Talking about forms to elementary kids

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Talking about forms to elementary kids

Unread postby miyukiz » 04 Apr 2010, 15:01

Hi,

I'm writing because I might have to teach elementary students. I actually have taught Japanese as a foreigen language in the United States for several months to elementary students born there. I'm writing these quetions based on the experience there. I used some of the games and songs. But I also tried to talk about some about the forms. Then I had some questions about teaching a foreign language to elementary kids.

I can somehow deal with aspects that are easier to understand to Japanese L1 learners, such as adjectives, adverbs, knowing differences in word order, parts of speech, either in games/songs or grammar explanation.

But I just wonder how I can let them understand English-specific forms.

For example, if we try to put grammar rules into use, we can just say "When we ask anybody to do something, we say "Can you ...?" "And we have to put CAN at the beginning of the sentence, before YOU, and the verb comes after that." But if a student would ask me "Why?" I can only say "Because this is what it is." As a teacher, saying "Because this is what it is." might not be a right comment, because that does not sound like a teaching. I could use some grammar terms such as explaining what are helping verbs, but I'm not even sure if they listen to the explanation or if that help them acquire the language and use it. I had problems with talking about forms especially because they are elementary kids, whose attentions tend to go different places. I even thought talking about form never work for these kids, but I still need to ask for your opinions. I still understand teathing a language often ends up saying "That's what it is." though, I need to know more ideas.

Would anybody help me out?

Thank you,

Miyuki
miyukiz
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Re: Talking about forms to elementary kids

Unread postby Jo » 04 Apr 2010, 16:45

"Because this is what it is" is often a good answer, especially for "elementary kids". I guess you might be saying it in Japanese, but in English it usually would be:
"Because that's the way it is." :)

If you really want to get into explaining the forms, you might want to explain things as they are explained at:
http://www.englishclub.com/grammar

Your "CAN YOU..." example comes under the function of "asking someone to do something" but its form or structure is technically a question. You could explain question structure as shown at:
http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verb ... ucture.htm

More about the particular CAN YOU... form at:
http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verb ... _can_1.htm

By explaining the question structure for CAN YOU..., you don't have to repeat yourself quite so much for similar functions such as requesting permission (MAY I...) etc.
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Re: Talking about forms to elementary kids

Unread postby miyukiz » 04 Apr 2010, 20:33

Thank you for your reply. It looked good to me to quickly compare Japanese and English language. (The book the school provided was also good, though, sometimes too tough to me.) I will get some ideas from them when I talk about forms, then.

To be honest I was thinking some of the direct methods also work, seeing the preschoolers jumping and walking singing "I can jump, I can jump, I can jump and jump and jump. I can walk, I can walk, ..." with the teacher. At the beginning of the lesson I will use the direct methods and then if they seem to need something more, I will talk about the form, too. Just like some of you say, we can use some of the songs that have repetitive parts that make them understand some of the forms, correct? Once I saw them quietly listening the translation. But it still looked to me so amazing that little kids try to understand translation. Maybe they were just so curious. I think I should make it easier, breaking everything down to small parts so that they can go step by step.

Thank you,

Miyuki
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Re: Talking about forms to elementary kids

Unread postby petershell » 23 Sep 2010, 11:10

Hello,
In Korea I just tell my students that we do that because it is the law of English and they accept that because they are used to hearing about the "laws" of the Korean language in their Korean classes.
It works!!!
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