3 Methods to Teach EFL Kindergarten in a Fun Way
Since younger students have a shorter attention span than older students it can be a challenge to not only manage the classroom but to teach English as a foreign language. Though this might be difficult there are many advantages to teaching younger students. Though young, children are still eager to learn and, with the right motivation and teaching skills teaching younger students can be very rewarding.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Harley G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
1.Teaching and managing younger students
Since young children are easily distracted and have shorter attention spans it’s important to break things up. Spending shorter amounts of time on the actual teaching part and moving on to the activate or in engage phase of the lesson can keep the classroom focused and keeps things interesting. This will help students to less likely become board, thus making the class easier to manage. That being said it’s still very important to go back to the study phase after the engaging activities in order to ensure the classes understanding of the lesson.
It's no secret that younger minds learn much quicker. This is especially true when it comes to language. This is the time to learn multiple languages before habits start to form based on culture or costumes, which can make learning a foreign language much harder later on. That being said it’s crucial for the teacher to ingrain correct pronunciation and grammar as early as possible so that the habits they do form will increase their fluency.
Repetition is the key
It’s essential to review new concepts and lessons in order to keep thing fresh in the mind. This is especially the case for EFL children who will have very little to no understanding of the English language. The Teacher will likely need to keep repeating his/her self in order to help students connect certain words or thoughts together. Repetition along with constant commendation is an effective method because while giving students more confidence. This will encourage students to use the language they have learned.
2. Be Active
This method of teaching has proven to be effective with children. Not only is this way of learning fun but, activities that require hands-on or physical work help ingrain certain concepts into the minds of younger students. The more the students move when they are learning the language, the faster they will understand and retain the information they have learned.
(Total physical response) this is the method of physical hand movements or gestures when you associate a physical movement with language. When teaching children, this method proves to be very effective. Children learn as they move and follow simple instruction by copying the movements of the teacher while learning how to say new words or phrases. At the beginning of the lesson say and repeat the new words to the class. Then demonstrate the TPR. After this, have the class copy your movements while saying the words associated with each gesture. A good way to review a lesson using TPR is to play a game at the end of the class. You sign or gesture a word or phrase and have the students say the word you’re looking for. This creates a fun and engaging atmosphere for the class and puts what they have learned to use.
What’s in the bag?
This activity involves putting items in any non-transparent bag and allowing the student to use their sense of touch. Students then need to think about and guess what could be inside the bag. When everyone has felt the bag and has made their guess, the teacher can call one student to reveal what was inside the bag. Then discuss with the class. “Who was right?” “Why did you think it was this?” Etc.
Also Read: 3 Rules of the Perfect Classroom Management
Act it out
This activity can be done using sock puppets, costumes, and flashcards. For kindergarten, this can really help strengthen conversational language and also reading comprehension. One way this works is by reading a simple short story for example “The Three Little Pigs.” Explain the story to the class then ask questions about the story. For example; “What kinds of animals are in the story?” “How many pigs are in the story?” Then Show the class pictures or flashcards of the story.
Now comes the fun part “The Play” Assign students to be a character from the story have them practice their simple lines, and once the costumes or puppets are ready you may begin. After the play, you can re-read the story and even encourage the students to read along with you. Their understanding and vocabulary will have improved greatly by the end of this activity.
3. Get Creative!
Don’t be boring! Mix things up a little. The easiest way for younger students to become distracted is when the class becomes on board. Doing the same thing for each lesson every week can cause your students to lose interest. One of the challenges of teaching younger students a second language is that they’re not choosing to be there, they have to be there. So, the more fun and creative you make the classroom the more likely your student will be ready and eager to learn.
Games can be very beneficial to teaching because they play on a healthy competitive nature of most children. Games also give students a goal to accomplish. When a student wins the game it’s something that they can be proud of.
Some games to play for learning are Simon says, and I spy “Simon Says” is a great way to practice listening skills and prepositions. (“Simon says put your hands on your head.”)
I spy is a great color and vocabulary game. Use this game when you’re learning about different colors. (“I spy something green.”) you can even use this game to teach descriptive concepts. (‘’ I spy something small and blue.”) These games and many more can be used to teach different concepts and language based on the lessons.
Cooking in class might seem like a bit much, but if you have the supplies and resources it’s a great way for students to learn. When cooking you use all five senses, you can use this as an opportunity to talk about the fives sentences.
Cooking with your class can help them follow step by step instructions and will also greatly improve their grammar and sentence structure. With a younger class, this needs to be in a safe environment and with more than one teacher present helping.
Songs and singing can be a great way for children to learn a new language.Singing along to fun interactive songs not only helps with vocabulary and sentence structure, but it’s a great way to practice pronunciation.
Some fun songs to sing in class are “ABC” of course this is great for learning the alphabet, very helpful for young learners. “Old MacDonald had a farm” is a fun way to learn the names of animals. these songs many other nursery rhymes for kids can help children learn a new language without them even knowing it.
Do you want to teach English in an EFL kindergarten? Take a TEFL course today!
These are just a few easy ways to get started when teaching English as a Foreign language to kindergarten. Another important thing to remember when teaching is to make the learning environment fun and encouraging to help build your students confidence. This will ensure a greater learning experience for both the student and the teacher.
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