Absolute Beginner English Present Simple

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Now that students can communicate basic ideas with the verb 'to be', it's time to make a huge leap to include the present simple. At this point, learning becomes a lot more fun, as students can begin learning various verbs and talking about a number of subjects. However, introducing the present simple needs to be down slowly beginning with students only responding to your questions in the present simple.

You will need to do a fair bit of modeling during the introduction of the present simple. It's a good idea to take in illustrations of various jobs, as most students will intuitively know what people in the various professions 'do', and will be able to therefore infer the meaning of new verbs introduced.

Teacher: (Model the questions to yourself) Ken, what do you do? I teach English. - Ken, what do you do? You study English. (Model new verbs by accenting the verb in the response. This use of accenting differing words with your intonation helps students learn the verbs which they will be able to infer because of past lessons.)

Teacher: Paolo, what do you do?

Student: I study English.

Teacher: Susan, what do I do?

Student: You teach English.

Continue this exercise around the room with each of the students. If a student makes a mistake, touch your ear to signal that the student should listen and then repeat his/her answer accenting what the student should have said.

Once you've finished this basic exercise, continue with each student taking on a job. Check that each student knows the names of various jobs. You can extend this by asking the question, What do you do at work? This question allows you to bring in other simple verbs and phrases such as help customers, use a computer into the lesson.

Teacher: Mary, what do you do?

Student: I'm a teller.

Teacher: What do you do at work?

Student: I help customers.

Part II: Present Simple - He, She

Teacher: (At this point, take out a number of images - five or so - and model what the different people do, repeat a number of times) What does he do? He drives a taxi. (accent the 's' to make students aware of the conjugation)

Teacher: What does she do? She works in a hospital. etc.

Teacher: Paolo, what does he do? (pointing to an image)

Student: He works in a bank.

Teacher: Susan, what does she do?

Student: She flies an airplane.

Continue this exercise around the room with each of the students. Make sure to ask students to check themselves as you repeat the incorrect sentence. If they are still unable to produce the correct sentence, model the sentence to help them get going.

If your students are more advanced, you can find more ideas and exercises in this guide to teaching the present simple

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