The 4 Challenges of Teaching EFL Kindergarten Kids
Teaching children can sound fun from the first sight, however, it is a difficult job, because young learners are not that fluent in their own language when they start learning the second one. The age group that I want to consider in this essay is from 3 to 7, the kindergarten age.
Lack of Motivation
Parents make a decision to send their kids to learn English in a kindergarten thus kids are not motivated. A teacher can motivate children by making lessons entertaining and interesting. Games can make lessons fun for kids and productive for learning instead of common words drilling, for instance ‘What’s missing?’ game is very amusing for children to play and it prompts them to practice the target words. Active tasks encourage students to follow the lesson and enjoy it, for instance circling the correct word on the board or showing and repeating the words. However, young learners still get tired by the end of the lesson so such activities as drawing or coloring pictures connected to the topic can encourage them to keep studying. During the worksheets, time kids can relax and a teacher can check the knowledge and learning progress of every student.
Short Attention Span
Young learners are very easy to lose their focus thus visual aids can be very helpful. Kids still learn the world so they enjoy touching everything, therefore, toys can be very useful. A teacher can bring the toys connected to the topic of the lesson and use them in games and activities, for example, a student closes his eyes, touches a toy in front of him and guesses what it is. In case if toys are not available, flashcard can help. They can be used for various games besides just showing the words. Building a pyramid out of cups and flashcards is entertaining for kids, it keeps them concentrated and induces them to drill the target vocabulary.
The Importance of Good Relationships
Building a rapport with young learners for a teacher is obligatory. Kids in a kindergarten age are innocent with their wants and fears. Therefore, a teacher should get familiar with students, understand their personalities and build a connection to make them trust their teacher. Children feel more comfortable if a teacher looks silly sometimes as well as it makes them laugh. For EFL teacher it can be more difficult as in most cases they speak different languages with students. Kids are very sensitive and they can feel the teacher’s mood and attitude. Thereafter, a rapport can be built by carrying about kids, communicating with them in English with the use of gestures, supporting them if they failed and rewarding them when they succeeded.
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Kids at a kindergarten age are not used to having classes, consequently, their behavior may vary. Some children can sit still while others can run around and distract kids from having a class. Thus, it is essential for a teacher to set up rules at the very beginning, explain to kids what they can and can’t do. A teacher should follow the rules himself and be fare because kids are very sensitive to injustice. The rewarding system is very useful to control the behavior and motivate them at the same time, for example, if a student behaves and shows his knowledge well he gets ‘stars’ or points and at the end of the course he can exchange them for a toy.
All in all, teaching kindergarten age kids is a difficult but very rewarding job at the same time. They have their honest curiosity that motivates a teacher to keep going. Children are growing day by day and absorb new language fast. When a teacher leads his young learners through their EFL learning path and over time sees their overall growth together with English skills growth it’s a great reward.
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