Zero beginners - help?

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Hi all. I'm not sure if this has been addressed elsewhere, but I'm looking for some general advice on how to deal with young (grades 1 & 2) students with virtually zero English abilities.

I have over 3 & 1/2 years of experience teaching ESL in Korea, but my Korean students all came to me with some skills (most had previously lived in English speaking countries or had attended international schools; the "ESL" kids had to pass an entrance exam to get into our academy.) Granted, some of these students weren't very "high", but at least there was a foundation upon which I could build.

I will be taking a job teaching ESL to grades 1 & 2 at an international school next September, and am frankly a little nervous about it. (I am a qualified elementary teacher, but NOT an ESL specialist.) For one thing, at my workplace in Korea we were using North American Language Arts textbooks, not "ESL" books. I'm not entirely sure what kinds of materials the school will have in place for me, so I am fully prepared - in fact, expected - to purchase some of my own materials to take with me. The question is, "What will I need?" What sorts of materials and resources have you found to work well in that sort of environment?

As I mentioned, I really have no experience dealing with "zero beginners". Now I'm sure that most of my students will have *some* English abilities, but I need to prepare for this possibility. I'm wondering if anyone out there has any tips or strategies on how to deal with this situation.

Any and all advice will be appreciated - thanks in advance.


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Nov 13, 2002
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I'm afraid it is a long time since I have taught beginners, which means I'm not that up to date with materials. What age are the studens and do you have any idea what kind of syllabus the favour and what is meant to be covered?
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