I have chosen to write my final tefl
assignment on teaching efl
kindergarten. I have been a kindergarten esl teacher
for two years. Part of those two years was taught before I had training as a teacher
. I used my imagination and very little resources to try to create a curriculum suitable for this age group. However, part of my teaching experience was during the time I was taking this course. Using the information I learned here as well as my extensive trial and error format, I believe that I have evolved into a competent and valuable teacher
. Throughout this article I will discuss how to teach english
to kindergarteners, not in an english
kindergarten, but in a school where english
is taught as another school subject like math or science.
Kindergarten is all about having fun. It doesn't matter if students are learning science, math, art, or english
, if it is fun they will listen and they will be enthusiastic learners today and in the future. This being said, the engage phase must be extremely engaging, and the study and active phases should be varied and entertaining. Songs with hand and body gestures are great ways for students to learn words and phrases and young children
love movement. Students will be much more successful learners if they have time out of their seat. It is very difficult to keep a four year old sitting for thirty minutes! However, the Weather Song gets old very quickly and though students are quick to remember lyrics and hand actions they are also disenchanted very quickly. The key to kindergarten is diversity and discipline.
“Discipline” doesn't mean strict. Discipline refers to the class structure. When students are familiar with the class' order they are mentally prepared for class. I usually use following structure: first I say hello to the class and ask them the same questions
that they know, such as “how are you?” and “how's the weather?”. Asking the same questions
gets them warmed up and ready to learn but gives them confidence because it emphasizes speaking familiarity. Next, I sing the same “Good Morning Song” which is fun and short. Next, the students sit down and I read them a story that has to do with the upcoming lesson. If I am teaching the students about fruits, I will read a fun and simple book that involves fruit in the story. It should contain some familiar vocabulary but also provide an introduction to the lesson. Next, I follow with another song that the students know about or are just learning. It is best to have a diverse song library so students don't get bored with the same song. Add actions to the song to make it more fun. Then the students sit back down and we start our lesson. Visuals and verbal drills work best because they provide the students with a picture to remember and to help them understand the lesson. Kindergarteners are like sponges and verbal drills are very useful tools that work very effectively. Lastly, I give them an easy worksheet or coloring page. This gives their brains a break from so much information, lets them talk to their classmates, and gives me the opportunity to help students one on one.
A main difference between teaching kindergarteners and older students is class time. Kindergarteners do not have the attention span of older students even when the class activities vary greatly and are fun. This is most true when teaching a total emersion kindergarten class, where the teacher
only speaks english
and students, who have had no previous exposure to english
, can lose interest quite quickly. When english
is taught as a subject, rather than as an english
kindergarten, classes kept to thirty minutes are best, especially if no written or coloring activities are involved. I have taught at kindergartens where I was only allowed to use repetition drills, songs, and games (no writing, reading, or any on-paper activities) and found it difficult to use the whole thirty minutes without children
becoming bored or disinterested.
Kindergarten is one of the most rewarding and entertaining age groups to teach. As a teacher
you must focus on a well structured ESA lesson but vary your approach to keep students interested. Remember, they are five years old! Keep it educational but keep it fun.