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Teaching English to Children
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I taught elementary school children in New York for a number of years, and I found it to be a wonderful experience. Of course, one needs a lot of patience and a great love of children. Once you show them you are interested in them, you can accomplish wonders. One mother admitted to me that her child from my class , would talk to her beginning with…”My teacher says… or “My teacher does it this way…” If you’re looking for devotion of this kind, well then teaching children is for you!
It’s often amazing
how much children can retain. They can remember what you
did in class the week before, because it may have referred to
them personally, so it was important.
The main thing
When the children
are kindergarten age, you have to realize that they have a very
short attention span. You can prepare a great lesson
and then find that after only 10 minutes (with not even half
what you planned , done) you’ve “lost them”.
I’m not going to
list or explain the activities yet. I’ll have time for
that in the following articles.
Let’s not forget they also have good memories. When you teach them a poem or a rhyme, you’ll find that it won’t take them long to remember it. They are fascinated by sounds and I find rhymes are great to use as a start.
The clue here is Repetition. Children adore repeating the same actions . They are “born” as well, with a natural impulse to reproduce sounds. This can be a great help to them in acquiring words in English. I’m not saying that the activities should be monotonous. On the contrary. It’s up to the teacher to find new ways to stimulate them. New word games, oral activities (I advise choral speaking so everyone is sure to participate), and above all learning songs, especially if they are accompanied with actions.
It’s good to point out immediately that there will always be some students who will need more help. The shy ones have to be drawn out and it doesn’t hurt to prepare group activities so while one group is working, the teacher can sit near those “needy” students to evaluate their progress and give them a chance to communicate too.
Don’t underestimate the value of a “decorated” and colourful classroom. Children have need of seeing as well as listening. Pictures that are labelled with English words, word cards to name the objects in the classroom, and last but not least, their own personal drawings with an illustrative sentence. All of this contributes to the learning situation.
This is only an introduction to teaching English to young children. I’m going to go into more detail so as to be helpful in an actual class situation.
I sincerely hope that the future English teachers will find my suggestions interesting and useful.
Maybe it’s wise
to keep this in mind if you want to teach children.