The new school year has started! It’s not really ‘school’ for me – I’m a university lecturer. I also teach one-to-one, which is a good way to try new methods and ideas.
So, two adult men are my new private students, complete beginners. I’ve decided to try something new this year and chosen Global Beginner. I wanted to teach the new students together, but their working routines are completely different. Pair activities, good bye! And there are so many of them in this coursebook! I might take the role of Student B, though.
Now we are doing Unit 1. What I really like about the book is that there are a lot of listening activities. But before using the coursebook or doing something constructive I have a more pressing worry. At the moment I’m struggling with the attitude, so typical of adult Russian language learners. Many people here see classes with a privately-hired teacher as a market place. ‘A kilo of apples, please.’ ‘Here you are.’ ‘Thanks. Here is the money.’ The same pattern is seen here. ‘I would like a kilo of English. Here is the money.’ The idea that the learner has to do something, too, seems ridiculous to many people. ‘The money is paid, the teacher is explaining things, why should I open my mouth at all?!’ So, my task now is to prove that language learning is a process that requires the students to work too. And to make them listen to tracks from Unit 1 at home, too.
Nevertheless, we have already started to learn how to introduce ourselves, practise saying addresses and spelling names, and here comes another huge stumbling block. In Russian the present form of the verb ‘to be’ is used only in scientific texts and old religious books. So, the sentence ‘I am a manager’ has four words in English and only two in Russian. ‘I manager.’ The article is something we, Russians, manage without, too. My students have understood the explanations and they can do exercises in the eWorkbook correctly but when it comes to saying something with the verb ‘to be’, the verb is not there. It is typical of all Russian learners, though, so it doesn’t worry me a lot. At least, at the moment. Besides, the coursebook provides activities where the verb is repeated so many times that it will be hard not to learn it in the near future.
The eWorkbook is the course component my students like best of all. They have already done all the listening and watching for Unit 1. Probably they like the idea of being able to work independently, without my strict control!