Although Cambly is advertised as a conversation-practice platform, it is made up of students of all levels. You have the freedom to choose your level preference, however this doesn't guarantee that a student with only this specified level will call you or book a reservation with you. We know not everyone feels comfortable working with beginners, but it's important to stay open-minded and flexible with all English learners! You may be the first opportunity a student has with speaking English with a native, so remember to stay encouraging and polite and give them a chance!
Below we have provided some tips and advice for working with beginners:
TPR is a teaching method know as Total Physical Response. TPR uses physical movements to react to verbal input and can be implemented by using gestures, facial expressions, use of props or body movements. Using body language to associate specific acts like “read, listen, walk,” and other sorts of concepts works because students can more easily associate the specific language you want to teach along with relevant movement. The purpose of TPR is to create a brain link between speech and action to boost language and vocabulary learning, while also reducing student's inhibitions and lowering stress.
Use props and flashcards
Flashcards and props are a great way to assist beginner level students! Props such as toys, books, games, and activities can help to make the experience more fun, particularly if they are used in a manner that enables learners to be physically involved in the learning process.
You may come across a student who is a new beginner and has difficulty forming basic sentences. Flashcards are a great way resource to help learners memorize vocabulary words both rapidly and effectively, and are adaptable for all age groups.
You can visit https://www.eslflashcards.com for access to sets of free flashcards.
You can also make your own sets of flashcards at https://quizlet.com
Use the translation tool in the text chat box
The chat box in the Cambly Classroom offers a translation tool to help you better communicate with beginner-level students! We suggest always saying and repeating the word, phrase or question in English first, then typing it into the chat box for translation. After translating it for the student, it's a good idea to have them repeat it back to you again in English!
Be patient and use positive reinforcement
As teachers and tutors, patience is key! Especially when working with beginners. Keep in mind that this may be the student's very first time talking to a native English speaker, and they will rely on you to put them at ease and help them overcome their fears! Whether it's a 30-minute lesson or a trial call, we encourage you to practice patience while also encouraging the student as much as you can. Offering compliments and positive feedback will help them feel more comfortable!
Cover basic topics / Keep it simple
Beginners may have difficulty forming full sentences or using correct grammar. It's best to go over a basic topic and keep the lesson as simple as possible so they don't feel overwhelmed. Below we have listed some examples of basic topics you can cover with beginner students:
- Introductions (name, age, where they're from)
- Likes & dislikes
You can also find a game for beginners under the Speaking Games in Cambly Courses!