08 May 2014 / by Radmila Gurkova

How to teach beginners English as a foreign language- I want, I don't want

How to teach beginners English as a foreign language in the target language only is sometimes a headache for ESL teachers. As it turned out, teaching the function I WANT in English without translating is not that easy. Students tend to confuse its meaning with I LIKE because this structure appears in similar contexts. How to teach beginners I WANT without simply saying "Yo quiero…"? When we tried to find the best way, we found out that students often confuse its meaning with LIKE and getting them to understand WANT, was more than complicated. The question was, what context is undoubtedly related to WANT and not to like? How would we explain it with the means of English only and some visuals and examples?

A team of teachers suggested this fantastic, teacher friendly and simple activity that nails the approach. Enjoy!

Title: I want, I don't want
To encourage students to practice the basic expressions to want in both positive and negative contexts.
Intro: I am hungry. I WANT food.
Are you hungry? Do you WANT food?Positive - Yes, I WANT food.
Negative - No, I DON'T WANT food.I am thirsty. I WANT water.
Are you thirsty? Do you WANT water?Positive - Yes, I WANT water.
Negative - No, I DON'T WANT water.
Activity: Activity #1 - ChildrenIntroduce SS to a child. ''This is a child.''
Ask them, what does a child want? What doesn't a child want?Proceed to children.
What do children want? What don't children want?Activity # 2 - Teens

Introduce SS to a teen. ''This is a teen.''
Ask them, what does a teen want?

Proceed to teens.
What do teens want? What don't teens want?

Activity #3 - Adults

Introduce SS to an adult. ''This is an adult.''
Ask them, what does an adult want? What doesn't an adult want?

Proceed to adults.
What do adults want? What don't adults want?
Wrap up: What do children want? (sweets, toys)
What don't teens want? (homework, vegetables)
What do adults want? (money, holidays)


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