Teaching children

For general discussion between ESL teachers.

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Re: Teaching children

Unread post by 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:)

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Re: Teaching children

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

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 !

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Re: Teaching children

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

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!

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Re: Teaching children

Unread post by 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!

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Re: Teaching children

Unread post by 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.

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Re: Teaching children

Unread post by 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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