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  1. #1
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    Teaching begginer level adults

    Starting summer school next week and due to some almighty balls up by admin none of the expat teachers will be teaching children. For the last 9 days of my contract I have to teach 8 new music teachers. My boss said their English was great, they're actual trainer laughed at this and said they are close to total beginners and slightly lower than our pre preschoolers.

    I've never taught adults with this level of English and am a little lost for where to start. I've been asked to focus on speaking skills. Actually I haven't taught adults for 9 years, so I'm well out of practice on that front.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandaloopy View Post
    Starting summer school next week and due to some almighty balls up by admin none of the expat teachers will be teaching children. For the last 9 days of my contract I have to teach 8 new music teachers. My boss said their English was great, they're actual trainer laughed at this and said they are close to total beginners and slightly lower than our pre preschoolers.

    I've never taught adults with this level of English and am a little lost for where to start. I've been asked to focus on speaking skills. Actually I haven't taught adults for 9 years, so I'm well out of practice on that front.
    Go and have a chat with them in the office and assess their proficiency in spoken English for yourself, then you can base your lessons on that.

  3. #3
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    Don't take anything for granted. Assume nothing.

    Lots of drilling with the vocab and grammar when you present it. Drilling is essential at any level, but at this level it's gold dust. Let them get their tongues around the language, which will give all students confidence, but maintain a level of challenge (substitution/transformation drills and reformulating with repetition drills for weaker learners when necessary).

    Prepare to differentiate a great deal; there will be some in there who are truly beginners and others who aren't.

    Similarly, lots of scaffolding for the activities. The less cognitively challenging, the better.

    Demo any speaking tasks and do it 2 or 3 times with different students until you're sure they know what they have to do.
    Last edited by hallelujah; 11-03-2018 at 06:57 PM.

  4. #4
    hangin' around cyrille's Avatar
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    I've carefully avoided real beginners since day one.

    Apparently 'My name's _______I'm from______I'm a_______ ' plus the relevant questions is enough to be going on with for the first week.

    hal's advice on drilling is sound.

    Maybe your kids can knock up some flashcards for you before you finish with them? Jobs, countries, whatever? Visual cues rather than spoken cues are important.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    I've carefully avoided real beginners since day one.

    Apparently 'My name's _______I'm from______I'm a_______ ' plus the relevant questions is enough to be going on with for the first week.

    .
    This is pretty much your first lesson or two and the way you want your boardwork laid out for the speaking tasks. That's the level of cognitive challenge you want to be aiming for.

    Have a look at Cutting Edge or New English File beginners books for ideas, Mandaloopy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandaloopy View Post
    I have to teach 8 new music teachers
    What instruments do you play?




    No flute jokes

  7. #7
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    Wow that was one hell of a clean up. All brought on by a teacher who cant post an OP in correct English, and he is English...

    Nice enough guy but even with a masters has no command of the language....

  8. #8
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    I too question the clean up on this thread

  9. #9
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    Indeed. Poor job, mods. They didn't even correct the errors in the OP.

  10. #10
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    It's in the commence section
    Parvenues are oft mistaken for lounge lizards


  • #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post

    Nice enough guy but even with a masters has no command of the language....
    Unfortunately, I can speak from painful experience in telling you that an MA will neither make someone a good language teacher nor improve their English.

    Nice to have, but the lack of anything practical makes it little more than decorative unless you have the essential classroom skills and quals (CELTA followed by the DELTA) in the first place.
    Last edited by hallelujah; 11-03-2018 at 08:23 PM.

  • #12
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    Keep it very simple to start with and engage with those that know the least to ensure they don't feel left out. Don't push the shy ones; find out who is relying on who and allow that to happen until they all feel comfortable with you.

    Too many teachers scare adult students away by too quick a pace and separating those that rely on others. Let them get their feet wet and start off as slow as they require.

    I am not a teacher so I have only taught adults and children informally. My first lessons with absolute beginners are usually mime games to guess the words and phrases, which have always been great fun and made everyone feel comfortable.

  • #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    Keep it very simple to start with and engage with those that know the least to ensure they don't feel left out. Don't push the shy ones; find out who is relying on who and allow that to happen until they all feel comfortable with you.

    Too many teachers scare adult students away by too quick a pace and separating those that rely on others. Let them get their feet wet and start off as slow as they require.
    This is excellent advice. To use fancy language, the affective filters are gonna be through the roof which means, in layman's terms, they're gonna be absolutely petrified. Basically, good people skills to put people at ease are essential.

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    I am not a teacher
    I wouldn't have guessed. Spot on.

  • #14
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    My advice, work to their level and keep smiling...they do good, keep smiling....sanook mak!

    Days of the week, time, yesterday, today and tomorrow, so later you can ask them to give you an idea of what's going on when.....

  • #15
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    Thanks for all the good pointers, folks! As for the typos- I'm not writing my dissertation, but I suppose it comes across as more than a little unprofessional. I actually got a 'B" grade for my MA for what it's worth, I can write nicely for work related stuff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandaloopy View Post
    I'm not writing my dissertation, but I suppose it comes across as more than a little unprofessional.
    Posting on a forum should be considered a bus man's holiday from the grammar police, in my opinion...it's not like you're doing a job advert..

    Just my take....we all should have a chance to relax a bit...

  • #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSFFan View Post
    Posting on a forum should be considered a bus man's holiday from the grammar police, in my opinion...it's not like you're doing a job advert..

    Just my take....we all should have a chance to relax a bit...
    It's generally only TEFLers who jump on others grammar, punctuation or spelling, no one else gives a fuk. As long as people can make themself understood and get their point across, fuk all else matters.

  • #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by hallelujah View Post
    Unfortunately, I can speak from painful experience in telling you that an MA will neither make someone a good language teacher nor improve their English.

    Nice to have, but the lack of anything practical makes it little more than decorative unless you have the essential classroom skills and quals (CELTA followed by the DELTA) in the first place.
    Off topic, but not all MA TESOLs are equal in this regard. Some do have a good deal of practical training built in. Others don't. It's true, in my estimation for what it's worth, that too many don't. But the other side of the coin is that a CELTA graduate gets near zero education in any theoretical underpinnings. This isn't good. Sure, practical training is the baby in the bathwater, but it's a dry-ass, cryin' kid without any liquid understanding, and without looking beyond your own limited experience. Many of the most important teaching skills are finally internalized via deeper than average intellectual processing involving a mix of experiential and theoretical knowledge. For all intents and purposes, you can't expect most people to simply teach their way to expertise.

  • #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Off topic, but not all MA TESOLs are equal in this regard. Some do have a good deal of practical training built in. Others don't. It's true, in my estimation for what it's worth, that too many don't. But the other side of the coin is that a CELTA graduate gets near zero education in any theoretical underpinnings. This isn't good. Sure, practical training is the baby in the bathwater, but it's a dry-ass, cryin' kid without any liquid understanding, and without looking beyond your own limited experience. Many of the most important teaching skills are finally internalized via deeper than average intellectual processing involving a mix of experiential and theoretical knowledge. For all intents and purposes, you can't expect most people to simply teach their way to expertise.
    How did you gain your expertise, Matt?

  • #20
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    Basics alphabet and 1-10 numbers for the first week.
    Name address etc

    Then test at the end of the week.

    If they can all recite and write their name and address along with the alphabet and numbers 1-10.
    That's probably all you can hope to achieve in a week.

  • #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post
    Basics alphabet and 1-10 numbers for the first week.
    Name address etc

    Then test at the end of the week.

    If they can all recite and write their name and address along with the alphabet and numbers 1-10.
    That's probably all you can hope to achieve in a week.
    Yeah that sounds fun and interactive.

    I'm sure being able to recite their home address in a foreign language will be absolutely priceless for someone from Myanmar in Mandalay.

    Think of all that confusion with taxi drivers....solved!

  • #22
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    He's got a week to teach some English to complete beginners you muppet.

    An unenviable task at best.

    So all he can hope to achieve is the absolute basics, something even you should be familiar with as a tefler.

    If they can learn and recite few sentences then he's done a good job.


    Basic stuff like...

    Hi my name is Sybal.

    I want to learn English.

    The weather is very wet and boring.



    You get my drift?

    On a side note, a friend of mine teaches English in Japan and he started out teaching his student via English music songs.

    He now has major corporate contracts teaching English to blue chip client employees.

    Earning a fortune now and very well established in Japan, not bad for a scally with no qualifications.
    Last edited by Chittychangchang; 12-03-2018 at 02:13 AM.

  • #23
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    A very trustworthy teacher source has recommended this as a good resource, Mandaloopy: Absolute Beginners | Onestopenglish

  • #24
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    A very trustworthy teacher source has recommended this as a good resource
    ...such modesty...

  • #25
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    Wink



    I realize I'm not adding anything particularly exciting to this thread - only the obvious (unless it isn't) suggestion that 'finding activities to do and doing them' only gets a teacher through another 9 days of work. Also focusing on 'principles and techniques' during the process, as Sanchia's suggestion implies, leads eventually to not needing to ask for activities on the internet anymore (that's basically all the loaded but entirely appropriate word 'expertise' means above).

    This is why I thought Sanchia's suggestion was particularly worthy to share.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Matthew; 12-03-2018 at 07:53 AM.

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