Published on October 18, 2007
Language Acquisition? That´s Kid´s Stuff! • Presenter: Lucy Castañon Ralph, MA
Teaching young learners requires a knowledge of the child development. This workshop concerns the personal observations and experiences of a teacher who works with young learners.
Inside and outside the young learners classroom “A Primary teacher is now viewed as a highly-skilled professional who has the knowledge, skills, flexibility and sensitivities of a teacher both of children and of language, and one who is able to balance and combine the two successfully.” Gail Ellis
Child Development Most problems encountered by teachers are due to a lack of understanding of children development and of the appropriate classroom management skills to deal with them.
Child Development Teachers should be aware of conceptual and cognitive variations: attention spans and motor skills such as drawing and cutting, as well as social and emotional differences. An understanding of these differences can help develop the flexibility that teachers of young learners require.
Classroom management and discipline When children arrive, they put their coats on pegs, bags on the floor at their table places and then join you round the board. Only books and pencil cases on the tables. Avoid clutter - very young learner classrooms need to be very organised.
Classroom management and discipline For activities, three or four children should sit at each table. Colour-code the tables. When children move from the board to the tables, get them to move group by group, not all at once. Children keep to the same places.
Classroom management and discipline Expect children to do what they are told, but be nice to them - even when you are feeling impatient.
Using the board • Present new language at the board. • Use lots of flashcards. • Involve all pupils.
Using the board • Ask individuals to perform a small task: pointing to something, choosing a picture or sticking it on the board. • Children like to be picked, so make it fair. • Ask the whole class a question, get them to repeat or drill.
Using the board Explain and demonstrate tasks you want children to do at the tables at the board. If using a worksheet, stick it on the board and demonstrate.
Routines and activities Establish routines: • always sit round the board to begin, play a game touching heads when taking the register, • sing 'hello' to characters or sing a song they know. • Everyone starts the lesson feeling confident and attentive.
Routines and activities Surprise activities can help to settle a class if the children become too excited. Try a series of movements in sequence e.g. touch your head three times, then shoulders, then knees. Vary the count and see if they can follow.
Routines and activities When changing activity, try using a rattle (e.g. rice in a box) rather than raising your voice to attract attention. This becomes a signal that children recognise. Start the activity, even if not all children are attentive. They will eventually join in with the others.
Work Be aware of what sort of work children are doing at school. You may work on skills of matching, comparing and classifying. These are all things we can develop and adapt.
Work When children are working at tables let them finish as much as possible. Fast finishers can do another drawing, or colour in. As children finish, write on their worksheets to explain what they have drawn, stuck or classified etc. Questioning them at the same time.
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