Teaching Skills Essential for Teaching Young ESL Students
The classroom embodies a space where students learn. That space is usually a mixture of varying personalities, learning styles, and student levels. A teacher’s role in ensuring that students learn is of great importance seeing that the teacher serves as a facilitator for all, counselor to some, mentor to some, and disciplinarian to others. Teachers must possess or learn certain skills to be effective in the ESL/EFL classroom. While many factors are influencing the actual outcome of an EFL/ESL lesson, teachers of young learners must be patient, adaptable, and possess good classroom management skills. These skills are crucial for young learners because, on the one hand, they have shorter attention spans, they have fewer experiences and they can get very disruptive. On the other hand, they are more motivated, require the use of their senses when learning, and require a lot of assistance (TuracoGames website, 2019).
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Eunika B. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
To begin with, teachers of all ages need to be patient at all times, however, teachers of young learners need to exercise greater patience with their students. Masters-in-special-education website, (2019) states that “from slow learners to behavioral challenges, it takes patience to keep the classroom environment balanced and in order.” Young learners may not necessarily have experiences that teachers can use to make connections. Therefore, a teacher must exercise great patience as it relates to young learners. This patience must account for those students with learning disabilities, students who are simply acting out, or students who may be bored with the activities.
As teachers try to be patient they must also be adaptable when we meet our students, we must be observant and try to learn about them. What makes them laugh? What makes them sad? What do they like to do? What small idiosyncrasies do they have that can be problematic in the future? By doing this assessment and being patient, we can easily learn how to manage our students’ learning. It is important to note that no lesson will go as planned. A teacher of young learners will have to understand that having supplemental materials or changing the method of presentation when it appears that students are no longer attentive, for example drawing a picture when playing a song doesn’t work. Being adaptable also means knowing how to manage students’ behavior.
With patience and adaptability, a teacher must be skilled at managing the learning environment. Young learners are more motivated, can be more excited, and love to engage in fun activities. These fun games and songs can sometimes get loud and noisy with a lot of movement. The teacher must have simple measures in place to curb students’ behavior when they get out of control. The physical arrangement of the classroom plays a pivotal role in helping the teacher to manage the classroom. Changing the seating arrangement to suit an activity can help students to maintain focus or even to give the teacher a full view of the students. Many times students get overly excited during an activity, so the teacher must have solutions or a means by which he/she will calm the situation to regain focus.
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The three basic skills discussed previously play a pivotal role in helping teachers to create an engaging and effective learning experience. With patience, a teacher can manage the constant changes in student emotions, behavior, and attitude more appropriately. As the teacher exercises patience, she will become more adaptable through the use of several measures to address the issues in the class. Finally, the teacher must establish a good community among herself and her students. This will help to make classroom management easier when necessary. Teachers must become more aware of their students' needs to decide the best way to create an effective classroom.
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