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Child Development: Points to Consider When Teaching English to Young Students

Child Development: Points to Consider When Teaching English to Young Students | ITTT | TEFL Blog

These days, young children from non-English speaking countries are increasingly being forced to learn English and many parents believe that their children knowing English will benefit their children’s futures. The demand for English teachers, particularly in Asia, is quite high and this has called for many schools and English learning centers in Asia to look to hire native English speakers. As demand is high, there often is a compromise on the quality of the teachers. Working with young children requires specific skill sets that often can be taught but must also come naturally. This essay will address issues and provide recommendations on what is needed to be able to work with young children that are learning English for the first time.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Matthew K. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Teachers’ Qualities

As the case with anyone working with young children, there are certain qualities and behaviors that the teacher or individual must possess or work on improving. One key quality is patience. Young children often are either shy or ill-disciplined and patience will be required for both ends. Being patient is more than just not being flustered by the children. It involves superior communicating and listening skills which will build trust and rapport with the children. This quality can often be improved through experience and different techniques. Another behavior that teachers of young children should possess is empathy and a deep passion for working with the children. Empathy for the children will allow the teacher to form a caring and approachable relationship with their students, which leads to the children respecting the teacher as an adult figure in their life. Having a passion for the children also makes it more enjoyable for the teacher if they believe in what they are doing, and the children often can realize that. Thus, working with young children requires specific skill sets that need to be developed to be able to teach effectively.

Also Read: The Importance of Establishing Rapport for Successful Learning

How to Set Your Classroom for Enjoyment

Additionally, studies have shown that children can learn new languages the easiest when they are young. With this knowledge in mind, teachers need to take advantage of this time in the children’s life and fast track the learning whilst ensuring the child does not lose interest in the language. There are a few methods to assist with children enjoying learning English. Firstly, as mentioned, the teacher’s relationship with the child is key. The children need to respect and trust the teacher and that could be achieved through patience, communication, and listening. Secondly, the class environment needs to be fun.

This can be achieved through the teacher making the children laugh, smile and feel good about themselves. A fun teaching environment can also mean more than just learning English. Using the English language, life lessons can be incorporated into the lesson so children can associate English and their English class with having a life purpose. Lastly, the materials taught and how they taught are crucial in ensuring the children enjoy learning English. Always correcting the children and forcing them to speak out of their will can easily break a child’s motivation. Encouragement is an effective way to prompt children to learn. Materials also need to be engaging and fresh as children have shorter attention spans. Repetition is also important but needs to be completed with engaging techniques. Thus, various issues need to be considered when trying to teach young children English.

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In conclusion, young children are a vulnerable age group. They are the most dependent yet most able to learn English quickly. Hence being an English teacher for this age group is important. The teacher’s behaviors and qualities must continually be improved to be able to build rapport with the children. The method the teacher uses and the classroom environment that is created also impacts the child’s motivation and ability to learn English. There are lots of responsibilities when it comes to teaching children at that age. Thus, this essay has explained what is needed to become an effective English teacher for young children.

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