Teach English in Chengguan Zhen - Baoji Shi

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The kindergarten is the starting point of the children’s formal education. The kids are usually around 3 to 6 years old. At this age, the children have not fully developed their capacity for focus yet. As a result of this, their attention span is very short. Moreover, they are not goal oriented, so their source of motivation are the activities they are doing at the present time. Because of these two factors, the main challenge of an EFL teacher in a kindergarten is keeping the kids stimulated while learning English. In order to have the students engaged, all of the activities of the lessons must be fun. At this age, the children will respond better to action-based activities. The teacher can explore the creativity of the children and incorporate physical movements in the activities. Hence, the lessons should involve playing games, singing, dancing, drawing, painting, doing craft work, and miming. Another powerful activity is story telling. Human beings, in general, are naturally interested in stories and this is not different for young learners. Even the children are less active in this kind of activity, it is still quite motivating if the content of the story is relevant for them. There are several advantages on the usage of story telling. Children’s story are usually predictable and it contains many repetitive patterns. This is beneficial because it increases the general understanding of the story and reinforce the vocabulary and grammatical structures the students already know. Besides the type of the activities, it is also important to think about the length of the activities and the variety. Even though young learners enjoy the comfort of doing activities that are already familiar to them, adding some variety to the lessons make the kids less likely to get bored. This diversification can be achieved by changing the materials to be used, presenting new ways of doing things, interspersing high energy level activities with low energy level activities, and working on different skills, preferably in different orders from lesson to lesson. In addition to this, it is essential to keep the activities short (from 5 to 10 minutes) and linked to one another, since the attention span of kindergarten students is extremely short. Making the lessons enjoyable increases the student’s engagement but young learners are also moved by another strong motivational factor, which is the teacher’s approval. Praising the children by their effort is a great motivating tool. By doing that, the children will tend to work harder in the activities to please the teacher. This can be done by using stars, smiley faces, stickers or simply letting them know how pleased the teacher is with their progress. However, the praising should be concentrated on the progress and effort of the students, not on their natural abilities. Praises based on talent make them to think they are not able to improve in certain areas, so they become less willing to take risks and try new things. Praises based on effort stimulate the children to work harder and make them more confident. To keep their confidence high is also necessary to make the activities challenging but achievable for the children, so they will not feel frustrated. In conclusion, the key for a successful EFL lesson in a kindergarten is keeping the students constantly engaged. The activities should be fun for children, so they should be mainly based on actions. The activities should also be short, linked to one another, diversified, challenging and achievable. Additionally, the teacher must motivate the kids by praising their effort and progress. The accomplishment of these aspects leads to a conducive environment to language acquisition.