teaching children

For questions and discussion about teaching ESL to Young Learners

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teaching children

Unread postby sabribaq » 13 Apr 2007, 14:53

I'm teaching 6 year old children and I would like to know how I can motivate them to speak English. I sometimes use Spanish because they get quickly distracted when I speak English, and they usually don't get my instructions. So..how can I do to speak English 100%? I´m so frustrated :(
I have a bilingual student in the class; how can i help her? she usually gets bored in the lesson and doesn't want to work when we have to copy from the board because she thinks she knows everything about English. Do you think it´s good to make her explain something to her mates so that i don't use Spanish?
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Unread postby keith » 25 Apr 2007, 15:15

Hi Sabrina

Have a look at this article, there are some useful ideas for motivating kids.

Hope this helps


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Unread postby sletona » 03 May 2007, 02:17

maybe you should involve that student into his/her classmates learning. You should make him feel he is important and how important is for him learning more about this language, and if he feels he knows everything challenge him with new things. Make him get interested in what he is going to learn.

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Unread postby ForumAngel » 01 Aug 2007, 14:48

Dear Sabrina,

The bilingual student can be a great asset for you in class. You can define an activity or game and then split the class in two and have the bilingual speaker take charge of the other half.

It is quite normal otherwise for the bilingual child to be bored stiff, I mean wouldn't you be! If you cannot give her the task of helping the others out, so she can learn other skills and feel like she is contributing, then I should let her do her homework for other subjects, anything other than have her totally waste her time.

I would not have any qualms about speaking Spanish in class in order to explain something such as how to play a game. If you speak the native language that is an asset. Give some brief instructions in Spanish then play the game or do the activity in English so that most of the time the lesson will be in English, but the use of Spanish will just help you along and keep the pace going.

To keep the children motivated make the lessons fun. Songs, games and theatre are the most fun in my view.

For game ideas please see:
http://www.teachingenglishgames.com (for 6 to 12 year olds)
http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/3-5.htm (for 3 to 5 year olds)

On both of those pages you can sign up to receive free games and tips that will help your children enjoy class more, and you too!

Kind regards
Shelley Vernon

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use of L1

Unread postby pucca » 10 Aug 2007, 08:59

I guess they need to hear the target language modelled as much as possible, especially if they are not living somewhere where they have other opportunities to speak English. But giving your grammar explanations etc in their first language should give them better understanding to apply to the English that they hear in other parts of your class.

I work with Korean kids in Australia and try to use Korean sometimes to aid their understanding..I hope that it gives them a feeling that they can express themselves more than with their other monolingual teachers, and not use unintelligibility as an excuse.

Maybe you can include scope in individual work for the bilingual student to use her more advanced English skills, as well as getting her to develop her skills by translating for her classmates sometimes.

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Re: teaching children

Unread postby obatala » 28 Mar 2008, 19:55

Don’t forget the input hypothesis stated by Krashen ...the students need comprehensible oral input,in other words, they need the English spoken by you…..

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Re: teaching children

Unread postby oshieroo » 15 May 2008, 07:27

I had a private group lesson of about 8 students. The students ranged in ages from 6 to 12, with varying degrees of language ability. The first two lessons I had with them I was at a loss for words. With the wide range of levels, it was hard to decide on an activity or lesson to do with them. At the end of my second lesson I felt like they hated English and the class. The activities I were doing were either too easy for the higher level kids, or too high for the lower level kids.

In my third lesson I changed it up. When I was planning for the lesson, I focused less on actual teaching of English, and more on thinking about what are fun games we can play? The key was to think about games that even if the lower level students couldn't understand ALL the English, they were still picking up a few words here and there and the older students were still getting some review. But more importantly all the students were involved in the class. When they are all involved, questions and mistakes may arise with the younger students, and I had the older students try to answer them before I jumped in.

For example, a few simple games I used all involved teaching basic adjectives. Teaching all the students basic adjectives like big, small, fast, slow, etc, and then playing a game like 20 questions with them. Students like the guessing aspect of it, and I had the higher level students form questions, and the lower level students answer. Even if the lower level students didn't understand the whole sentence, they were getting exposure to the sentence pattern while the higher level students were getting practice forming full sentences.

In the end, thinking about what would get the students interested in the lesson, and then thinking of how to mix in an English lesson worked for me. Not always the best approach but it can help in some situations.

Hope that helps in some way. Good Luck!
ESL Games, Ideas, and lesson plans by YOU!

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Re: teaching children

Unread postby domgag12 » 16 Mar 2009, 18:36

In my last practicum my teacher was using time points in order to motivate his young students to speak English (so they don't swicht to their L1). At the beginning of the class, you put the numbers 1 to 10 on the board, with a cardboard saying ''English Zone'' beside them. If you find someone speaking French or Spanish during class, you take out one point (going down to 9, 8, 7, etc...). At the end, let's say the classroom has 5 points left, that means they can do what they want (read, talk, play) for 5 minutes.

As they get familiar with the system, they tend to like to have their full 10 minutes. So you will begin to see them asking each other to talk only in English.

Of course, as a teacher, out of an hour you lose 10 minutes, but at least they talk in English.

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