Teaching young learners can be quite difficult. You can literally be going on and on in the classroom thinking you are making progress but they barely even understood your first point. With teaching children, you need to understand that there are various teaching strategies and techniques you would need to apply in the classroom. Regardless of the subject being taught, these various strategies need to be applied. However, for the purpose of this blog post, we will focus on English. When teaching English, an English teacher must be ready to follow specific techniques in teaching young learners. English being a difficult subject requires you give your kids a bit more attention. Below are a few techniques of teaching English for young learners.
Make It Fun
This is highly recommended for teaching young children. It is just the best way to focus them in the classroom. As much as kids love having fun in the playground, that same energy should also exist in the classroom. This will really help take the pressure of learning from them and make them see academic work as fun. Having fun activities for kids that are related to academic work is the best learning environment you can create for them. Once English teachers can apply this technique as they teach English, teaching children would never be difficult for them again.
Use More Group Work
The norm for classroom teaching is a teacher lecturing the whole class at once facilitating whole class participation. This works quite well, but some kids have different learning styles. A solid way of helping young learners grasp English is by making use of small group work. Making use of small groups rather than the teacher-student style can help ESL students learn faster and better. There is no pressure on them when they practice English with their peers which will eventually help them understand and grasp more concepts.
Keep It Short
The truth is when teaching young learners you need to understand their short attention span. So, there is no point in putting long hours in when teaching English to young children. In fact, no ESL lesson should be longer than 15 minutes. Within that period of time keep your teachings simple and understandable.
Make Use Of Themes
When teaching English to children, it is advisable to make use of themes. Themes in this sense refer to focusing on words around a certain topic. Words that focus on certain topics like types of food, clothes, and animals will help improve the process of learning English for young learners.
Do not Pressure Them
The truth is, most little children are more susceptible to learning parts of English than most adults. That is why the best way to teach young children is by applying no pressure on them. This is because, regardless of what you do in class, they are well on their way to being fluent English students. So take your foot off the gas in class, let off some pressure. They will assimilate all your teachings as time goes by. Young learners are better groomed when patience is applied rather than pressure.
Make Your Class Active
Research shows that children learn faster when they are active. So, rather than the typical teaching style of students being in one position throughout, make your class a bit more active. There are a lot of activities for kids that can help them learn faster and better in the classroom. This is one of the most effective ways to teach English to young learners. Having activities in the classroom that revolve around English academic work makes it easier for learning. Your choice of activities for kids in the classroom can range from mystery bags to wordplay. All these activities will help them learn Englsih better.
Understand the Silent Period
A lot of young learners go through something called the “silent period”. This is especially common in students whose English is not their first language. The silent period is a phase were English students say little or nothing. The trick here is trying not to force them to say anything or get past the phase. It is all about patience and understanding of what is actually happening. The reason behind the silence is as a result of them not wanting to make mistakes, they want their words to be perfect so they say next to nothing. Until they are sure and confident, this phase will continue. A good English teacher should allow them to fully experience this phase without pushing them.
Reduce the use of Native Language
It has been a big debate regarding the use of the native language in teaching English. Regardless of how the debate has been going, it has always been advisable to use solely English language when teaching young children. It is easier to teach them anything, from short phrases to songs or even names, they will accept it without having to ask what each word means.
When teaching English to young learners, you need to be realistic. No matter the amount of effort you’re putting in to your lessons you can’t expect them to start giving you long sentences and answers. Rather than focusing on their fluency, it is advisable for English teachers to focus on their student’s comprehension.
Teaching little kids English can be quite a difficult task. However, it is one that will be worth it. Making use of these top ten tips for teaching English for young learners will help improve the results you’re seeing in your classroom.