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Interesting Ideas for Having an Effective ESL Circle Time

Interesting Ideas for Having an Effective ESL Circle Time | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Teaching a new language to children can come with many challenges because there is limited time and sometimes limited attention spans. To effectively teach a new language, children need to have a feeling of confidence in the fact that they can perform what they are being taught, and the element of having fun while learning. Children, just like adults, need repetition to effectively learn a task. Repetition Repetition alias Drilling: Is it an Effective Way to Remember Language Points? will allow a child to mentally prepare themselves for a task that will happen at a certain time of the day, therefore they can begin to anticipate what their next task will be and how to perform it because it was done the same way at the same time previously. This process is demonstrated through the activity of Circle Time.

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

The children are instructed through lessons that are different from a regular classroom, due to the fun and simple concepts that are being taught through songs, plays, and games. The purpose of Circle Time in an ESL classroom is to create a fun, interactive and approachable lesson that further assists in learning a new language.

When Using Circle Time in the ESL Classroom

There are several activities that a teacher can supply to make the learning a fun and easy to grasp session. By using Circle Time activities children are given different opportunities to grow in their self-confidence, communication skills, internal processing and understanding, along with learning how to listen and perform given instructions. Circle Time activities include short conversations that allow a child to give an easy and direct response, questions such as, “Hello, how are you?” or, “What is your name?” and “What is your favourite food? (or animal, colour, ice cream, etc.)”. These simple questions are used daily outside of a school setting and therefore carry an almost natural response due to the repetition.

Also Read: Circle Time in Early Childhood

If a child is feeling uncertain, anxious or stressed, difficult questions may only add to their distress, but when given simple questions, they are more likely to relax and feel at ease because they are given questions they can easily answer. Once a child can understand basic words or phrases that they feel confident in, then a teacher is able to increase the difficulty but keeping the task simple to increase the child’s personal confidence level.

Circle Time is Fun

One of the best ideas to assist a child’s language development through Circle Time is to add an element of fun so that children will want to participate. Activities that are fun and can help children come out of an anxious or uncertain state of mind include activities that involve singing songs that are silly or have an easy beat to them to help a child remember it.

Songs include the ABC’s, B-I-N-G-O, or London Bridge is Falling Down. These songs are beneficial in helping a child understand what they are learning, but with a memorable sound to the lesson. Songs are an exceptional way to teach children different concepts such as colours, days of the week, and even the weather.

Dancing while singing songs is an easy way to get children involved in learning these songs. Through dancing, it allows children to release excess energy while still learning and remembering what they are learning while singing along with others.

Also Read: 5 Fun Activities for Students of Different Age

Another activity that allows a child to release their energy is through playing games such as Simon Says, or Can You Touch Your Toes. Through playing these games, a child can focus on given instructions while still having fun and enjoying the challenge of being able to complete a simple given task with confidence.

kindergarten students game

Circle Time to Manage Children’s Emotions

There are also times when a quieter approach to an ESL Circle Time is required to help a child relax and enjoy a calmer state of mind while learning. Children often benefit from having a teacher read books to them, however, they are more likely to become involved in the story if they are asked to perform certain expressions or sounds from the story they are hearing.

Reading a story and getting children to act out the different emotions of the storybook characters through facial expressions, words, or actions are beneficial in helping children learn about these emotions in their own lives.

This also assists in getting children comfortable with the emotions they feel as individuals and feel confident in being able to express themselves. Children often benefit from being involved in performing fun and easy tasks that allow them to have a voice and to be fully heard. The use of Finger Plays is also a simple way to allow children to become involved and learn how to associate words and phrases along with their meanings to better their own understandings. These plays often include topics that are easily relatable to a child and their daily life such as, opposites, family relations, simple actions, shapes, and sizes, and describing process and actions. Children that can causally relate to a fun language learning exercise are able to grasp a concept much faster than being taught directly without visual references.

When instructing children with ESL Circle Time activities.

There is a greater chance that the outcome will be better if one is over prepared to teach these lessons. It is of great importance for teachers to have multiple visual items that will capture children’s attention close by, so they do not have to stop in the middle of a lesson to find items to help their instruction.

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The more visually captivating items are used, the more it will allow for a greater outcome of the daily lessons, and therefore a much greater outcome of a student’s language development and interaction. With Circle Time activities, a teacher can pinpoint everyone’s strong and weak points, then adjust their lessons to better suit and assist their students' needs. These things will assist a teacher in having the best ESL Circle Time. In conclusion, ESL Circle Time is an interactive teaching strategy that is a multiple learning level and age group-friendly, one that is easily adaptive and makes learning a new language fun for those participating.

Running out of ideas for Preschool Circle Time? These ideas will help build a sense of togetherness, (community) a time for sharing, and a fun learning environment for the kids. Enjoy!

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