Pros and Cons of ESL in Kindergarten
Learning a new language is not an easy task, regardless of the age it is learned at. Typically it is a little easier to learn languages at a young age, as most of the learning process is done subconsciously and most activities are geared to be fun and informative. It is important to begin learning languages at a young age and begin to stimulate the different parts of the brain involved in language processing. Therefore it is important to begin learning English as a foreign language in kindergarten classes.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Melanie D. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Teaching a young beginner class can be especially challenging as they can only communicate in their L1 language, and have little or no English background at all. This is where games, songs, and chants will be useful in the classroom. These will help students learn basic words and how to use them. This beginner stage will also greatly benefit from visual aids and explanations to help them understand the lesson better. These types of exercises are important in the classroom at this learning stage because the repetition involved in songs and chants will aid them subconsciously begin to store information and begin to process.
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In a beginner EFL classroom, it is important to speak, slowly, and to use repetition as well as visual aids where applicable in the lesson. Especially at this stage in their learning, this age group benefits from visual aids as well as repetition drills to help them understand the lesson in a different way than simply verbal instruction. “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a common saying that I believe is important to any EFL class, especially a kindergarten one. The use of repetition drills is also very important at this age because it will allow students to improve their pronunciation as well as make associations in their minds with commonly used words. This is an advantage to repeating instructions for an activity because when students are constantly hearing the instructions they make imperative connections in their minds that help them to progressively improve their listening skills.
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As the daughter of immigrant parents, I relied quite a bit on my kindergarten teacher to help me strengthen my English. Although I had some basics under my belt, learning how to communicate with my teacher and peers was a challenge. In my kindergarten classroom, my teacher made a very big effort to speak clearly, as well as repeat instructions to help not only myself but also others in the classroom. Despite not teaching English as a foreign language, she made an effort to include many of the teachings learned in this course in her lessons.
With her help, as well as support from my family at home, I was able to communicate fluently in no time. Due to my experience, I believe it is important to begin learning English at a young age and English kindergarten classes should be set up in every school system. With the globalization of the English language, the number of people who require English in their careers has increased significantly.
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English has become a necessity in people’s careers due to it becoming a common language worldwide. Thus, due to the demand for English speakers in the world today, English education should begin early on in their learning careers to allow students the greatest opportunity for success in the future.
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