Teaching a 3-week General English adult course

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Ideas for a 3-week course including detailed content of 1st week.

Courses of 3 weeks and longer require rather more planning than shorter courses. These are some teaching ideas for a 3-week course.

For a 20-hour teaching week you will typically teach for about 3 hours before lunch and for an hour after (Monday to Friday), with breaks where necessary. The schedule below is for Week 1, but Weeks 2 and 3 will have much in common. It is only indicative and the content will of course depend on what the student needs to study.

Example first-week schedule for General English 20 hours (adult) 3-week course

Day 1 (Sunday)
Afternoon: Arrival (sometimes in morning or evening)
Evening: If not already done, consider giving your student a level or assessment gap-fill test, if they have the energy. Otherwise do on Monday morning. Explain what self-access you have for your student e.g. graded readers, use of Internet, dictionaries.

Day 2 (Monday)
Morning: Determining needs. Images of UK lesson? Recording student. Managing student expectations. Speaking activities, vocabulary
Afternoon: Orientation. Student free time. Work on Weekly Schedule
Evening: Watch TV together? Early to bed?

Day 3 (Tuesday)
Morning: Review of Monday’s lessons. Speaking activities, vocabulary. Pronunciation
Afternoon: Grammar focus? Give homework? Student free time
Evening: Introduce student to friends?

Day 4 (Wednesday)
Morning: Check course is OK with student using the mid-week check. Review homework? Vocabulary development
Afternoon: Speaking activities. Student free time
Evening: Pub visit

Day 5 (Thursday)
Morning
: Revision. Discuss course project. Grammar focus
Afternoon: Local excursion with language focus
Evening: Homework

Day 6 (Friday)
Morning: Revision and excursion review. Speaking activities, vocabulary. Pronunciation
Afternoon: Give homework. Shopping with student
Evening: Student choice

Day 7 (Saturday)
Student joins in family activities or excursion. Some student independent time.

Day 8 (Sunday)
Student joins in family activities. Student independent time.

Things to remember

  • Pace yourself
    Three weeks of home tuition can be quite intense so it is important to spread your energy evenly across the course.
  • Consider how you might use a course book(s) to dip in to a little more. On longer courses, course books can provide greater continuity.
  • Encourage independence
    As part of your orientation session, make sure your student knows where local buses and trains are so that they can be independent. Have transport timetables and brochures for local attractions available.
  • Course checks
    Regularly check if the course is covering what your student wants. As courses develop students often change or refine what they want to do.
  • Keep some tricks up your sleeve
    Plan some exciting activities for weeks two and three so that there is something special for you and your student to look forward to.
  • Make the most of project work
    Project work can be suitable for some students on longer courses. It is more likely to work for keen students at intermediate level and above who are motivated to do some extra independent language work. Part of each week can be devoted to a project such as British culture, current affairs, sport, local history etc. It could conclude in a presentation to you at the end of the course.  Some of the project work can be part of normal lessons eg an educational excursion, checking written work and reviewing progress but the bulk should be done outside normal lesson time as independent study. Local museums/libraries, the Internet, friends and neighbours and TV can be used as resources.
  • Revision
    Reviewing work on a daily and weekly basis will help your student remember what has been covered and give you a good sense of their progress. Short, dynamic revision sessions are recommended. They are also excellent opportunities for positive feedback and encouragement.
  • Ensure you have some space
    Make sure that your student realises that you are not ‘on call’ 24 hours a day and that both of you need some independent time.
  • Give homework
    Build in some student ‘homework’ that relates to what you have just taught or what you are about to teach eg short pieces of writing on topics or some grammar practice activities from a reliable grammar exercises book. The amount will of course vary between students. This is a good way of seeing your student’s written work and/or assessing their understanding. Homework can be done late afternoon or evening.
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