A word about Young Learners

 

What are children like as learners?

They

– are developing quickly as individuals.

– learn in a variety of ways, for example, by watching, by listening, by imitating, by doing things.

– are not able to understand grammatical rules and explanations about language.

– try to make sense of situations by making use of non-verbal clues.

– talk in their mother tongue about what they understand and do – this helps them learn.

– can generally imitate the sounds they hear quite accurately and copy the way adults speak.

– are naturally curious.

– love to play and use their imagination.

– are comfortable with routines and enjoy repetition.

– have quite a short attention span and so need variety.

How can you as teacher help them?

– Make learning English enjoyable and fun – Remember you are influencing their attitude to language learning.

– Don’t worry about mistakes. Be encouraging. Make sure children feel comfortable, and not afraid to take part.

– Use a lot of gestures, actions, pictures to demonstrate what you mean.

– Talk a lot to them in English, especially about things they can see.

– Play games, sing songs, say rhymes and chants together.

– Tell simple stories in English, using pictures and acting with different voices.

– Don’t worry when they use their mother tongue. You can answer a mother tongue question in English, and sometimes recast in English what they say in their mother tongue.

– Constantly recycle new language but don’t be afraid to add new things or to use words they want to know.

– Plan lessons with varied activities, some quiet, some noisy, some sitting, some standing and moving.

Reference: English for Primary Teachers By Mary Slattery & Jane Willis

 

 

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