English as a Foreign Language in The Kindergarten
2019-06-19 Elizaveta Pachina Alumni Experiences
Teaching English as a foreign or second language in Kindergarten is an optimal opportunity for the children. In addition to the gratifying feeling most teachers feel when working with children, children in Kindergarten are still in the early stages of childhood and are receptive to new languages and vocabulary. There are many benefits that come with teaching children and there are various ways to present oneself as a teacher to effectively get the children focused on the tasks at hand.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Adriadna F. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Children have their advantages as a class to teach. They have an innate curiosity for the unknown, they grasp information quickly and they have very little knowledge for how a class “should” be directed and therefore would have no prejudices on the teacher. Children in Kindergarten are, on average, five years old and also do not carry the awkward self-awareness that holds back some adults in their journey to learning English. Kindergarten children might also be more prone to practice pronunciation without as much fear to make mistakes and could attain fluidity faster than adults. However, it is not always easy to teach a group of children. Generally, children are rowdy and easily distracted and they might not have chosen to take on a new language. It is likely children are put through taking a foreign language because their parents have enrolled them in a course to do so.
To teach a demographic such as Kindergarten, the educator must be stern at first rather than lenient so that they might be capable of maintaining an ordered and disciplined classroom. Aside from maintaining focus, the teacher must also keep the children entertained. Bored children will not pay attention to the lesson taught. Therefore, teachers must involve activities to engage, fun puzzles such as gap fill as a study part of the lesson and then create and include games in the activation part to then apply what was learned so that the children immediately practice and solidify their new skill. It is important to also keep in mind that at Kindergarten, the educator would be teaching the basics of the language, similar to a teacher of regular classes. The children do not know or understand the grammar and phonetic rules of their own language and are imitating their surroundings. In the classroom, it would be ideal for the children to be learning English as a foreign language effectively so that fluidity, and even bilingualism, can be achieved.
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The way the teacher organizes and arranges the room (in Kindergarten it is common for it to be done in semicircle form or in a few tables) will influence effectiveness. A smart teacher may put weaker students near stronger students so that support may flourish naturally between students. It is important to have clear the differences between young, pre-puberty, post-puberty and adult learners to more intelligently tackle the possible conflicts that the age group may present. However, the English language does not change, simply the angle in which it is taught changes for it to better fit the level of understanding that the class may have. Kindergarten is a great time to teach because it takes a hold of the “sponge-like” minds of the children to allow them to ingest the language easily, whilst also giving a possibly new educator the opportunity to get comfortable with their new career and build confidence with the children.
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