Lexicoblog

The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

In words of one syllable

At the moment, I'm working on some teaching materials for elementary learners of English and I have to admit, it's a bit of a struggle. When I was teaching, I always rather dreaded lower-level classes. As I moved up the teaching ladder, I always made sure I got the more advanced classes and the trend reached its natural end when I moved into EAP teaching at university level.

So what's wrong with lower-level learners? Everyone has to start somewhere, after all. I just find the discipline of keeping my language simple and working within such a restricted range of vocabulary really frustrating. Having been a beginner language learner myself, I know that a whole hour learning and practising the names of vegetables can keep your attention, but as a teacher/writer, it just seems incredibly dull! Writing grammar and vocabulary activities is challenging enough, but coming up with an interesting, intelligent reading text at this level has me tearing my hair out!

I would usually avoid taking on writing for lower levels, but with an unexpected gap in my schedule caused by a delay in another project, this job turned up at just the right moment and I was promised would be quick and simple. ... Remind me to stick to at least intermediate and above in future!

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