Most teachers who have to teach English to absolute beginners, find the idea of spending a whole lesson trying to communicate with students who don’t understand a word they’re saying, a bit daunting… But here, at Speakeasy School, teaching beginners with the Callan Method, is the best thing ever!
At this level, every new word we teach counts. It is the perfect opportunity for the teacher to get creative, and even a little silly.
We always start with simple words, objects that we are available in the classroom, things we can point to, and then we build on that. We repeat, repeat and repeat! The habit of repeating things helps our beginners understand the lesson and retain key phrases and words better. It’s similar to beginning every class with a greeting like, “Hello, how are you?”… Students quickly get comfortable with hearing this greeting and replying to it. We follow the same principle with every word or phrase that we teach.
Sometimes, when we need to explain a word without being able to point to it, we get a chance to embrace our inner mime. If we need to explain what a cat is, we let out a couple of meows and we act it out. The students love it. We love it too. In fact, some of us love it so much, that we tend to mime along to everything we say. The students sometimes get involved, too… Honestly, teaching beginners is so much fun!
However, last but not least, the greatest thing about teaching beginners, comes at the end of their course. When as teachers, we look back at all those people, who could not say a word of English the very first time we met them. The same people who are now having a conversation with us, asking us questions and telling us their opinion about things that matter to them… The same people who are now thanking us for giving them the skill of speaking English and changing their lives forever! That is the absolute highlight of teaching beginners!