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Advice needed with very young learners

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Advice needed with very young learners

Unread postby oblique » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:58 pm

I'm in China and have been tutoring TOEFL and IELTS to teenagers and young adults since the beginning of the year. My employer has just kindly "hired me out" to a local primary school. So in 4 days time I have to teach a class of 45 six year olds!! I will be giving 2 lessons per week (with two different classes - so 4 classes a week) - each class is 40 minutes. I taught early childhood briefly about 20+ years ago, but have zip experience with ESL pupils of elementary age. It would seem that these pupils are absolute beginners!

I've checked online resources and I know there are plenty of great ones out there. I can use powerpoint (apparently), and can also hand out resources - colouring in etc. I'm thinking of breaking the activities into 4 x 10 minute blocks with songs, alphabet, vocab themes and a game etc. My problem is the first lesson. Do I start with a welcome song, followed by the alphabet (with big pictures etc on a PPT), or numbers? Do I teach the whole alphabet, or just ABCD? Transitions could be a problem too!

Any advice or hints (beyond the obvious) would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you in advance :D
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Re: Advice needed with very young learners

Unread postby Syl » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:01 pm

Hi, there

The ideas you mentioned are excellent! I like them all, but due to the huge number of kids in one classroom (OMG, 45!!!), there should be some techniques in order to avoid your losing control over the little pupils there. Mainly in the first lesson, in which they don't know you and you don't know them. I'm sure there isn't a way for you to have a list with their names and pictures like we see in the movies LOL, so..... you will have to find a way to get acquainted with the names which is one of the most important things to be in control.

My main advice: avoid frontal activities in the first lesson. Unless you know their names, and you can tell at any moment things like "Johnny, Tom, Dina, stand up" and make a movement with your hands so they understand that they should stand up. But imagine doing this all the time, you will finish the lesson completely nuts.

Now seriously. I've taught little kids and some experience tells me that keeping them busy doing something is at the same time useful in terms of discipline, and can also teach something. If you still have time to prepare this activity I'm going to suggest to you, it might be a good idea to begin with.

Google the words "join the dots words generator online" and you will get to a worksheet tracing words through dot-to-dot generator (you will understand how to work there with the instructions and trying it out). You may prepare four names in each page, and after having them printed, you can cut them out and have strips with dotted names for them to trace. With a list of their names in your hand, you ask them in Chinese "Who is.....?" and hand him/her the strip of paper. Then they have to join the dots, colour and decorate their names. This activity takes some time, you can walk around the class which will help you to learn better where their places are and also their names.

To complete the remaining time, you can tell them that you are going to show them the letters of the alphabet. If you have flashcards with the letters, fine. If you don't, write them on the board: after you write A, ask pupils who have their names starting with A to raise there strips of paper. and so on. And IF there remains some time, finish the lesson with a game. Explain the rules: "If I say 'please' you do it. The one that does without the word 'please" must sit down. Tell everybody to stand up (always with movements) and give them very simple commands, like "stand up", "sit down". Put your finger on your eyes and tell them: "Please LOOK at me" pointing to yourself. Point at each object or something that you want them looking at and say "Look at...". The "sit down" and "stand up" , also "jump", are very exciting because you can all of a sudden say the word "stop!" without saying please and all the class will stop, so it's the end of the game!

I have lots and lots of ideas, don't hesitate asking me, I'll be very glad to help! :) Good luck!

Syl


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Re: Advice needed with very young learners

Unread postby Gromit » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:42 am

Hi there, yep large numbers can be daunting. What you need are activities that allow you to circulate. Effectively breaking the class size up into smaller portions. Some resources that you might find useful can be found on esltoolbox.com

There are other sites out there that also have a good range of materials but this one will save you time when it comes to preparation.
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Re: Advice needed with very young learners

Unread postby Syl » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:58 am

It's just a pity that the site you are promoting is not free. There are thousands of sites or more that give excellent tips and offer printable worksheets, games, tests and many other options without asking a cent. Many teachers can't afford to pay for the services you are promoting. I always insert my site's address because it has nothing to do with formal learning of English. It's explained in another section of this forum what the purpose for my website is: just fun and exposing anyone who wants to learn the language through songs, jokes, riddles, etc. The site is a little bit neglected due to personal problems and slowly slowly I am updating it. But important thing is: not asking anything for it. I pay for it, and don't want anything in return. :-)

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Re: Advice needed with very young learners

Unread postby Anthony » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:04 pm

Hi, there. I've just got the same opinion the second guy gave you, but with a few changes. I'm pretty sure the first lesson most be shared-like with oral activities that could get the students drawned to you, firstable don't make them feel afraid of the new new english teacher, they need you and you them as well. Make them feel in a relaxing atmosphere sorrounded of love and shares. The first lesson based on Vigotski statements most be the principal and what a better way to make them feel better than ever than making them feel as the center of the class. The first most be as communicative as possible, the second one full of comments and listening activities, remember there is a linking between the four skills to be developed in the students in each one of the lessons, and the receptive ones are listening and the speaking and in that way the remainings going on
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Re: Advice needed with very young learners

Unread postby Syl » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:41 am

I don't know who the second guy you mention is... The only thing I disagreed was his publishing a site that charges money, and teachers generally can't afford to pay. Unfortunately I saw his publishing that site on another forum, and it seems that many come here with the sole purpose to advertise. But as you say, the most important thing is to cause the young kids to feel secure and trust their teacher, with whatever activity AND to avoid problems in discipline. A teacher MUST have control of a big class and whatever way he does that is acceptable as long as he doesn't lose that control.

Anyway, I was wondering what has oblique to tell us, he posted his question in the end of August and we are already in October. How have things gone?? Let us know, oblique! :-)

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Re: Advice needed with very young learners

Unread postby Anthony » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:50 pm

Either opinion you stay, I'll keep it out with me, and I've got the same question , Have you had any success with the suggestions given before? How was it like?
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