Teaching beginners is considered by many to be the
most challenging level of language instruction. Since students
at this level have little or no prior knowledge of English on
which to build, the teacher (and accompanying techniques and
materials) becomes a central determiner in whether or not
students accomplish their goals. This can also be the most
tangible rewarding level for a teacher because one can readily
see the growth of students’ proficiency in a matter of a few
At the beginning or even false-beginning level your
students have very little language “behind” them. You may
therefore be tempted to go along with the popular
misconception that the target language cannot be taught
directly, that you will have to resort to a good deal of talking
“about” English in the students’ native language. Such is
clearly not the case, as beginning language courses have
demonstrated for many decades. But you do have to keep well
in mind that your students’ capacity for taking in and retaining
new words is limited. Foremost on your mind as a teacher
should be the presentation of material in simple segments so as
not to overwhelm your students. Remember they are just barely
B. H. Douglas. Teaching by principles – an interactive approach to language
pedagogy. Prentice Hall Regents. San Francisco State University, 2007 (adapted).
According to the text above, judge the following items.
Beginners have no knowledge of English whatsoever.