How do you teach Zero English?

level
3
Posts2Likes1Joined5/11/2018LocationManila / PH
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English, Tagalog
Other Japanese

Share to us how do you teach zero English level. Thank you very much!

"Language is an opportunity itself." Teacher Uary

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#1
level
31
Posts927Likes581Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai

That's a good question. I'm not a teacher, but I can tell you how I like to learn. I have a 3 step system.

1) learn the alphabet and pronunciation

2) study the remaining 6 pillars of language learning intensively (conversation, reading, writing, listening, vocabulary and grammar)

3) use the language extensively (conversation, reading, writing, listening)


Come to think of it, trying to teach someone by my method might not work because it's designed to use teachers only in the capacity of expert conversation partners. For example in step 2) I get my other skills up to what I considerable reasonable before actually talking to a teacher. I'm way to embarrassed to start working with a teacher from zero, so good luck with that Uary :)

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#2
level
3
Posts2Likes1Joined5/11/2018LocationManila / PH
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English, Tagalog
Other Japanese

Thanks Leo!

"Language is an opportunity itself." Teacher Uary

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#3
level
5
Posts36Likes38Joined4/9/2019LocationCórdoba / AR
Native
Spanish
Learning French, German
Other English

I am not a teacher either. But as I see it there are basically two ways to approach this. One would involve using a common language that both the teacher and the student speak as a crutch during the first stage. You would do that while you cover the basics of the target language (pronouns, basic vocabulary, sentence structure, and grammatical quirks). Then you would gradually start to shift away from that second language and encourage students to communicate and formulate questions in English.


The other approach would be acquisition-based learning. That means that you would start speaking and explaining everything in English only from day 1. This method only works if the students are getting the gist of what you are saying, so it’s paramount that you use all resources available to support comprehension. That means using lots of hand gestures, mimicking, and pantomime as well as pictures, video, and every visual support you can think of. I would also start with the most basic words like pronouns and verbs, and gradually start to add new words and structures. The key here is letting the students slowly get a feel of the language and hopefully get to the point where they can start expressing themselves in English even if they use incorrect grammar. When they get to that point you will have a base to work from and you can start refining their form.


Whatever the case may be, I would go easy on corrections. They undermine the student’s self-confidence, especially in the first stages. What’s most important is comprehension, so as long as you can understand what they are saying I would avoid correcting them. Instead, try to lead by example and maximize exposure through lots of conversation, text, audios, and videos. After a while, exposure to the language will make them click and they will start to self-correct.


As Leo pointed out, pronunciation is key when learning English. The reason for that is that the way English words are spelled has little to do with how you pronounce them (e.g. though, tough, thorough, though). That’s why it would be a good idea to introduce the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) at some point and teach the pronunciation of all English vowels (12-20 depending on how you count them). That would allow students to look up the correct pronunciation of new words in a dictionary whenever in doubt.

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#4
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Posts927Likes581Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Learning Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai

markoSSS wrote:
I would go easy on corrections.

I completely agree with this. I don't even like them as an intermediate student, unless I'm specifically looking for them. I find I don't internalize them, and they just stall the conversation. And of course things would be much worse for a beginner.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#5
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Posts36Likes38Joined4/9/2019LocationCórdoba / AR
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Spanish
Learning French, German
Other English

I couldn’t agree more. I think the right way to go about corrections is to take a rather indirect approach. Personally, I would take note of the most frequent mistakes my students are making and then tackle those challenges via strategically planned grammar/pronunciation lessons. The idea is to never make it personal or make the student feel he/she is doing something wrong. On the contrary, the student should be encouraged to take risks and accept that mistakes are part of the learning process.

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