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Teaching Languages for Beginners

If you are a teacher, it may be that you prefer to teach a foreign language (or English) to students who are relatively advanced learners. This is understandable because it can be easier and more interesting for a teacher to teach more advanced language concepts than the very basics of grammar. However, if you really want to have a major influence over how someone learns a language, you would be wise to work with the beginner.

For example, beginner language learners often have more enthusiasm than students who have been learning the language for years. Also, they can make a great deal of progress quickly, unlike the more advanced students who can plateau.

Some good tips for teaching beginners in foreign languages are below!

1. Plan Out Your Course

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You need to have a very defined idea of the amount of material you intend to cover. You need to provide your students with a total overview of the language class and what you expect of them. However, it is a good idea to not make your course outline set in stone and overly rigid. You need to have some flexibility so that you can alter the course material as you discover more about the students in your language class.

2. Plan Out Your Lessons

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This is important no matter if your class is 60 or 90 minutes long. It is a good idea to think in terms of segments. That is, think of a good starting activity for the class to get them warmed up. Next, do your main activity, and then a final activity to wrap up the class. You may need to modify this during the actual class session, so be prepared. What you think of as a ‘warm up’, for instance, may prove to be more challenging for your language students.

3. Review Your Textbook Before Every Class

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What are you going to cover in the textbook in your next class? If you look like you do not know the course material in front of the class, your language students will question your knowledge. You need to know what is in the book, so that you know what material the students need to know before they dive into the book during the class. Perhaps you will need to do some vocabulary review or review some grammar points.

4. Give It a Try

If you plan to do a new language activity in your class, it would be wise to try it out beforehand if you can.

5. Carefully Sequence Your Activities

You will generally have better success in your beginner language classes if you begin with more defined and controlled activities, and then have the class go into freer activities later in the class.

6. Allow Time For Activity Set Up

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It is very common for teachers of language beginners to try to cram too much activity into one class. You need to account for the time it takes to explain the activities to the students.

7. Don’t Go Too Fast

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You’re probably an expert in the language you are teaching, but remember that your students are beginners. Do not cover essential material too quickly. Of utmost importance with new language learners is to give them much practice with simple language drills.

If you follow these easy steps, we think that you will find that your beginner language students will catch on much faster.

One Response to Teaching Languages for Beginners

  1. Janet Steward April 30, 2012 at 5:19 am #

    Hello Joseph,

    I am about start teaching foreign language to beginners. This would be my first experience as a teacher and I really need such advice. I am thankful to you for such a great post. This will surely help me, to teach the beginners and will be able to motivate them.

    Regards,
    Janet Steward
    http://www.aroj.com/

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