Teach English in Leibu XiAng - Anqing Shi

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Teaching Adult BeginnersBeing a good teacher is one of the most challenging jobs one can have, as it requires dedication, motivation and enthusiasm to not only teach the students english but also inspire them. Teaching adults brings along a different challenge, as they call for another approach to be motivated and maintain their interest in the course. Beginners, then, stretch the teacher´s ability to be patient, clear and fun, while progress can be made relatively quickly. So, teaching adult beginners combines the joys and challenges of all the aspects of teaching, involving a lot of patience, energy and enthusiasm while making sure that the students do not get bored by too simple exercises. This essay discusses the challenges of teaching adult beginners and gives some tips how to improve classes. I have chosen adult as a specific group of beginners, because I find them very interesting; Adults all have their own learning experiences and, in case of a business group, their work responsibilities for which they need english. Being a beginner might frustrate them, but can also motivate them to work hard to make progress and it is the teacher´s job to get the best out of every student. When I had to teach my first adult beginners´ class, I was slightly worried. Would the classes be interesting enough? What if they don´t understand what I´m saying? And a combination of these two questions: how am I going to strike a balance between a interesting, fun and energetic class and the students´ ability to understand everything without getting lost? Even though all adult beginners will react differently to classes and there is not one formula to success, some basic principles can be applied to form the basis of a successful beginners´ class. Some of the problems that adult beginners might encounter is frustration. Either the class is going too fast for them to keep up with the material, or it is too boring and too slow to keep the student interested. The teacher might feel pressured to discuss as much material as possible to keep up with the schedule. Or silly and childish games cannot motivate the adult beginner, whose aim is to learn english quickly, as they need the language for personal or professional purposes. The abovementioned issues present the teacher with some challenges on how to balance the class correctly. As a basis, the teacher should be very patient, speak slowly and clearly and restrict him/herself to a limited vocabulary in order for the students to understand all the instructions. The teacher could also use gestures, eye contact and images to clarify. Moreover, it is vital not to lose motivation or despair, as this is exactly what one does not want the students to do while studying english. To keep all the students interested, then, a balanced class has to be prepared, including not only the right amount of grammar and vocabulary, but also many exercises in pairs and fun activities. It is important to repeat sufficiently, since the fact that one has taught something does not necessarily mean that the students learned it. I would start with an activity engaging the whole class depending on the topic of the day, for example Pictionary on the board, finish sentences written on the board, I´m going on holiday and I will bring? (students add items and have to name the item of the previous student as well). After that, I would do a short recap of the material of the previous class, introduce the new grammar or structures of that week, do exercises and discuss them. Finally, the activation activity will have to be very interactive involving all students. During the class, it is important to be enthusiastic and keep the energy going, as there will not be many very elevated discussions given the level of the students. Overall, an energetic class with a patient, clear and above all enthusiastic teacher can motivate adult beginners to study hard and make progress quickly; the right balance has been struck!