Absolute beginners in English can be distinguished from false beginners. Absolute beginners are learners which have had no or very little English instruction. False beginners are English learners who have studied English in school - often for a number of years - but never acquired any real grasp of the language.
False beginners will often pick up speed as they remember past lessons. Absolute beginners, on the other hand, will progress slowly and acquire each point methodically. If teachers jump ahead in the order, or begin to include language that absolute learners are not familiar with, things can become confusing quickly.
Teaching absolute beginners requires the teacher to pay special attention to the order in which new language is introduced. The teacher lesson plan plays an essential role in making sure that new grammar is introduced slowly and successfully. This 20 point program provides a syllabus to take students from speaking no English at all, to being able to fulfill basic communication needs including; giving personal information, and describing their daily routines and the world around them.
Obviously, there is a lot more to speaking English confidently than these twenty points. This 20 point program has been designed to provide a strong base on which to build while, at the same time, providing learners with the most important language skills they will need to get going.
Order of Introduction - Teacher Lesson Plan
When teaching absolute beginners, it is very important to proceed methodically building on what has been introduced. Here is a progressive list of points to be taught in order to build up the 20 points listed above. Most of the points have specific lessons teaching the various grammar and usage skills. In the case of definite and indefinite articles and basic prepositions, the points are taught through assimilation throughout the various lessons, as the explanations required would involve vocabulary skills beyond the means of most absolute beginners.
These exercises will appear very simple to you, and you might even feel that they are insulting. Remember that the students are taking very little steps to quickly establish a base on which to build.
Here is a list of each of the 20 points to be covered, as well as a brief description and/or list of what is included in each point:
- Greetings - Introductions
Basic small talk including 'How are you'
- Numbers 1 - 100
Pronunciation, counting skills, telephone numbers
- Give Name & Personal Information
Name, telephone number, address
- This, that, here, there
Recognizing the connection between 'this, here' as opposed to 'that, there'
- Present of the verb 'to be'
Conjugation of the verb, question and negative forms for all subjects
- Basic descriptive adjectives
Ability to describe objects simply
- Basic prepositions use
in, at, to, on, etc.
- There is, There are
Difference between singular and plural, question and negative form
- Some, any, much, many
When to use some and any in the positive, negative and question forms. Questions using much and many
- Question Words
The use of 'wh-' question words as well as 'how much' and 'how many'
- Adverbs of Frequency
The use of adverbs of frequency such as: always, often, sometimes, never
- Subject Pronouns
I, You, He, She, It, We, You, They
- Possessive Adjectives
My, Your, His, Her, (Its), Our, Your, Their
- a, an, the
Basic rules for usage definite and indefinite articles
Names of the most common jobs
- Telling the Time
How to tell the time
- Time expressions
Using 'in the morning', 'in the afternoon', 'in the evening', 'at night', and 'at' with time
- Everyday Objects
Well rounded basic vocabulary
- Present Simple
The use of the present simple for describing everyday routines, positive, negative and question forms
Subject Pronouns - I, He, She / Present 'to be' - Positive and Question Forms - I, He, She
Subject Pronouns - We, You, They / Positive and Question Forms - We, You, They
This, That / Objects in the classroom
Negative statements with 'to be'
Possessive Adjectives - 'my', 'your', 'his', 'her'
Alphabet - Spelling Skills
Question words 'What' and 'Who'
Greetings - Review of spelling and object vocabulary
Question word 'Where', 'To be from' questions and answers
Numbers 1 - 100
Give Name & Personal Information
There is, There are
Some, Any - Countable and Uncountable
Question Word 'How' - How Much, How Many?
Telling the Time
Basic verbs - go, come, work, eat, drive, etc. - Question word 'when'
Present simple question form
Present simple negative form
Adverbs of frequency
Talking about daily habits