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    #1

    How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    Hello, I am going to start teaching an adult with no experience at all with the language. I don't know where to start or how to develop an interesting class, it is my first time teaching adults.
    Can you give me some ideas?
    Can you recommend me any book to help me developing classes to adult students?
    I would be greatful for some advice !

  1. Skrej's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    Is your student literate in his/her native language?
    Is your student literate in English?

    If the answer to either of these questions is no, you're going to have to start off with some basic phonics and print skills.

    That will take a surprising amount of your time.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 22-Sep-2015 at 10:01. Reason: Fixed minor typo

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    Having (briefly) taught an adult absolute beginner in Spain, I don't envy you your task. My student was a very intelligent man who was entirely literate in his own language but had never taken any classes in a foreign language. His wife spoke very good English and his children were both in their advanced English school classes. His wife told me that she and the children had tried to teach him at least a few words at home but to no avail, so she wanted me to try!

    My task was not helped by the fact that he would regularly cancel classes at five minutes' notice so there was little continuity. He also insisted that he had no time for homework. We managed, on average, a total of two hours a week.

    I'll be honest - it was unbelievably hard. In all my other classes, I had a self-imposed "No Spanish" rule. I did not translate things into Spanish, I didn't allow my students to look up vocabulary in an English-Spanish dictionary. Every word spoken during classes had to be English. That rule went out the window in about ten minutes with my absolute beginner. Individual bits of vocabulary were fine - I could point at a car and say "car" and he would repeat it. I could hold up my fingers and count from one to ten and he would repeat them and understand what I meant. However, I found it impossible to teach any grammatical points at all without giving him the Spanish equivalent.

    After four weeks, he gave up (as did I!) We had just about managed to reach "Hello. How are you? I am OK." and "One car. Two cars. Three cars."

    However, don't be demoralised! Just be ready for it to be a struggle. If you're happy to use both English and your student's native language, you will probably find it much easier. You might find that your first few classes are of the type that some people might associate with teaching very young children. Try to make that fun and ensure that your student doesn't get embarrassed and feel that you're treating him/her like a child.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Flomariani:

    I am replying because I had a certain relationship with an American ESL school for adults for six years. So I think that I might be able to share a few ideas with you.

    It seems that you are actually a tutor to one student (rather than a teacher to 40 students in a class). I observed only large classes, but perhaps some of my observations will be helpful.

    1. Congratulations on teaching adults. The adults whom I knew really wanted to learn English. They did not receive any academic credit. Some would come to school at 6 a.m. to study English and then leave at 7 a.m. for their jobs. Now that's dedication!

    2. Assuming that your student speaks a European language (and thus knows the alphabet), I suggest the following steps:

    a. Be enthusiastic. If s/he senses that you are madly in love with English (and teaching), s/he will be enthusiastic, too. It's contagious!

    b. Get a book with pictures and dialogues.

    i. "Mona" (I'm tired of writing "s/he"!) and you will "play" the various characters of the dialogue. Reading ALOUD will be very important for Mona's speaking and listening abilities.

    ii. Get hold of a black-, whiteboard so that you can dictate sentences for Mona to write. You will then correct her mistakes and discuss them.

    iii. Use lots of pictures (from magazines, printed out from Google images, etc.) in order to stimulate discussions and to explain vocabulary.

    iv. If Mona is interested only in speaking, put the emphasis on speaking. Otherwise, emphasize reading and writing, too.

    v. You must ABSOLUTELY begin with the verb "to be" and refuse to move on until she understands this special verb backwards and forward. Make sure that Mona can make questions using "be." (Some confused students want to use a form of "do" to start a question with the verb "be." They do this because they do not understand that "be" questions are different from questions that use other verbs. The same goes for negative sentences.)

    vi. There are many pronunciation books on the market. Find one that pleases you. They show students exactly where to place the tongue in the mouth in order to pronounce the various letters of the alphabet. If you help Mona to speak English without too heavy an accent, she will be eternally grateful to you.

    Please let us know how things go with "Mona."

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    #5

    Re: How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    I think trying to change the alphabet that the learner knows to make it sound like the language that learner wants to learn will probably help them pronounce/say things better. I do that with my mom sometimes.

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    #6

    Re: How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    The learner's native language is Spanish and he/she is trying to learn English. They use the same alphabet. What alphabet do you suggest they use instead?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    Pronouncing "The" in Spanish isn't the same as English and Spanish alphabets has some more different alphabets like "", "ll", and probably a little more and what I said in reply# 5 will probably help others without those alphabets. Flomorani didn't say the learner's language is Spanish but I don't know. My parents are dominican so I'm dominican if anyone wanted to know.

    I don't understand this question.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    What alphabet do you suggest they use instead?
    Last edited by mawes12; 22-Sep-2015 at 18:01.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    I don't know what you think an alphabet is. Both English and Spanish use the Latin alphabet (albeit with a couple of extra letters in the Spanish alphabet). Russian, for example, uses the Cyrillic alphabet and is generally incomprehensible to those of us used to the Latin alphabet.

    How would using a completely different alphabet assist the teacher/learner?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    Oh yeah, you are right. What I was saying was that forming letters of the learner's alphabet to make it sound like a word of the language that the learner wants to learn will probably help. I got confused about alphabet and letter.

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    #10

    Re: How to teach an adult with no experience with the language?

    Quote Originally Posted by mawes12 View Post
    I got confused about alphabet and letter.
    If you get that confused, then I suggest you refrain from firther advice on how to teach people.

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