English is not easy! As fluent English speakers it’s easy to forget, that for some English is full of foreign sounds that are hard to remember. Just because the teacher says a word doesn’t mean the students will remember it five minutes later. Nope, your students aren’t stupid, it’s actually really hard to take on board totally new things and retain them.
To remind yourself of the learning process try watching a video in another language that is not related to yours such as Russian, Chinese or Arabic and listen to a sentence a couple of times. As a test try to repeat it and see if you can remember it five minutes later! You will begin to get the idea of the challenge in hand for your young learners.
Read on for two steps to help your students learn successfully…
The first step in teaching new words is for pupils to hear and understand them. Individual vocabulary words is a good place to start when faced with ESL beginners from the ages of 6 or 7, think of these words as the building blocks of your lesson and once six new words have been learned straight away teach them the words again in a short phrase or question to help the students put the words into context. For example if you teach the colours red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple and brown, follow up in the next lesson with the sentence “I like red.” If you teach body parts use them in a sentence such as: “My arm hurts.” By teaching phrases, sentences and questions you are teaching the English language, not just isolated English words and that is the key to success.
Repetition is the mother of skill, and your young learners will need to hear it over, and over again. However if you go around the class one by one having each child repeat the word you say very soon everyone will be bored and each child will have said the word only once, which is not enough for it to be integrated. You need to use drills for repetition and the way to do this and make it fun is to use English language games such as those in 176 English Language Games for Children (ISBN 1475255586) in paperback, Kindle and PDF.
If you would like to receive free samples of my games to get your class to talk to you in English go to www.teachingenglishgames.com/esl-classroom-games and fill in the two boxes to receive the games directly into your inbox. All you need to give is your name and email, that’s it. This is a private mailing list and the emails are NEVER shared, in any shape or form, with others. It is free to be on this free games mailing list and no other details are asked of you.
At two children will not be interested in concepts such as days of the week, or even numbers and colours or the alphabet, as these are too abstract. Animals, shopping, dressing up and THINGS are generally better. That said there are good ideas for the alphabet, numbers and colours below.
New words are best introduced with real objects first. If you show flashcards of vocabulary tape the pictures to the real objects the first few times you work with those words until you know the children understand them and have made the link between the picture and the real object.
Use materials like ‘play dough’. At this age children cannot draw, but they love to squish!! Tell stories where you pass round an item…an orange, a ball, a battery powered drill (without the drill bit or battery), or anything that has an interest of its own, i.e. can be bounced, eaten, sniffed, heard, felt or tasted. Make noises and bring in items that make noises, jars, shakers, tins and so on. Use music, movement and dance. Use simple language and repeat it over and over.
ALL of the teaching toddlers ideas are also fun with three to five year olds as well. Learn more here: http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/english-for-toddlers and download the complete English for toddlers report. Looking for useful resources? Click here to find out more: http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/ESL-Teaching-Resources.htm
Types of Learning Style There are three main types of learning style: auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic. Our Teaching English Games seek to incorporate aspects of all three learning styles, so that your students, who will all learn in different ways, can each see the benefit from your lessons. Whilst each learning style uses different aspects of learning, they all interplay with each other so your kinaesthetic students will learn from an auditory exercise, and your visual students can learn from a kinaesthetic exercise. There are further aspects to consider, such as do your students work better performing solitary exercises or group exercises, but let’s start with a brief run-through of the three main learning styles:
- Auditory learners: These students learn by listening and hearing, rather than reading. You may find that they move their lips when they are reading, or even sound the words out loud. Auditory learners may struggle in a noisy environment, but could benefit from a class exercises such where students recite.
- Visual learners: Visual learners love graphics, diagrams, drawings and pictures- you can spot a visual learner as you may find them drawing pictures alongside their notes to help them remember the lesson. For a visual learner, why not try Flashcards.
- Kinaesthetic learners: “Hands on” is the way to go with these students- they will love our ESL Plays which involve moving around and making shapes or gestures. Sitting still might prove difficult for them, so why not ask them to stand up or walk around while they’re reading?
Although these are the three main styles, students rarely fall into just one category, and it is actually beneficial if they are able to learn in all three ways. There are further aspects to consider, such as do your students work better performing solitary exercises or group exercises? These Special Stories appeal to both solitary and group learners as reading through the text alone before completing a quiz as a group can ensure that both types of learner are included in the exercise, reducing the chances of one student being left behind in calss. Our 176 English Language Games for Children has been designed to incorporate quizzes and games that will appeal to all three types of learning style, making your lessons fun, appealing and effective to all your students! Find the majority of our resources here.
Yes and No. Teaching key words before introducing a new passage has always been the way teachers have taught new words.
Considering your class age and abilities it is best to begin with this plan and gauge your classes experience and level. With beginners it’s good to pre-teach a selection of words and search out those words in the text through rapid scanning. With intermediates and up it is fun to try to deduce the meaning of new words through the context.
If you have any questions, please email Shelley Vernon direct at games@ teachingenglishgames.com.