A rather rushed response to Karenne’s comments on the previous post. Go on, point out the typos, I can take it!
Here are the obvious candidates for what beginners need most (not all of which I agree with):
1. The foundations on which their future English will be built, e.g. a good groundings in the basics of English grammar, some grammar jargon, numbers, basic functional language, basic language for politeness, the phonemic chart
2. Survival English, e.g. travel English for their next journey; being able to answer the phone at work and put someone through; tactics for breakdowns in communication such as typical classroom questions, mime and drawing; being able to read signs in English, one past and one future form that they can use and just about be understood with, time clauses
3. Confidence that they can learn a language and communicate in it, e.g. by getting them using words that also exist in their language, manageable tasks with personalisation and other real communication from day one, the teacher speaking only in English to show them that it is possible, avoiding language you can’t explain (however useful it might be), lots of revision of things you know they remember
4. Language and skills to improve their ability to cope with and gain from the language around them, usually meaning reaching an Intermediate level of comprehension as quickly as possible, e.g. skimming and scanning, large amounts of high frequency vocabulary, moving to a monolingual dictionary as quickly as possible
5. Good habits- Not being allowed to get away with inaccuracies, study skills, avoiding translation
Generally, my business students need number three and number four will lead to a real acceleration in their progress if they are motivated and is always my aim when I arrive in a new country, but all of it is worthless if I can’t install number three. There is evidence that not enough emphasis on accuracy early on can lead to fossilisation of errors in certain students later on, but as reaching that later point at all is far from certain, I tend not to worry about number five.
More on beginners: