Teaching English in the Kindergarten Setting: Principles and Challenges
English has become a worldwide language, leading to early learning of English in the school context is becoming more common nowadays. It has been suggested that children should master their mother tongue before moving on to their second language. However, if you learn a language after the age of seven, you can never turn it into your mother tongue. You should learn it as soon as possible. After that age, they won’t learn it the same way as they do their native language. This is the reason why there are more and more kindergartens teaching English and what does a teacher need to put in mind when teaching EFL for children?
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Tran T. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Body language challenge
Firstly, You might face a problem where you are the only English speaker and many things cannot be explained with just body language. The language barrier causes several problems, class discipline for example, or when you give instructions and the children cannot follow because it is too hard for them. In higher standard schools, they will have a teaching assistant for you. This is much easier but if they don’t have one, try to explain it as simply as possible and It is important to always use the same structures to encourage assimilation.
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Sometimes children have their heads in the clouds because they don’t understand most of the things you say. To keep them entertaining, first, you need to create a pleasant climate in the classroom where the child is comfortable and create a suitable atmosphere for the play and communication. The best way of working is to set goals at the mouth in a fun and motivating way. Because of the, the main objectives of the lessons are: participate in activities and games scheduled, learn vocabulary and structures through rhymes and songs, understand simple stories and stories with minimal support and visual, recognize vocabulary through play and drawing tasks, follow the routines and basic commands, perform tasks according to their degree of maturity, share and care for classroom materials. To achieve these objectives we have to schedule a series of content that we deal with aspects of language that most stimulate their interest.
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Topics to discuss
Choosing a topic is one of the important things to have a good lesson. The content that works with most classes are colors, numbers, sizes and shapes, the classroom, my family, my house, the food, the body, animals and transport, and according to the season, we will be scheduling the various festivities, Halloween carnival, Christmas and so on. Rhymes and songs are great for entertainingly encouraging children's pronunciation. They should be short and repetitive and accompanied by movement or gesture. Using puppets to tell a story is a great idea to grab children’s attention. We can also use toys, clothes, earrings, dolls, or classroom realia rather than just flashcards. Teachers can use games to motivate them to learn and to make it fun.
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Connecting new to old
You have to emphasize that the child listens and speaks in English and not write it. You should relate what you teach with what children already know in their language that will help them understand it better. You need to speak as much English as possible. You know that children are not able to speak until they have heard for a long time and that is why you always have to create an English environment.
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In conclusion, using your body language, facial expressions are attractive resources to help them understand. Try to use many visual resources for children to understand the meaning before knowing the word. Teachers should always use short simple sentences and give instructions and ask. Teaching English for kindergarten requires your patient higher than adults but it makes you feel very rewarded.
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