With the increasing internationalization of English, most Chinese parents tend to make their children start learning at a very young age (maybe 2-5 years old). If you have just become an ESL teacher or have never taught English to young children, here are the teaching skills you will need.
1. Make and follow a clear lesson plan
ESL lesson plans are necessary in any teaching process. When teaching very young English learners, first thing you should do is to clarify your teaching goals. For example, how many new words they will learn in an ESL class, or teach them how to use some simple sentence patterns (such as "This is..." and “I like…”). For children who are just learning English, ESL teachers generally start by teaching them to say their English name correctly and tell them some simple classroom instructions, such as "stand up" and "sit down". Be careful not to set too high course goals since even remembering and accurately pronouncing the simplest words is very challenging for young children.
2. Keep it simple
Using simple teaching methods and let the children keep practicing the exercises. For example, when learning a new vocabulary, show the card of the word and lead them to repeat each syllable of the word from time to time. ESL teachers can also create some simple English-related games to children, ask them to answer your questions or let students to ask each other to learn a simple sentence pattern.
For adults, it may seem boring to keep repeating a simple thing, but for children with short attention spans, this is a good way for them to learn to speak English.
3. Introduce classroom rules
Every ESL class needs some rules to maintain the normal order of the classroom, otherwise the classroom may become chaotic at any time because of some naughty children.
In the first class, the teacher should clearly tell the children the rules they need to follow in class, such as not eating snacks and shouting in class. Specifically, you can also tell them the meaning of some special gestures, such as putting your finger on your lips to indicate "quiet". But don't set too many rules (2-3) since young children often cannot remember too much information.
Furthermore, formulate a reward and punishment system. Tell them what rewards will be given for following the rules (such as little star stickers), and what punishment will be given for breaking the rules (such as informing their parents about their “bad behavior”). The most important thing is that you should really implement these rules, which will let the children know that you are serious and not playing games.
4. Use games
Directly ordering students to learn English will not work for young children. Only fun classrooms can allow children to take the initiative to learn knowledge. Games are a good way to "cheat" children to learn, simple and fun. You can prepare a set of flash cards and create some simple games in advance, so that children can learn English while having fun and achieve your teaching goals successfully. For example,
Ø House games. Let children name different dolls to simulate real life. If they pretend to go to the supermarket to buy vegetables, they will learn the English names of various vegetables.
Ø Find the card games. After the teacher says a word, the children will find a card with the correct word on it among a bunch of cards, and the child who finds the most cards will win the game.
For very young children, such as 2-3 years old, they may not understand the rules of the game, so you may need to find an assistant to demonstrate with you.
5. Prepare some books and manual activities
Although your students may not be able to read books, you can read interesting stories to them by pointing to each word, so that they can remember new words unconsciously.
Writing words with a pen may not be possible for young children, but you can lead them to do some manual work, such as cutting out 26 English letters from white paper and coloring them; using colorful paper to fold out some cute animals and ask them tell you the name of the animals. This will not only allow children to learn the target vocabulary, but also improve their practical skills.
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