How do I encourage YLs to speak English?

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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How do I encourage YLs to speak English?

Unread postby zrosa » 16 Mar 2004, 17:04

I've got a problem. I've been teaching children English as foreign language. But I have difficulty in making them speaking English more often with me. I speak English, they respond in our mother tongue. Is it okay for them,because even if they responds in our lang, their reponse is often related to my question/statement.
Is it possible to speak english for beginner level? I always motivate them to speak in both our languange and english for the words they know in english. But it's soooo difficult. :?

Many things i'd like to ask about handling children. But this one goes first.
I'll be waiting for your response.


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How do I encourage young learners to speak English?

Unread postby Lucy » 26 Mar 2004, 14:07

Dear Zrosa,

You don't say the age of the children in your class, I'm guessing that they are primary age.

Children of this age haven't fully mastered their mother tongue. They can also spend a long time listening to language, understanding it and absorbing it before they start using it. So you can see this period of silence as a natural process.

When you ask them a question in English, they are dealing with two issues: is the answer they give conceptually correct? Is the English correct? You are right in saying that they show understanding when they respond in your mother tongue. So they need to know this. You can praise them for giving the answer, tell them it's correct and encourage them to produce the same answer in English. You can help them build the answer with prompts (eg giving the first word, first letter, etc). They will feel more confident in trying out the English version once they know the answer is conceptually correct.

On the whole, young children like showing that they can speak another language, so give them lots of opportunities to do this. Involve them in story-telling and have them listen and repeat a lot. This will build up their confidence. Songs, chants and rhymes give them the chance to practise the language and get their tongues around the words as part of a group before going on to produce them individually.

You say you have more questions to ask me. I look forward to receiving these.

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