5 Important Things When Teaching Beginner Students
I am an English teacher. I am teaching beginner students who are aged from 3 years and a half to 8 years old. My students are very young learners who normally have shorter attention spans, and have not even completely mastered their mother tongue. They are generally amenable to fun games, singing, and drawing. For my students, they start from zero knowledge of English to a very basic knowledge that cannot be quickly or easily activated, but with these levels, success is easy to see and usually good fun.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Yuan P. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
From what I have learned at TESOL training and day to day own teaching experience, I always remember that children want to play and have fun. I bring the joy of games, songs, toys, puzzles, and movement into my classroom. Use video clips and real objects. Have the children put on puppet shows and do role plays. Teach them children's songs, folk songs, or easy pop tunes. Before the class, I have prepared several games, songs, and props according to my teaching objective. If you use variety in your lessons and add fun to the classroom, chances are that all of your students will learn English better.
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During the lessons, the main teaching method I am using is Present, practice, and production. First present the context and situation for the language, as well as explaining and demonstrating the meaning and the form of the new language. The students then practice making sentences with the language in a controlled way (including drilling) before going on to the production stage where they can be more creative with the language. From my teaching experience, PPP has proved to be extremely effective in teaching simple language at lower level students. There are a few points I think are very important for my ESL class.
Firstly, maintaining an accepting, cooperative environment so the students feel at ease learning English, anxiety, and stress needs to be low for effective language learning. In the classes, depending on the size of the classes, I try to make learning fun by a various approach that addresses studentsâ interest as much as possible.
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Secondly, to know my students are very important to me. Every student is different, gets to know their learning styles, and their strengths and weaknesses. If possible, create a variety of tasks to suit different students in the class. It would help the students stay engaged in the class, and also it is a very effective way of dealing with class management issues.
Thirdly, for beginners, emphasize Listening, children normally learn their language by listening before they speak. Do not force them to speak if some children hesitate or even refuse to speak at first. Language acquisition author Stephen Krashen states that a silent period is normal whether a child is learning her first or second language. At the early session of each teaching unit, I would Present the context myself not letting students say any words, or just a few words, to enhance their listening. After students have a certain amount of input from the teacher, at the stage of practice and production stage, the teacher should change their role to the situation without being dominant, give students a lot of practice in speaking in a variety of communicative activities, have them use English to accomplish tasks, during the activities, the teacher must be able to inspire confidence in students, praise as much as you can, correct their mistakes as a parent corrects a child learning the first language.
Lastly, Have fun yourself! If I enjoy the lessons, then my students will too.
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