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Several Peculiarities of Teaching EFL in a Kindergarten

Several Peculiarities of Teaching EFL in a Kindergarten | ITTT | TEFL Blog

English as a global language, very young learners are becoming an increasingly bigger market in China. Children as very young learners are in a golden period of language learning. Relevant research supports children have a natural ability to learn a foreign language in the same way they learned their mother language. That's why most people are aware that children learn a language more quickly and effectively than adults. So when can children start to learn a foreign language? The answer must be the earlier the better.

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

Kindergarten teacher’s qualities

For children in the Kindergarten, whether they can meet a good teacher or not will influence directly their language learning to success. A qualified teacher should be kind and patient, really likes teaching, cares more about the learning of the students. Additionally, should be enabled to build and encourage children's motivation by making classes enjoyable, varied and interesting.

Also Read: Two Main Ways of Teaching Vocabulary to English Language Learners

Anticipated problems for teachers

For teachers, facing a group of very young learners is also a challenge for teaching. Normally, young learners only have short attention spans and have no sense of rules or discipline, etc. Perhaps giving an English name to each child will be a good start to establish rapport with them. With this English name, children will be happy to communicate with each other. Children's English names should be used very often during teaching and learning to get children's attention.

Creating English-learning environment

In addition, the teacher can create learning surroundings by English posters, pictures with English words or dialogues. The enjoyable and interesting atmosphere will be helpful to promote children's motivation for English learning. Before class, If I were the teacher, I will talk with the children and will try to learn about what they are interested in, what sensitive period they are at, such as visual, space or imitation, etc. Then I will think carefully what kind of materials I can choose to teach and how can I make my class interesting and attractive. I will consider from following aspects.

Also Read: Skills of the Top-Notch ESL Teacher

  • Visual teaching aids, such as objects, pictures, cards, posters may create a real language atmosphere for children and also attract children's attention. Children's interests and motivation will be enhanced, as well as children can step into a better understanding of the language.
  • Search some materials to supplement from a coursebook, which will be graded to the level of the students. Such as games, rhymes, songs, chants, cartoons and holiday celebrations which offered original language environment. The children in the kindergarten are at a sensitive period of imitation, therefore these activities will improve children's English language sense, especially for the children from non-native speaker countries. Additionally, reward the children's performance, they will be likely to learn more willingly and become more confidently in English speaking by teacher's affirmation and encouragement.
  • Teacher's behaviors patterns such as eye contact, facial expressions, voice, etc. The greater the variations of teacher's behaviors, the greater the effectiveness.
  • Assigning different active tasks, such as role-plays, discussions, retelling a story by given words, which give children further understandings of the lesson. Meanwhile, children can practice what they have learned in class.

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Overall teaching EFL in a kindergarten will be a challengeable task. Teachers should focus on not only teaching methods but also children's psychology. To be observant on children is also one of the factors being a qualified teacher. For these very young learners, they also need a stress free environment for English learning. Teachers should help and encourage them to join class actively. It is important that children have fun while learning.

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