As a teacher that has taught all levels of English (or almost all levels, anyway), I realised that teaching beginners can be as challenging as teaching C2s students. The first reason for this is that adult learners usually feel very shy and self-conscious about making mistakes in front of their classmates so they need to be able to practise a lot before producing new structures. At the same time, they usually have very little time to do English homework because there are a lot of other things that they need to do like: work, take care of the kids, household chores, etc., just to mention a few. Finding a balance in everything can be very a difficult task indeed and for this reason, on many occasions beginners quit English classes before they see any progress, which is a real pity. But on the other hand, if a beginner manages to stay on, they very soon notice that they are having fun, learning a lot and making new friends.
This year, with A1s and A2s in mind (or the groups that I’ve had anyway), I want to create a collection of videos with some tips and practical information on how to do something like for example, how to give and ask for a price, or how to congratulate somebody, etc. Sort of something very short, simple and clear that will allow learners to focus on very little content and have the opportunity to practise so as to gain some confidence with new structures and chunks of information.
I am aware that the videos are and will be in English (as usual), and that this can seem a bit off-putting for a beginner, but it is also true that all the audio files also appear in writing, so at the same time, learners are doing a listening activity where they can associate the written form of the word to the sound of it.
Here’s the very first video of this project that I’m really enthusiastic about, hoping that they will be useful for A1 and A2 English learners and that I may (only may), get some feedback.
Template and animations by me (sometimes being a graphic designer can come in handy)
This is a really hilarious song performed by Syd Barret. It’s a sort of wierd love song where the boy is wooing a girl offering her the few things that he has and sharing stories and facts about his daily life with her. The end of the song is quite scary and I can’t help wondering if the girl didn’t actually turn out to be ‘the type of girl that fits into his world’. I’m aware that some blog visitors will think me completely bonkers for using this song and that my students may even think that I’ve knocked my head on some hard surface (well I actually did a couple of months back, so that might explain everything!). Anyway, I think this song is absolutely fab for low levels and it’s SO English!
In no other way could I have started creating and uploading blog entries for this year, other than placing this beautiful cover by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole and his soothing ukele. It’s a song of hope, to which we all relate to during these times of troubles and worries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s even more than a song of hope. It’s a conviction, that somewhere, there is a better and more beautiful place where humans will find comfort and their problems will melt away like lemon drops. I really hope that some day soon, we find that hidden rainbow.
For this post I’ve set two listening activities where beginners can fill in the gaps with the words they hear. The first button is for verbs and the second button is the same song, but this time filling in the gaps with missing nouns.
This is a good song for the present continuous and vocabulary related to holidays and having a good time. The first activity is a jumbled sentence listening and the second activity is a sentence completion. Levels A1/A2
I was looking for a song with the present continous and I found this one, and it looks perfect for our isolation. and perfect for the present continous. The animation is really cute and you can see the lyrics and sing along like in a karaoke :D.
Like in most European countries, in Spain we’re in isolation, and have been for six weeks. This means that we can’t leave the house, and those that can and those that can, have to be very careful.
But who says that we can’t do other things around the house and try to keep fit and active? Keeping active will improve our physical health and also help us cope with the worries that this situation is bringing to thousands of families. It’s no joke!
Here are some tips from BBC learning English that shows us some interesting vocabulary and uses the present continuous. What are you doing to stay active?
What are stative verbs? This is important for learners that are now being introduced to the present continuous (I’m writing right now), and need to learn why they can’t say things like ‘I’m loving you’ when a famous fast food chain uses this as a slogan and a famous rock band from the 80s even said ‘I’m Still Loving You’ in one of their most popular hits. By tackling the ‘stative verb’ issue from an early stage, we’ll probably avoid learners making funny structures that are later on very difficult to get rid of because they have become a habit, and although I’m not really sure if this will be effective or not, I’m going to try it out anyway. Here’s a short video that introduces the very basics and after there’s an activity that focuses on some very typical mistakes that we need to avoid.
After, you may want to do the activities that I have attached below.
Wow! I found this video on Youtube from Language Planet Toluca (I subcribed and gave them a like, too). It’s sort of ‘vintage’ (and I almost freaked out when I saw those guys chanting in the kitchen), but it’s fun and you have lots of opportunities to hear the present continuous and vocabulary related to homes. Watch the video and after, you can do the listening on the button below.