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ESL forum > Ask for help > Absolute Beginners    

Absolute Beginners


Absolute Beginners
Hi for all. I am about to start teaching an English course for Absolute Beginners adults. I do not know hot to start with them. Please I need your help.....

10 May 2013      


It is very important that you teach them to introduce themselves. That s the first thing they need to know. After that, they need a lot of vocabulary. Start with objects that are very important for the class, such as school supplies, simple sentences such as: How do you say"  " this?" and don t overwhelm  them with many grammatical issues at the very beginning.
Also, you can use their mother tongue if possible in order for them to start understanding. Of course you should speak in English most of the time but make sure they don t give up. Use as much as you can, your body language to help them get relevant ideas. But the key is to provide and teach enough vocabulary.
For more info, look for a book about methodology. It will help you a lot. A very good author is Jeremy Harmer.

10 May 2013     


I agree with yuyujo in the silabus, but the only thing is that I would not use their mother tongue at all. It is essential that they dont translate at all to learn the language as a "second first language" + it will be very hard for them at the beginning, but they (and you) will be surprised of how quick they learn.
I usually start with greetings including nationality, numbers, colours and the alphabet to spell words soon. Then, maybe you can do likes and dislikes and basic order such as open the window, sit down, touch the table, take your worksheet out, etc
About the grammar I agree that it isnt so necessary at the beginning. 

10 May 2013     


I agree... the most important thing is vocab, vocab, vocab. Followed by simple phrases you use every day.

NO electronic dictionaries! They are quick and easy and very useful when out and about in the community and you NEED them. (Such as when you are in Japan and only speak a bit of Japanese and you NEED to find a toilet asap!) In class, electronic dictionaries don t promote retention of information in my experience. That being said, if you do decide to allow them, after the first week, they put them away. The best thing is immersion in English, and practice outside the classroom. It s always great when you can pair up two students, who speak different languages and they become friends. When they hang out after class, they NEED to speak English to communicate. Brilliant! These students ALWAYS do much better then the others who only hang out with their friends who speak the same mother tongue.

10 May 2013     


I m just thinking now of my first ESL class and my first day and I m chuckling. I thought i d share this great old British comedy called "Mind Your Language". It s about an ESL class. Good fun... if a bit outdated in political correctness. Enjoy!


10 May 2013     

Peter Hardy

The best teaching I ever did is with my adult students. Never had so much respect and gratefulness. So, go for it! Like the others (answers above), I start with the greetings. Next I do the wh words, i.e. what s your name, where are you from, how old are you etc. The key is, in my view, to pronounce the words slowly at first, then speed up to normal speech. It s confusing at first, but it also makes them laugh. So learning is fun, instead of a struggle! And I make them repeat, repeat, repeat and repeat again. They tend to give short one-word answers, so I have them repeat the question with each others. As such they speak as much as I do from day one. I combine this with the word families (I m not supposed to advertise, but check out my contributions). The next (simultaneous) step is of course the verbs to be, to have and to do. Followed rather quick by the pronouns and nouns. Well, before I give you my complete course plan, I can assure you that after three months my ss speak basic English! I only speak English, but use dictionaries for one-word explanations. My efforts to learn Persian, Arabic and Afghani (and to keep them apart!) are a stimulant for my ss, as many are illiterate in their own language as well. My mistakes teaches them that mistakes are nothing but learning opportunities. Make sure it s all good fun, and you won t have regrets. Cheers, Peter

11 May 2013     


Hi rafed
This comes from a private academy syllabus I found on the internet a while ago.  Maybe it is useful. If youd like  a copy of the entire syllabus for all levels, PM with your e-mail address me and Ill e-mail it to you.

Language - Learn how to use:

- the alphabet

- to be

- there is / there are

- have go t

- the present simple tense for things that are always true

- the present continuous tense for things that are happening around no w

- imperative verbs

- common past simple verbs

- basic question forms and short answers

- can for ability and possibility

- like and would like

- subject - verb - object word order

- possessive adjectives


Speaking - Learn to:

- introduce somebody and use basic greeting and leave-taking expressions

- ask and answer simple questions on familiar topics and about personal details

- make and respond to simple statements

- make simple purchases

- talk about numbers, quantities, cost and time

- order something to eat or drink


Listening - Understand:

- when someone speaks to you clearly and slowly with pauses and repetition

- simple directions from one place to another

- basic questions and instructions

- numbers, prices and times


Reading - Understand:

- simple factual messages on postcards, notes or email

- simple everyday signs

- when and where local events take place, using a leaflet or calendar

- questionnaires asking for personal details

- basic commands o n a computer programme


Writing - Learn to:

- fill in a questionnaire with your personal details

- write a simple postcard or greeting card

- write sentences and simple phrases about yourself and your family

11 May 2013