Learning English in Early Childhood
In the past, some scientists thought young learners do not learn as fast as adults. However today even parents are aware of the importance of starting learning a second language early.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Safak İ.
Advantages of Early Start
When people start learning at early ages of their life, they increase the probability of gaining better language skills and favorable attitudes to other languages and cultures. Moreover, it will be possible for them to acquire native English levels without an accent. Besides this being bilingual will provide the kids with many cognitive advantages such as mental flexibility. Looking through different language spectacles, their brain will develop the ability to see a problem from different perspectives. Although it may be daunting facing a class of 3-5 year-olds at first, after putting things on track it will be fun for both teacher and students. Keeping in mind that the students are more close to babies how will we teach them English? This is the subject of this essay.
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Consider the Mix of Abilities
When English teachers enter a classroom in a kindergarten they will find out that kids have various level of the language. They should think as no one knows anything and begin from the start. Usage of songs, visual storybooks, games, routines, and commands will help them reach their goals.
Choice of Activities
Whereas action-based activities, playing games, singing and dancing are more appropriate for the 3-4 year- olds, storytelling, role play, and dramatization techniques can be applied to 5-6 year-olds. Greetings, colors, numbers, family members, body parts, animals, house, furniture, food, clothes, weather, seasons, nature are usually the first subjects. Below you will find some ideas about activities for English teaching in kindergarten.
Nursery rhymes are great because they’re already geared towards kindergarten-aged kids. They’re also fun because they help the students practice simple English phrases, including routines, animals and days of the week, in a way that gets students excited and allows them to move around. Channels like ABC Kids, Dave and Ava, Fun Kids English, Little Treehouse Nursery Rhymes, and Kids Songs can be found in youtube.
Flashcards are also great for teaching English. Firstly teachers can just show and ask what do you see? and answer it themselves. So kids will learn the word. After repeating this several times, the cards may be played on the floor. This time the teacher will tell the students to show one of the flashcards, for example, elephant. The students will run over and there and try to show the correct one. Flashcards can be downloaded from web sites like esl-kids.com. Furthermore, they can be covered with plastic to stand for further use.
GamesThe Main Problems Young English Learners Face In China
Playing games in the classroom also raise students’ interest and motivation to participate in class. It is important to remember that these games need to relate to the language being learned. One good way of getting students to review vocabulary is to play a memory or category game. Students can sit in a circle a start to say words one by one based on the topic of the lesson. The students continue one by one to say different words on the topic until one student cannot think of a word, or repeats what other students has said. They are then “out” and the game continues, or the game resets using a different topic, typically from a previous lesson. Games like Day and Night, Simon Says, Hot Potato can also be used. The very long list can be found on the eslkidsstuff.com web-site.
Using storybooks in class is an effective way to get students to practice comprehension skills, listening skills by having the teacher read the text. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Have you seen the crocodile? By Colin West, Susan Laughs by Jane Willis and Tony Ross, Where’s Spot by Eric Hill, Blue Hat Green Hat by Sandra Boynton, Me Myself by Mikiko Nakamoto and Hideko Kakegawa, Opposites by Robert Crowther, From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, What’s Inside? The Alphabet Book by Satoshi Kimura, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Brrr by Mariam Lim, A Teddy Bear by Mikiko Nakamoto and Hideko Kakegawa, Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley, Colours by Robert Crowther are some examples of storybooks that can be useful while teaching English to kids.
Are you ready to teach English to younger children?
Because of the role of English as a global language and its potential for providing education and employment advantages to English speakers, English is being introduced at earlier ages around the world. Today the most important factor in any child’s education is still the teacher. Keeping in mind that kindergarten students have needs that are completely different from other learners, teachers must always try to be energetic and enter the class with a lot of activities.
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