cases, individual students are highly motivated. The teacher/student relationship dynamic is
one of bonding and with time, respect is developed. Inveriably be less formal, and my sole focus is
to elicit, prompt, and where applicable, partner up in activities throughout the lesson.
There is only one language level. Once the needs of the student has been clearly defined, the lesson
planning is not an issue.
All good and well this may be, there is still a drawback.
As a teacher, finding a suitable activity to make sure my student is motivated throughout the lesson.
Classroom dynamics would be a credit AND tiredness replaced with team work and dood ol' English banter.
3. Teaching Business English - Increase for ESP = English for Specific Purposes
I intend teaching 'general English' with the influence of business content and skills to the business.
So, I would need to draw up a plan to use/adapt their 'type of language' information.
e.g. telephone conversations, greeting and introductions, boardroom presentations, etc.
Points to note:
Classes could vary from one-to-one lessons, business in-house group meetings or classroom style.
Client/learner will always vary e.g. from age, gender, language level/groups
I need to be prepared to deal with levels of motivation, tired, attendance, group dynamics, etc.
Basically, I need to know what my students need/want before course start up!
Then the balance between the client needs vs what the business wants. So for this I will need to get
a clear understanding to make the course more directly relevant to them. e.g. terminology, vocab.
to put it into proper sentence, etc.
I'll be testing the client to get the idea of their level first.
Next step is the 'Needs Analysis' - e.g. informal chat or formal written questionnaire.
I need to know precisely what they use English for in their jobs
Hear their feedback, discuss ways to the find/agree on common needs
I'll let them know that I will draw up my plan and bring it in at start of lesson-1 promising
them that individual attention requested from their feedback, will be on the cards.
Ideally I'd include client's details, past learning experience, ask clients to identify and
prioritise specific points they need/want from the course. e.g. a receptionist wants to polish up
on her fluency, the secretary wants to use formal wording, the sales rep has to influence the buyer, etc.
In lesson-1, I'll hand out the draft timetable for the next few lessons, [first 15-20 hours only]
Activities such as: questionnaires, fluency skills, language gaps,intonation/diagnostic activity
Mid-course I'll take each client out for a '5-min. chat', to elicit their reactions to the course
so far and what other needs, if any, I need to adapt on the remainder of the course.
Expected by the business: Give the mid-course and end-course evaluations, along withe the post-course
report write up.
4. Teaching children - Very rewarding for any teacher. "What you see is what you get."
Always use English. Speech must be slow and simple.
A teacher can easily adapt the lessons to motivate and make them fun for her students. Also change
the classroom dynamics and lots of activity games.
Short attention span, always wanting to please the teacher, crave attention, works well on reward
points basis, not afraid to make language mistakes and infamous at quickly picking up language through
drills/repititions, rhyms, gestures, mimes, teacher making a clown of herself, etc
Simply by using 'creativity', a teacher can 'mold' the young learner to do what the rest of the class
is doing, but be aware of any problems in or out of school.
Be consistant and fair.
5. Monolingual class - the common language is carried by the students, so as a teacher, I can cover
a common difficulty with the whole class, as opposed to multilingual class. Common language may
bring in their native language and I'm not be overly concerned if my students use the mother tongue
'a little' in group work/pair activities. Specially in the early stages on language learning. It
can save time if they are relaying the instructions in the activity.
Multilingual class - the common language is carried by the teacher. However, cultural diversities
are knowledge enriching to any class. One-on-one attention may be needed if a student runs into
some language difficulty, whereas the rest of the class has to wait for the lesson to resume.