How to teach english
as a foreign language effectively to children
of Kindergarten age.children
are at their most susceptible during the early years, they can absorb as much information as you can give them but they are also vulnerable to ideas and opinions being shaped that will/can influence the rest of their lives.
For example a negative experience of english
during the Kindergarten stage could impact the way that the child feels about learning english
for the rest of his childhood, if not his life.
I will look at teaching techniques, motivation and discipline in this article.
Teaching young children
can be a very rewarding experience, an effective kindergarten teacher
should be patient, kind and able to entertain the children
whilst teaching them.
Learning through play can be described as the most important aspect of learning at the kindergarten stage. Young children
have a longer concentration span whilst playing than they do whilst studying. Instead of just showing pictures/flashcards to teach vocabulary wherever possible the teacher
should use real objects that the children
can hold and play with, for example when teaching about clothes – let them dress up dolls and talk to you about what they are doing. They are more likely to absorb material if they can relate it to something around them that interests them. If possible all lessons should include a game to help children
remember the vocabulary that they have learnt. Singing songs is also a fun way to get children
to remember vocabulary, there are many popular songs that can be adapted for the esl
classroom or if you are imaginative enough you can invent your own. All children
love to draw and getting them to draw or paint things that they have been learning about will increase the chances of them remembering the vocabulary. Remember that children
cannot concentrate on one activity for long and a successful lesson should contain a variety of different activities to keep children
choices to the children
wherever possible so that they remain intrinsically motivated. Young children
are automatically more enthusiastic about an activity when they feel that they have some control and are not simply doing as they are told. This can be achieved by simply offer
ing two games or two songs and asking which one they want to play or sing, both will achieve the same results but the children
will participate more actively in a game or song that they have chosen themselves. Small rewards can often go a long way, there are times when activities will need to be completed and if the children
are unwilling to participate a small incentive can work wonders. At kindergarten age children
can't see any reasoning except their own and not doing something because you don't want to do it is perfectly acceptable in their eyes. Forcing them to participate is counter productive and it is amazing how much motivation a teacher
can derive from a small gesture such as offer
ing a sticker in return for completing an activity.
There are times when children
will misbehave and you will need to discipline them. The way in which the teacher
chooses to do this will determine how successful they are in preventing a re occurrence of the unacceptable behaviour. In the beginning you must set clear rules and explain (maybe with the help of a native speaker) what the consequences will be if these rules are broken. Make sure that the punishments are fair and just – for example if the students listen well then they can play after the lesson, if they do not listen then they cannot play. children
who experience the unpleasant consequences of their actions will be less likely to behave this way again. Sometimes just a reminder of this will be enough to bring a disobedient student back into line. Always keep your word, if the students see that you only threaten punishments but don't actually carry them out then you will lose control over the students. Try to offer
rewards for good behaviour rather than threaten with punishment for bad behaviour – “If you listen to the story then you can play with the toys” is more effective than “if you don't listen, then you can't play” the child will focus on the “can't play” part and feel downhearted and therefore be more likely to misbehave. In my opinion effective kindergarten teaching is based around a variety of activities including concrete materials, offer
ing choices and a ‘rewards for good behaviour' scheme.
Novella Ruffin, Extension Specialist, Virginia