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I teach english to Adults 
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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 2
Location: Santiago de Chile, South America
Post I teach english to Adults
I was asked to teach english to a group of adults who have no knowledge the language. I have only 24 hours to finish the job.
They are office workers such as secretaries and office workers in general, (not managers or bosses...).
They must learn things related to their occupations.
Where can I get flashcards, games, pictures, etc.
Please help me!!!
Thank you!!!


Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:39 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
24 hours isn't a lot of time for teaching anyone any language. It sounds like you'll need to do some speech acts with them build vocabulary and hope they'll be able to understand what is said back to them. I teach some nursing students from zero and I have 45 hours. I can only lay a general foundation of present tense, past and future in this time. I teach them medical vocabulary and several necessary speech acts, but they're not able to understand what people say to them outside of the coded role play answers. I generally just hope to foster a desire to study English after we are done.

Flashcards are good but with your limited time and actual goals, you may be better off with direct translation worksheets to help them learn the new vocabulary, quickly. Also, just the words written on small flashcards work fine for adults. The pictures are great to have but adults can do without. You can still play all of the same games as children and young adults play with those word flashcards. Adults enjoy the learning side of those games as long as it's a game where they learn. Also, adults enjoy fun learning as much as young learners do.

I actually sat down to give you some useful sites but now that I think about it, I don't know of anywhere that has flashcards with pictures directed at adults. has some great activities for high schools students and some survival English activities. You might be able to use them or get ideas from them.

Maybe some others have better advice for you.

Good luck!

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:12 pm
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Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:27 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Austria
Sounds like a tough assignment! I teach adults, and have tried using Mark's hand-outs, which are great for beginners, a library of useful words. I know adults might not need the pictures, but it certainly makes learning more entertaining. I don't know if Mark has a set of flashcards intended for office use. If not, you could make your own hand-outs if you use the tools available in

I think Mark's flashcards are much better, (his are the best) but of course it is against the rules to change them.

Secondly, you could try teaching simple phrases. If the phrases translate easily into their mother tongue, they will learn faster. For example, in Austria, I can teach them the word for desk (Tisch), or I can also teach them the phrase "here is my desk" because it is so similar to German that the students latch on quickly. Because your time is so limited, I think Mark is right about using direct translations and worksheets. Kids soak up new words more easily, whereas adults will constantly want to know: how do you translate this and that.

I've also used the dialogues in Bogglesworld. They cover the topic well, and they add variety to each situation. But you might find them a bit too advanced if your students are raw beginners. If you have the time, you could go over the phrases which you believe your students will need most, and then revise the dialogues, tune them down a notch, to simplify the conversations. Give them dialogues to try out. Most adults I've worked with enjoy pair work; they like to get a chance to practise. Change the partners often.

You can get your students to move around a bit by setting up different stations in the classroom with different, or related, dialogues. If, for example, you are teaching phone dialogues, a few stations could be:
1) the number is busy (that one is so easy that they love it)
2) the person you need is not there, so you leave a message
3) the person you need is not there, but you don't want to leave a message
4) you reach the wrong number
5) you finally get through and hold a short conversation.

You can always spice up the dialogues by adding something unusual which makes your students laugh. For example, if someone phones and wants to talk to (a person), you can answer that the person is in the bathtub. Again! It sounds silly, but if the person happens to be one of the participants, they all begin laughing. I like to use the participants' names. It makes it more personal. And I throw in something kind of weird, but easy to understand. They catch on fast, and they enjoy the material.

Good luck and have loads of fun! :smt023

Tue Oct 03, 2006 8:03 pm

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 2
Location: Santiago de Chile, South America
Post I teach English to Adults.
Thank you very much for your response. You have been very helpful. :-)


Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:12 am
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