Getting English Second Language Beginners Started with Our Curriculum

mexican-classwLet’s assume that the students entering a Beginner’s Class know the English alphabet, that is, they can name the letters and identify the vowels. They don’t, however, have any speaking or reading vocabulary. They want to learn to understand, speak, read, and write in English. Oral questions and group activities are an effective way to get everyone started.









How Can We Help Them to Make a Positive Start and Discover that Learning a Language Can Be Fun?

The most important concept to be stressed in any language program is that the students speak in complete sentences. Although learning a limited number of vocabulary words with each lesson is necessary, the students need to be using them in a variety of oral language situations. They need to be interacting with each other.

Why teach English Using Complete Sentences?
Basically, a sentence contains all the elements of communication – vocabulary, grammar and meaning. It establishes the pattern for English sentences and the students hear the cadence of the language. When new vocabulary words are introduced it’s important that the students have many opportunities to use them throughout the series of lessons.




What Activities Provide Listening, Speaking and Understanding Spoken English at this Beginning Level


Students in many countries have consistently rated ORAL QUESTIONS as the most helpful activity. During this whole class activity the teacher asks questions based on the material that has been introduced or perhaps is about to be introduced in the current lesson. The questions are asked randomly so that the students never know when their turn is coming. It’s great if the content is funny. For example the teacher can ask an outgoing macho guy: “Do you wear a dress?” or “Are you a mother?” Laughter is a very important part of learning.

Another way to get them talking, listening and understanding is to divide the class into two groups. They can name their groups after their favorite sports team or whatever interests them. The two teams should sit facing each other. Give each student one or two questions with the answers.

Are you an English student?
Yes, I’m an English student.

Print and cut the activity so that each student has one or two questions with the answers. When the students all have questions and answers, a student in Team 1 asks a student in Team 2 the question on his or her paper. If he or she answers correctly then the team gets a point. (This is optional depending on the preferences of the groups.) Next it’s the turn of Team 2 to ask the question and for someone in Team 1 to answer. Continue until every student has asked and answered one question. The students must ask someone who hasn’t answered at all, before asking anyone a second question.

Try this Activity with Your Beginners When You Think They Have Enough Vocabulary to Understand It.

Do you drink ________ juice?
Yes, I drink ________ juice.
No, I don’t drink ________ juice.

Are you cold?
Yes, I’m cold.
No, I’m not cold.

Are you Canadian? 
Yes, I’m Canadian.
No, I’m not Canadian.

Are you an English student?
Yes, I’m an English student.

Do you have a dog?
Yes, I have a dog.
No, I don’t have a dog.

Do you drink juice?
Yes, I drink juice.
No, I don’t drink juice.

Are you thirsty?
Yes, I’m thirsty.
No, I’m not thirsty.

Do you have a friend?
Yes, I have a friend.
No, I don’t have a friend.

Do your friends drive cars?
Yes, my friends drive cars.
No, my friends don’t drive cars.

Are you a waitress?
Yes, I’m a waitress.
No, I’m not a waitress.

Do you like dogs?
Yes, I like dogs.
No, I don’t like dogs.

Is it hot today?
Yes, it’s hot today.
No, it’s not hot today.

Are you a teacher?
Yes, I’m a teacher.
No, I’m not a teacher.

Do you like hamburgers?
Yes, I like hamburgers.
No, I don’t like hamburgers.

Is it cold in your city?
Yes, it’s cold in our city.
No, it isn’t cold in our city.

Do you like cats?
Yes, I like cats.
No, I don’t like cats.

Do you like pizza?
Yes, I like pizza.
No, I don’t like pizza.

Do you have a car?
Yes, I have a car.
No, I don’t have a car.




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How to get Beginner Students Started with our Curriculum

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