3 Must-Have Tools for Teachers of Absolute Adult ESL Beginners

Where should we start? Ok, let assume your adult ESL beginners are literate. Since they can read print, let’s cut to the chase.  

The thing is, your adult ESL beginners should know between 1000 to 1500 base words so they can express their needs and carry out a basic conversation. But how do you teach 1500 words in one semester? Challenging, right?

Before you start pulling out your hair, let me tell you a secret: you can do it!  How ? Yes, you can if you utilize the right teaching strategies and resources. What kind of strategies and materials, you may ask? I am happy to elaborate.

Here are some strategies:

  • Use YouTube videos to introduce new words in context
  • Expose adult ESL beginners to new words at least 4 times
  • Practice everyday dialogues and conversations with the class on regular basis
  • Play songs/music (use lyrics, of course) as often as possible
  • Use short reading passages, on regular basis, to reinforce and review vocabulary
  • Connect new vocabulary to previously learned lexis
  • Encourage adult ESL beginners to think and response in English
  • Use images/visuals to introduce and practice new words in context. And that leads us to the 3 resources that will help you get the job done.  

Let’s dive in.  

1-  The Oxford Picture Dictionary Third Edition: Monolingual Dictionary

  • This ESL resource presents 12 every-day themes and 4,000 English words and phrases (more than what you need). The images make it easy to introduce the new words and their meaning.

2- The Oxford Picture Dictionary Third Edition: Low-Beginning Workbook

  • This workbook presents activities that include everyday vocabulary. You can modify and adapt the activities as you wish. This tool works well with low-beginner adult ESL students.

3- The Oxford Picture Dictionary Third Edition: High-Beginning Workbook

  • Like the previous one, this workbook presents a variety everyday tasks that you can adapt to your adult ESL beginners’ needs. And It’s a good match for high-functioning students. 

To increase adult ESL beginners’ vocabulary is to build their background knowledge in English. And doing so is the best way to set them up for success at this stage. So, make sure you add some ESL picture dictionaries to your teaching repertoire. You won’t regret it!

Please share this post with other Adult ESL teachers in your network. And subscribe to our adult ed blog to be the first to get our new insights
The coach

Teddy Edouard is a Learning Consultant & an Instructional Coach with a passion for Teaching, Learning, and Cognitive Science. He is on a mission to help institutions, teachers, and training professionals maximize the effectiveness of their instructional and non-instructional interventions. Teddy translates adult learning theories and other research into ready-to-use classroom teaching tips and strategies for the benefits of adult learners and instructors.

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