New job! Young Spanish children! No previous English!

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New job! Young Spanish children! No previous English!

Unread postby jools » 03 Oct 2005, 22:55

Hi Lucy,
I took my TEFL course almost two years ago, and it feels like i have forgotton everything i learnt, now i have my first post.
I actually live here in the village, and my young son goes to the school. The parents on the PTA have asked me to teach their young children. I have 5 separate groups.
One group have never studied English before!
The others range between, studying for one to four years. But having completed my 1st class today, they really dont seem to be able to communicate, except with numbers, colours, days of the week etc.
Please help......where do i begin?

Many thanks

Jools
jools
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Joined: 03 Oct 2005, 22:15
Location: Spain

Unread postby Lucy » 05 Oct 2005, 16:40

Dear Jools,

First of all teaching primary children will be very different to teaching adults. You don’t say the age of the children, so I’m talking in very vague terms. Remember that teaching a 3-year old is different to teaching a 9-year-old. It will also be necessary to do different activities with the beginners and the learners who have been studying for 4 years.

Classroom management is much more important with children. You’ll need to be clear about where you want them to sit, when you want them to move and what you want them to do. At the beginning, it will be better to demonstrate what you want them to do rather than explain it. Be clear with your signs and always use the same signal to start and end activities. For example, one loud clap to signal that students should stop and listen to you. You can explain it in English at the same time. Children are able to understand a lot without worrying about the meaning of every word. As a teacher, you’ll do a lot of talking in the primary classroom. This allows children to get used to the sounds and rhythm of English.

You’ll also need to change activity frequently; children have short attention spans and you should aim for 4 to 5 activities in a one-hour lesson. At the beginning, this will involve a lot of preparation but as time goes by it will get easier. Children will happily sing a song a third or fourth time, provided they liked it the first time around.

Young children can learn very quickly but they tend to learn isolated words rather than complete sentences. They also learn what is relevant to them. It’s normal that one of your classes only knows basic vocabulary. You can start building up their language with simple phrases like “I’ve got a dog”. “I am 10” etc.

It’s a good idea to use a course book as this will reduce the amount of time planning. If you don’t have a course book yet, pick a theme and plan a series of lessons around that. This will be easier and more relevant to children than working on a grammar point. Themes can be food, going shopping, on the farm, Christmas. You can use videos, songs, stories and games that relate to the theme. Once you’ve picked the theme, work on the vocabulary that goes with it. Be prepared to recycle and revise in different ways. You can use word searches, guessing games, picture dictations etc. Going back over the same language but in different ways is essential.

Get the children involved in art and craft activities, have them draw and create things. They learn a lot of language through this; e.g. scissors, pencil, glue, cut, copy, paint. Be aware that children develop at different rates and motor tasks are mastered at different stages. Some children will need help with cutting out or other tricky manual activities. Always have something up your sleeve for children who finish early.

You’ll also need to have a battery of activities to calm students down, e.g. copying words, listening to a story, colouring. Activities to get them moving include guessing games, competitions and anything involving movement. You’ll need to know how to use different types of activity to achieve different aims.

Good luck! If you want advice that is more specific to one of the age groups or one of the levels, please write in again.

Lucy
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