I have successfully completed a TEFL course and am going to be teaching English to a variety of people in my village in France. There will be between five and ten students in my class, I assume of mixed ability, and I will be teaching them for one hour per week.
My intention is to begin with a simple assessment of their level in English and then begin from the beginning for the absolute beginners! I would imagine that a lot of you have been in this situation before and so I would greatly appreciate some advice on how to assess their level and where to start. My thoughts are to begin with greetings, hello, welcome, 'my name is...' etc swiftly moving on to 'to be', 'to have' and 'to go'. Am I on the right track?
I have read several posts on here and there seems to be a slight negativity to newbies jumping in at the deep end, I appreciate this may seem folly to experienced teachers but I guess we all have to start somewhere. Thanking you in anticipation.....
First, it would be important to know what type of facilities/materials you have available. If you and your students will have access to computers, there are dozens of useful ESL websites including this one with source material, handouts, tutorials, quizzes etc. If your students do not have access to a computer but you have, you can print the material you find useful for handouts to students. But initially you need an assessment tool to determine the level of knowledge/understanding of your students. There are several available for purchase such as CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System) and TABE (Test for Adult Basic Education). Even though TABE is used primarily as an assessment for GED instruction, I prefer it over CASAS because of its separate sections for Vocabulary, Language, Reading Comprehension. If purchase of a tool such as these is not possible, then I would recommend that you develop your own.
Next, you need a lesson plan tailored to the level of proficiency of your students and finally, you need a series of tests to determine progress. I know that this is much easier for me to offer these suggestions than it will/would be to implement, but it is a complex process, especially if you have multi-level students in the same class.
I would also recommend two series of ESL publications. Exploring English (Pearson-Longman) and/or English In Action (Thomson-Heinle). Each has a Student Book and Workbook for Levels 1-4 and a Lesson Plan for each level.
Thank you for your comprehensive reply. I will look into the assessment tests and also the books you recommend. I am incredibly daunted at the moment but at the same time excited that I can hopefully 'make a difference'. Onwards and upwards...
Hey Gillian, good luck with your new venture - I well remember how daunting it can feel at times to begin with but it's also a fantastically rewarding experience (when things go well!)
If you need any help about anything at all feel free to contact me on here - I'd be very happy to answer any questions about grammar and teaching ideas etc
All the best
Good luck and please ask any questions as and when they arise.
And they will.
If you do end up with a mixed ability class, I'd suggest Teaching Unplugged, which is entirely activities that can be done at any level. It will be challenging for a beginner teacher though, because it requires quite a lot of on-the-spot language analysis.