The ABC of ELT

7 Reasons Why I Adore Teaching Pre-Intermediate Classes 

I’ve recently started teaching an adult Pre-Intermediates group again after a few years of having other levels and groups. It’s nice to return to my first level and group and revisit the same level that I honed my skills at in my early years. It’s also reminded me of why I enjoy teaching this level. So here are 7 reasons I adore teaching Pre-intermediates.

1. They have a foundation

Pre-intermediate students have learnt English for a little while now so it’s not all foreign to them. This means that you don’t have to extremely grade your language nor rely on all the methods which you need for beginners. It also helps them to get past ambiguity quicker than lower levels. You get less of those students who demand a translation of a word before they can move on.

2. They still lots to learn

Although they have a foundation, there is still a heck of a lot they have to learn and they (usually) know it. This means that you have some good material to cover, they see their learning a lot and it isn’t hard to find material for them!

3. They have easy to predict mistakes and errors

Linked in with the previous point, it’s not that difficult to anticipate the areas where pre-ints struggle. By a level like upper intermediate, you often find a wide range of issues within the same class. Though this can happen in Pre-Int classes (especially multi-lingual) it is rarer and it makes anticipating issues much easier.

4. They are motivated by rapid progress

Because they have a lot to learn, they notice their progress more and so they get motivated quickly. The move from basic past tenses to using a range of narrative tenses really helps them to stay motivated and know they are improving. This is much harder at higher levels.

5. They don’t know all the “tricks”

There are some activities, resources and “tricks” I like to use (over use?) but pre-ints often haven’t seen these ideas before, or have only seen them a few times. This means they are more effective and more motivating.

6. There are some great communicative activities at that level

Unlike higher levels where you have to cover lots of awkward idioms and rarer occurring language, which don’t necessarily lend themselves to the most realistic and communicative activities [I welcome being proven wrong on this statement. Feel free to share links in the comments]. There are lots of very natural and realistic (as realistic as a classroom can be) tasks which can be employed for students.

7. I’ve taught them a lot

This one is a more personal one but I’ve taught a lot of pre-intermediate groups which means that…

I have some good activities and resources up my sleeves

I have developed some of my own activities and resources over the years as well as come across some great resources from other teachers. This helps a lot to save both time and ensure high quality of activities.

I’ve learnt from a LOT of mistakes

Linked in with that last point, I’ve had my fair share of errors and mistakes and learnt a lot from them and so I’ve refined my ideas and activities.

I have worked on my explanations for certain points

I’ve gone over certain language items many times and I’ve refined the ways that I explain, introduce and present certain items to improve them. I’m still learning and working on these all the time of course.

I feel confident when teaching them

While this might seem unimportant, I know that I project this onto my students and that helps them. It’s good to have a teacher who gives off a feeling of certainty and knowledge. It makes learning feel like a safer and better experience which matters a lot (especially if you contrast that with the opposite.)

There you have it, my highly opinionated reasons why I adore teaching pre-intermediate students. I’d love to know what level or groups you enjoy teaching the most and your reasons why.

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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