English for Beginners at SGI would be defined as a course for someone who is truly at a zero level when it comes to English. ‘Hello’, ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Thank you’ would be about it for the true beginner! The most effective way of teaching such students is One-to-One lessons until they reach the point they are able to participate in a class with others (elementary level-A2).
One of the great things about teaching beginners is that rapid progress can be made, so there are invariably quick tangible results! This is hardly surprising when you think that if in one day, the beginner learns ten new words and can use them in sentences, this would amount to a trebling of their knowledge from a starting point of just ‘Hello’, ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Thank you’!
So what are the vital ingredients to successfully teaching beginners? They would have to include those factors that are important in all teaching, such as empathy and a heightened sensitivity to the fact that students, adults particularly, feel very vulnerable when reduced to highly limited communication in a language they are at the early stages of learning.
At beginner level, awareness of the student’s mother tongue is also useful to ‘keep things moving’, however, there is the danger that the student becomes over-reliant on any translating.
Probably a key factor with beginners is the need to ‘slow things down’ and allow the student sufficient processing time, sometimes called ‘wait-time’. This is vital, as this mental effort by the student to grasp new information is an essential part of the learning process.
SGI is able to run one-to-one English beginner courses throughout the year and has staff who specialise in this area.