Teaching children

For general discussion between ESL teachers.

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buniac
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby buniac » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:05 pm

I can understand your distress when it comes to teaching young children. Here are some tips to improve their English experience in class.

First, using games in class is one way of using English that will catch their attention. Often children will need to be challenged not only mentally but physically. Therefore, using games that includes physical interaction such as moving on a song, miming a story could be alternatives.

Using CD-Roms could be another option. In an era where technology is so important, children do not have as much interest without them. Having videos on youtube, music, or powerpoints of the story you are presenting will catch their attention.

These are two tips but I am sure there are many other fields you can choose to get them to learn English.

nicolasbrunette
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby nicolasbrunette » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:08 pm

Teaching young children isn't easy. Especially for me since I'm still a trainee teacher and I believe that I will only teach on the high school level. However, I agree with a previous post. The first thing to understand is thtat they can be integrated or implicated in their own learning sessions. Which means, simply asks them what they woyuld like to talk about. At this point, they won't have any reason to complain that the task isn't interesting. It's quite simple simply adapt the task to their own interest.

karineculture
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby karineculture » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:08 pm

***My first submit seems to have failed so here it is again...
From what I've seen in my practicums and learned in my pedagogy classes, a good teaching method is cooperative learning. When kids are learning in teams, they feel they are not learning and they like it! An activity I've seen in my practicum with students aged about 8 years old is that you give students a sheet with sentences such as "I have a sister", "I like playing hockey", "My favorite color is blue", and then you ask them to walk around the class and ask the questions to the others. When they find someone who answer yes to the question, the person signs the sheet and the game continues until there is a signature next to every sentences. I hope it will help you!

jetar
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby jetar » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:12 pm

I think you should continue to have them read and write. However, what is important is to have them associate English with fun, and not to "force" them to read and write because they will see English as something negative.
To motivate them to read and write in English, I think that the first thing that is really important is to find things to read and topics to write on that will interest them. Get to know them, find their interests, what they like to do outside the school, etc.
You can also use a "candy activity" to motivate them. If they do their reading or writing task properly, they can do a fun activity after (crosswords, searchwords, colouring, artcrafts, etc.)

I hope it will help!

JEEPY
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby JEEPY » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:15 pm

In my teaching young children class with Sabrina Priego PH.D. we learn a lot about that kind of experience. The first thing we have learnt is to hook your students with authentic material and physically engage them in the class. If they are active, and they move a lot, they won't feel the pressure of being in a second language class and they will take a liking into it. This is really important to promote English and give the students a good starting attitude towards English. A negative attitude may last on for many years and impair any input from other teachers. Also, you have to keep them busy, don'T let them the time to breathe between any of the activities, you have to show them that YOU are in control, not them and that YOU pace the class, while THEY are the focus of the class. Some of my friends that are teaching in Elementary schools for their "stage" find those trick to be really useful and they can save your period and the student'S learning experience.

NatGagnonULAVAL
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby NatGagnonULAVAL » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:16 pm

Teaching children can be quite a challenge when you do not know which strategies to use with younger beings. Children have a rather different way of learning compared to older students. Their focus is mostly on motivational subjects rather than informative ones. Once you grasp younger students’ attention, it is important to constantly keep them focused on the topic and not let their attention span get lost: then, it is possible to pass important informative notions through this same topic. I believe working with soon-to-be teens is the hardest, because they do not want to participate as actively as we could expect them to. Even though we are told to make students engage actively in songs and rhymes, we cannot always force them to participate. Therefore, the best option is simply to find a subject of common interest and work your way around the leisure part of it and get the information through.

rebra
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby rebra » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:17 pm

I agree with the fact that asking your students what they want to write about is a key element in teaching young students. Young children have a lot of imagination, so why not have them use it!
I have some examples that might help you. You could read a story to your students and have them invent the ending. You could have your students create their own comic book or their own pop-up book, which in my experience worked very well. In the summer time, have the students go outside with chalks and write a poem on the pavement. Another great activity is to have students, in teams if four, write individually something on a given topic, afterwards they come together in their team to make it fit. You could also do a guessing game, where students write about themselves and the other classmates have to guess which student wrote the text.

ania
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby ania » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:18 pm

Well, I do not have much of experience in teaching young children, but I know that it can be very challenging! The most important thing that each teacher should keep in mind is a great deal of responsibility that lies on them. You must remember that you introduce for THE VERY FIRST TIME a second language to the children. This will reflect on their future language acquisition. If you will not do this well, they will record this in their brains and very likely they will continue having their negative attitude towards this language. Therefore, it is very essential to really plan you lessons, keeping in mind that there is no place here for improvisation. Young students learn their second language through songs, rhymes, poems, with the help of CDs, DVDs, ICTs devices and visual materials. I think repetitions and routines will be key words to teaching young children.

mgrima
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby mgrima » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:24 pm

The best way I have found to motivate young students is to continuously vary the activities you use. If you are always asking them to write in the same format then it becomes repetitive for them. Here are some ideas to vary up writing activities.
1) Online - send e-mails to another class (tandem), send e-mail to each other, create a presentation, research a favourite topic and summarize (make sure you find simple esl site before students start so they are not overwhelmed with difficult vocab)
2) In class - Create a secret note passing game by dividing the class into four groups and assigning a certain message and reply that need to be passed on to the other groups, guess who/guess what games are fun students, they write a description about the person or object and the rest of the class guesses who the person is or what the object is.
Hope this helps

culture
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby culture » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:56 pm

Here are some ideas and tips that I hope, could be useful in your situation:

1. I think that it is important to vary your activities. If the grammar exercises have always the same format (ex. Filling the blanks) students can get bored. So, it’s better to vary the types of activities.
2. When you choose your activities, you could try to make them more related to the students’ interests. For example if you use an exercise where students need to write down the sentences in the appropriate tense, change the sentences so that they would be related to themselves. They could be about the new film that is on in theatres, or about the heroes of their favourite comics or tv series. Adapt cultural context (if this is the case) to the cultural and personal background of your students. Make them feel that this is interesting and useful information that is related to the real life.
3. Promote interactional and cooperative learning. Example. Divide the class in groups of four. Distribute cards. Each student will have one card with one, two or more verb (pronoun, preposition etc, depending on the grammar material) written on it. Each student needs to have different words form their team mates. Ask student to write a story. Explain them the procedure. Student A writes the first sentences, using one verb from his/her card, then it’s Student B’s turn etc. At the end they will have a story written together with the use of the grammar material. While they are doing this activity, they will use English, different sources (dictionary, peer help etc). These types of activities are challenging, interesting and funny.
4. Use IT, media support. There are a lot of activities (most of them are free) that you can find on-line. Songs, clips, games, crosswords, quizzes etc.
5. Give students choices. Some students could have difficulties with some types of exercises or they could feel more ease with different types of exercise. So, make them choose. Ex. They can choose the order of the exercises to do. Ex.2. when they finish their exercise, tell them that they can do another one, more challenging, for some bonus points. Ex.3. they can choose between retelling a story you’ve read and telling their own story using the 5-10 key words form the story you’ve read.
6. Use active learning. Make them participate in their own learning. Ex. Instead of giving students the text with the questions that they need to answer, ask students to read a story, and make them write down questions that their peers will need to answer. Ex.2 if it’s a reading activity, ask students to bring their story book from home that you’ll base your reading activity on. Ex.3, ask students to create a grammar crossword. Ex.4. call on randomly on some students and ask them to explain the grammar rule to the class.
7. Use their creativity. If your topic is about travelling (food, music, sport etc.), ask them to create a poster. And to present it to the class.

I wish you good luck with your students:)

culture
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby culture » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:58 pm

Here are some ideas and tips that I hope, could be useful in your situation:

1. I think that it is important to vary your activities. If the grammar exercises have always the same format (ex. Filling the blanks) students can get bored. So, it’s better to vary the types of activities.
2. When you choose your activities, you could try to make them more related to the students’ interests. For example if you use an exercise where students need to write down the sentences in the appropriate tense, change the sentences so that they would be related to themselves. They could be about the new film that is on in theatres, or about the heroes of their favourite comics or tv series. Adapt cultural context (if this is the case) to the cultural and personal background of your students. Make them feel that this is interesting and useful information that is related to the real life.
3. Promote interactional and cooperative learning. Example. Divide the class in groups of four. Distribute cards. Each student will have one card with one, two or more verb (pronoun, preposition etc, depending on the grammar material) written on it. Each student needs to have different words form their team mates. Ask student to write a story. Explain them the procedure. Student A writes the first sentences, using one verb from his/her card, then it’s Student B’s turn etc. At the end they will have a story written together with the use of the grammar material. While they are doing this activity, they will use English, different sources (dictionary, peer help etc). These types of activities are challenging, interesting and funny.
4. Use IT, media support. There are a lot of activities (most of them are free) that you can find on-line. Songs, clips, games, crosswords, quizzes etc.
5. Give students choices. Some students could have difficulties with some types of exercises or they could feel more ease with different types of exercise. So, make them choose. Ex. They can choose the order of the exercises to do. Ex.2. when they finish their exercise, tell them that they can do another one, more challenging, for some bonus points. Ex.3. they can choose between retelling a story you’ve read and telling their own story using the 5-10 key words form the story you’ve read.
6. Use active learning. Make them participate in their own learning. Ex. Instead of giving students the text with the questions that they need to answer, ask students to read a story, and make them write down questions that their peers will need to answer. Ex.2 if it’s a reading activity, ask students to bring their story book from home that you’ll base your reading activity on. Ex.3, ask students to create a grammar crossword. Ex.4. call on randomly on some students and ask them to explain the grammar rule to the class.
7. Use their creativity. If your topic is about travelling (food, music, sport etc.), ask them to create a poster. And to present it to the class.

I wish you good luck with your students:)

cathjean
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Status: Prospective Teacher

Re: Teaching children

Unread postby cathjean » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:28 pm

HI
Here is a tip a used for my 7 to 10 years old students. This is really simple and it works so much. Here it goes : TICKETS! Let me explain. Every time students make something good or interact the way you want them to you give them a ticket. Of course they need to do something with those tickets. Make youself a chart like mine
10 tickets - sit next to a friend for today's class
20 tickets - sit at my place for today's class
30 tickets - computer time during the break
40 tickets - pick a gift in the gift box.
The gift box that I have is simply a cardboard box with fancy pencils and pens and cute dolorama things I found.
This technique is very effective 'cause it can make all your students happy. There are a fun reward for all kinds of students and of course you can had some of your own.

Have a nice day !

melgaut
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby melgaut » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:53 pm

Hi!
If your students don't want to write or read, why don't you try to have them write on the computer? They like to be online and they like to go to the computer lab. Motivation is the key element in language learning. Ebooks are now a reality. They are very interesting and usually free! There are also animation and it catches the attention of the listener. If you don't have access to a computer lab, I think that asking your students about their interests is a very good idea. You can build an interesting project that has as a writing, listening, speaking and reading part. To have fun and play games don't necessary mean that there is no writing involved. In games, everybody is playing; weaker as well as strong students participate. They help each other!

eigonosekai
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby eigonosekai » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:05 pm

In teaching young children, there are two very important things to consider.
First, the curriculum. If the valid curriculum asks you to do reading and writing activities then you should persist and have your students work the way you want. On the other hand, you could adapt your teaching activities and transform them into something that they will have fun doing. In Quebec, there is little focus on writing and reading tasks for 4th graders and they consist of very basic words and sentences.
Second, your students. Creating tasks that fits your students' interests is, as mentioned previously, the best way to proceed. I it also very important that you do not give them tasks that are not appropriate for their level. At the elementary level, I think that second language acquisition should begin with oral comprehension. With your 8 years-old students, it may be too early to focus on reading and writing.
Good luck!

EmaHan
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby EmaHan » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:55 am

Teaching children takes practice until we get use to it and develop our tricks to make the class management and teaching easier. However, I think that we will never get perfect in teaching children. First, children are different from a class to another and from a year to another. Generations are different and every year brings her load of challenges, and adaptations to have to be made constantly. Then, class atmosphere and many other factors (family situation, friends, etc. ) influence the way children learn and behave so that the teacher has to modify his teaching and management strategies. Even though there is always a tendency the way children act and learn, we can never predict at 100% what will happen next. Unpredictability is a part of teacher’s reality. Therefore, we have to find tricks that can fit most situations and will help us to be in control. All tricks can’t fit to everyone and that’s why it important to find the ones that you are the most comfortable with. Moreover, what is important to keep in mind is to create/do activities that are relevant for the students and most of all that motivates them to continue and learn. Be informed about their interests and what they’d like to do.

rebra
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Re: Teaching children

Unread postby rebra » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:30 am

I agree with the fact that asking your students what they want to write about is a key element in teaching young students. Young children have a lot of imagination, so why not have them use it!
I have some examples that might help you. You could read a story to your students and have them invent the ending. You could have your students create their own comic book or their own pop-up book, which in my experience worked very well. In the summer time, have the students go outside with chalks and write a poem on the pavement. Another great activity is to have students, in teams if four, write individually something on a given topic, afterwards they come together in their team to make it fit. You could also do a guessing game, where students write about themselves and the other classmates have to guess which student wrote the text.


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