Why Should Young Children Learn English?
Today studying English is one of the most important and prospective goals of the modern world. The age of students has changed and parents are trying to start their children learning a foreign language as early as possible. Preschool-aged children are the most favorable for this activity.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Olga O. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Early education develops the psychological function of the child, meets their intellectual needs, creates a great opportunity to generate interest in the linguistic and cultural diversity of the world; respect for languages and cultures of other peoples.
Passion, proper training, and love for the kids are the most significant requirements for teachers who teach English in a kindergarten. Teaching young learners requires a different approach. The game is the leading method for preschool learners. Successful language acquisition is becoming possible because children of that age have more flexible and rapid memorizing language materials; the absence of a language barrier (kids are not afraid to use a new language).
Preschool children have good conversation hearing and language memory. They have a very strong emotional and image sensitivity. The sounds of the language and rhythm of speech for children are more important than lexical meaning or grammatical correctness. Most preschoolers are sociable and they have no those psychological barriers and fears (adults are afraid to make mistakes); they are curious and trying to know the world.
Most important purposes in teaching preschoolers are:
- Creating elementary communication skills in using a foreign language
- Ability to use language to achieve their goals
- Expressing thoughts and feelings in real life
- Waking interest in everyday life and culture
- Intellectual growth and development of their personality in learning a new language
- Improve in linguistic capacity
Basic principles in teaching English in a kindergarten:
- Learning without any pressure
- Learning through the game
- Progressing levels from the beginner to intermediate
- Creation comfort conditions and appropriate environment
Teaching EFL in a kindergarten stimulates the development of cognitive and social activeness, intellectual and conversational performance, self-confidence, memory, attention, and imagination. It is very important to change activities as often as possible. Children have unsteady attention and usually, they are getting tired of monotone activities.
Strategies for teaching children in a kindergarten:
- Teachers need to use multimedia and concrete objects to create a connection between language and teaching object
- Speak slowly and clearly, don’t use difficult words and difficult grammar constructions
- Use body language and gesture when saying new vocabulary
There are many different teaching methods and techniques. The most basic and widely taught method is ESA. But what is ESA? ESA – Engage, Study, Activate. These elements teachers use when teaching students a foreign language.
Phase Engage (5-10 min)
during this phase teachers, should help students to the warm-up conversation and give a positive spirit for the upcoming lesson. Examples of Engage Phase: * Active games * Dances * Music * Discussions * Stimulating pictures * Drawings * Mime This phase is very important, especially to beginner students, because warm-up is becoming an additional instrument for extrinsic motivation. Students can speak even with poor language proficiency, that’s why this “small talk” is worth its weight in gold. Engage phase gives the teacher a chance to include all the students in the activity. It is the possible language used here that should be in line with the language used later in the lesson.
After the teacher has engaged children and they are comfortable with using the English language they can move on to the next phase – Study (10-15 min for young learners). During this part of the lesson, the focus is on the language and how it is constructed. It means children will learn new vocabulary and how to use these new words. Teachers can correct students, and help them to find mistakes. Some examples of Study Phase: * Matching games * Example sentences * Drilling * Worksheets * Group work * Tongue twisters
Phase Activate (15-20 min)
is considered the main stage of the lesson. In this phase, teachers should see how children understood new material and other languages that they have learned. It means the Study phase includes revision and extension of previous material.
Examples of Activate phase: * Roleplays * Communication games * Story building * Discussions * Debates
So why should young children learn English?
- Children absorb everything like a sponge, this also applies to learning the language.
- Bilingual children are smarter than others.
- The English language is the international language of communication.
- Children who learn a language when they are very young have a much better chance of not having an accent when speaking a foreign language.
- Self-confident. Every English teacher knows, the biggest problem of adults – total disbelief of their potency. Children don’t have this problem, they are sure that they can speak English.
- English is fun!
Therefore there are plenty of reasons why young children should learn a foreign language in kindergarten.
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