Tips for Teaching English to Beginners

Teaching beginners can be a challenging undertaking, especially if the group is monolingual and you are unfamiliar with their language or if the group is multilingual and the only language they share is the English you are expected to teach them. But teaching beginners only in English is not only feasible, but it can also be one of the most satisfying levels to teach. Here are seven suggestions for teaching English to beginners.

Teaching full beginner English is a wonderful challenge for both new and experienced ESL teachers. The first time you design teaching English to beginners content, it could seem like a huge pain, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. When your students get it, it’s also quite fulfilling. It’s incredible to watch the progress from having zero information to being able to communicate in simple English!

If you put these suggestions into practice, you’ll quickly master your first English lesson for beginners, adults, teenagers, or children. To prevent your kids from becoming disheartened when they make mistakes, always give them praise. Praise will assist them in developing into assured students who aren’t intimidated by a foreign language.

tips for teaching english to beginners

Instructions are clear and simple

When speaking to a group of students, especially ones you’ve recently met, it can be tempting to use the politest wording possible to describe the activities. After all, nobody enjoys being nasty. The courtesy of saying, “OK, so now what I’d want you all to do, if you don’t mind, is just to stand up for a moment and come to the front of the class,” may, however, be lost on a student who speaks very little, if any, English. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your book. Could we just do that, please?

Instead, use as few words as possible and whenever possible, use gestures to make instructions crystal clear. You should also divide long lists of instructions into manageable chunks. The words “please” and “thank you” are sufficient while being polite. Please take your book, everyone. Rise up. Please come over right away. I’m grateful.

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Use fewer words and more actions

Your students will probably want to start practising speaking pretty much right away. Don’t push students to speak before they’ve had a chance to hear you sing the language extensively. It takes some time for one’s ear to acclimate to the sounds of a new language, and not everyone will be so keen.

tips for teaching english to beginners

Let your students listen

Your students will probably want to start practising speaking pretty much right away. Don’t push students to speak before they’ve had a chance to hear you using the language extensively. Although that doesn’t mean you should just ramble on at the front of the classroom; with beginners more so than with other levels, you really have to consider what you say and grade your language accordingly. It takes some time for one’s ear to acclimate to the sounds of a new language, and not everyone will be so keen.

Always check your students understand

Many people who teach English to total beginners make the classic mistake of believing that the students have understood the lesson or the classroom instruction. Your students may not be used to the Western medium of teaching where students raise their hands if they don’t understand. whether they are adults or children.


Beginners require a lot of drilling and repetition, particularly as they become familiar with the sounds of their new language. Even if repeating the same phrases over and over is vital, it can be tedious. Try back-drilling when practising new sentences to ensure that your intonation is natural and that you understand the associated speech components. Back-drilling involves breaking a sentence into manageable bits and then building it back up. Take “Would you like a cup of tea?” as an illustration:

tea > cup of tea > like a > like a cup of tea > Would you > Would you like a cup of tea?


Even while teaching beginners requires moving slowly and repeatedly using the same language, this does not need doing the same activities, especially not all at once. Don’t enter the classroom without first carefully considering how you will teach a new language, how you will verify that the kids have comprehended it, how you will practise it, and how you will handle potential misconceptions. Make sure you have a variety of exercises to employ. This level has a significantly larger likelihood of confusion than levels above it, and it can occasionally be much more difficult to sort through.

Remember that pupils at lower levels lack the linguistic resources to engage in anything more complex than simple exchanges, so you can’t count on conversations growing like you can with higher levels (though in time they will). This implies that it will primarily be your responsibility to keep them chatting.

Establish classroom language

Are you able to talk more slowly in class? What should we do? I don’t comprehend. What does… imply? Though this question is typically used when instructing children, it is also quite helpful for adult beginners. Learning a new language may be intimidating no matter how laid-back and friendly the classroom environment is. This is especially true if you feel like you’re not understanding everything. That’s being said or you might be asked to say something before you’re ready. It is far better to give pupils the vocabulary they will need to successfully complete the subject from the beginning.

Enjoy this level, then. It can be one of the most rewarding levels to teach, despite being in many ways the hardest. You will have paved the way for your student’s future success if they enjoy their initial exposure to the language and feel confident and inspired to continue. It can be incredibly rewarding to watch your learners progress from knowing nothing to knowing a few words to knowing a few sentences and structures to be able to hold basic conversations. 

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The Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate is one of the most accepted certificates worldwide. This certificate lets you teach English to non-native speakers across the globe. The main requirement to get a TEFL certificate is the ability to speak native-level English and then you complete a TEFL course. You can complete a TEFL course either online or in a classroom. The different courses vary based on the number of hours it takes to finish.

As a TEFL qualified teacher, the world is your oyster. With a TEFL certificate you can live and teach abroad, teach online while travelling the world or set your own hours working from the comfort of your own home. 

Our 120 hour TEFL certificate is accredited and internationally recognised, so you can teach online or around the world. If you’re looking to teach in your home country at a language centre or would like to go to the UAE, we would suggest you do a higher level qualification, such as the 180 Hour Level 5 TEFL Diploma. This is the requirement in such competitive countries. 

First and foremost, an aspiring TEFL teacher must be a native or fluent English speaker. We suggest people who are at least 16 years old with a C1 level of English or higher. A TEFL course and teaching English is perfect for you if you:

  • Are passionate about teaching and helping others to learn
  • Have a good knowledge of the English language including sentence structure, vocabulary and grammar
  • Are open and willing to adapt to other cultures and languages
  • Want to travel and see the world
  • Are looking for an exciting and flexible career path
  • Are outgoing and confident speaking in front of a class or ready to build your classroom confidence.

You do not have to have prior teaching experience or a degree to do a TEFL course. However, the ability to work using your initiative is important. Our TEFL courses are online, so you will need to be well motivated. 

Non-native speakers often find the Ofqual Regulated Level 5 TEFL courses quite challenging. As a guide, we recommend that non-native speakers have a minimum IELTS 6.5 score. 

A Level 5 TEFL course is one that’s regulated by Ofqual according to its qualifications’ framework. 

By taking a Level 5 TEFL course, you’re gaining a qualification that’s assessed as the same level and difficulty as the following: a diploma of higher education (DipHE), a foundation degree, 2 years at university and the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL teaching qualifications. Once qualified with a Level 5 TEFL qualification, you’ll have access to the most competitive jobs worldwide.

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