Child Development and ESL Teaching
Teaching young children is one of a great rewarding experience. Young learners are truly natural acquirers of language. They can easily adapt and acquire language being purely taught to them.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Georgios G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
At this crucial stage of these young learners' lives, they simply imitate everything they see especially their significant others. We, their teachers are one of those significant others who they mimic in any possible way they see and can. This is the time where they start to develop holistically. Teaching English to young EFL students are not only merely teaching the language but also routing into their personal development as well. We teach them to communicate their selves not only to their comfort zones (own culture) but to reach out globally as well.
It's not needed to focus solely on pronunciation and grammar but this time we need to focus on their feelings to communicate and express themselves. In the beginning, it could be simple words but it means a lot to them. When they will vent out frustration of difficulty in learning, we should be in action to motivate, encourage and praise every single progress they are at. I also like that we are not only teaching English but also being an ambassador of our culture as we share them what they didn't know in the outside world.
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Children always have the time to learn through fun play-like active activities. We should be prepared physically to catch up to their energy and show them how fun it is to learn and use English. They develop and learn a lot by taking part in activities. At first, it may be difficult for them to get instructions but if the teacher is keen in giving simple directions not long enough would they be able to enjoy the activity and of course remember what they learn by heart.
Gradually children learn a language through build-up phrases consisting of two to three or four words and continue to build up through constant vocabulary assimilation. The higher the frequency of exposure to English and the environment, the more rapidly they will achieve development.
We also teach English to convey good manners and right conduct necessary for a person to learn and live by. This is what I believe to be one of the most significant aspects we have to communicate and implant with children. This is the stage where they will do innocent things that seems unacceptable (bad-mouthing, physical hurting, etc.) to society and so we need to teach them about how to make things right and live according to goodness.
We usually start with being polite and helping others. We can start this good environment in our classrooms where everyone will respect each other and help those who are in need may it be a big help, a small thing or whatever lending a hand each can give to another. This is also the point where we can help them build friends up to the level of being friends with their family members when they go home. We don't have an idea how much of this simple but significant things will impact a child's development.
As we aim for the success in contributing to every child's development, we allow them to progress and develop all their lives since we started embedding them the virtue of active learning throughout their lives. Let's bring them to the window of global communication.
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