I’ve recently finished CELTA. Great course, and really helpful. But obviously you can’t learn everything in 4 weeks, and there’s something I’m pretty curious about: “How do you start off a class of complete beginners?” (Adults who’ve never seen the English alphabet before)

I’m assuming that you don’t hit them with the whole alphabet straight away; that you would teach it in increments.(?!) Teaching introductions and greetings first off seems fairly logical, and another teacher suggested teaching the verb “to be”. (?!)

Any thoughts/feedback/ insight, on all of this? I’d love your help. Thanks heaps…
I'd teach them something useful, so greetings "hello, my name is ... what's your name" seems complicated enough.

I would teach the alphabet in stages, but you could start some form of word recognition with "my name is", and give each student a badge with their name on. Don't forget that reading and writing have more aspects than simply recognising the alphabet: e.g. do you read right to left, left to write, top to bottom? Do you write above or below the line? etc.

You might find this site useful. All publications from DFES are free, and the Core curriculum gives a clear plan. You can also get Teacher and student notes for all levels, which should help you enormously in planning your class

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/curriculum_esol /

Just click your way through this, and you will find on line suggestions for teaching.
Try out our live chat room.
Thanks heaps Abbie. That's a great site!
Just to shed some light to what you've mentioned there, there's something called 'false beginners'. Adults at some point must have heard words in English like Hello, I, Yes, No, etc. Things that may look small but that indeed help when you're teaching your first class. They have an idea of what it's all about so it's not that hard.

Good luck
Teach pronnunciation at first of the alphabet and how each letter sounds in a word, this method is the best, because when the student reads a word he/she can say it without any error just because he/she knows how to pronnunciate each letter in a word. Then you can teach them greetings, body parts, characteristics, etc.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I begin with greetings and introductions, then I teach three verbs: to be, to have, and (to be able to) can. I use a few adjectives with To Be, a few nouns with To Have, and a few action verbs with Can. My first handout is Bilingual. My second handout is also bilingual but in the Past Tense using the same three verbs. I teach family members (mother, father,etc.) and common objects, for example: Clothes and food. I teach colors, numbers, common objects in the home, at school, or at work.