Most private language schools enroll new students without proper testing. Before any student enrolls in a private language school, they must demonstrate their level of English. Is the new student Elementary? Is he or she Intermediate? Maybe he is upper intermediate? It could be that she is Advanced. The first English lesson is all about getting to know your student.
Student English level assessment is essential for proper student placement. Analyzing a students level of English should always be taken seriously and with professionalism. The first English lesson with a new student should never be unit one of a book.
The first English lesson should not just be about opening a grammar book to the first unit. After a proper testing assessment has been done and before the course begins, a review is needed. A basic grammar review in several ares is needed to fully establish the needs of the student as well as the need to identify some habits.
At Larisa English Ukraine, we do this with our orientation packet. The orientation packet reviews pronunciation of important sounds, short forms (Contractions) and a few simple grammar rules. The first English lesson should be a reminder of some English grammar.
It is important for the teacher to listen to a students pronunciation of short forms. Most students in Ukrainian public schools do not pronounce short forms correctly. Secondly, singular and plurals are important as well.
What are the nuances between leaf and leaves? What about man and men? Just a quick reminder of a few sounds is important here. Next, might be a short discussion about the “Articles in English” What is the “Indefinite article?” What is the difference between “A and An”. What about “The”, It is the most used word in the English language. If there was one word we should discuss, it is the word “The”.
Besides the definite article being used for that object or person we are talking about, I like connecting it with “Groups”. It is an easy way to help students understand how and why. Next should be a discussion about numbers and dates.
How to paraphrase dates etc. What is the difference between “13-thirTEEN” and “30ThirTY” or “Thirteeee” There should be a discussion about days of the week and months of the year. This is more about pronunciation than knowledge but, watch for the reversal of Tuesday and Thursday.
The verb “To Be” should be next! A student should be given a short exercise for the first homework assignment before the first lesson with orientation begins.
The verb “To Be” is the most important verb in the English language. Can the student tell you in simple terms where he or she lives? Can the student tell you her name in a complete sentence? Can the student ask you a simple question with the verb “To Be?” Simple dialogue with your new student will give you an informed way of helping your student before you open the grammar book to start the first lesson.
Lastly, do a preposition review. What is a preposition? A preposition is a word that connects. It also helps us describe “Place, Movement and Time”. A review of prepositions is critical to help students better understand a few of the basics and how to help describe actions, events and time.
Can you add more information in your grammar orientation packet? Yes, you can! The main idea is to help your student feel comfortable with English. The student orientation should also be used as a get to know you session.
Get to know your student and address as many strengths and weaknesses as possible. While you work with your student reviewing some of the basics, you will see a few areas a student needs help with.
Once you have reviewed these basic areas of English, now you are ready to open the grammar book and get started with the first lesson. Watch your student closely.
You will normally see a student display more confidence while you dig into the first unit of the grammar book. This is always true at Beginner, Elementary and Pre-Intermediate.