When teaching English as a second language to kids, there are several things to keep in mind. You will want to teach the kids the importance of learning English, you should keep the process interactive, give the children time to talk to one another in English, and provide plenty of feedback. When teaching ESL, also remember to consider the backgrounds of the students.
One of the very first steps in teaching ESL is to motivate the children to learn English by teaching them how important it is to know English. Mention that it is the most widely spoken language in the world and tell them that it is the language that they may end up using in their career. Teaching students the importance of being fluent in English will allow them to apply themselves in all of the lessons that follow.
Next, you’ll want to remember to keep the process of teaching ESL interactive. These are children that you’re teaching; they like to have fun. Don’t be afraid to make a game out of teaching English. For example, you could ask the students to get in pairs and see who can rattle off the most English words in three minutes. Another way to encourage interaction is by asking questions. You could even give the children prizes if they answer a certain number of questions correctly. Keeping the process of learning English interactive is important because, when the process is interactive, children are more engaged. With engagement comes learning.
Providing the students time to talk to one another in English is crucial. This is how they develop the ability to have a conversation in English. Furthermore, they can correct one another during the conversations (which contributes to learning). Another benefit of having the students converse in English is that they get to practice what they’ve learned in a realistic setting. In real life, the students won’t be listing off vocabulary words. They will be having conversations.
It is important to provide plenty of feedback to the children. This is another key to learning English. Without feedback, they will not know which areas they need to improve upon, or which areas they are doing well in. Feedback can be provided on a lot of different areas: grammar, syntax, diction, etc. Make sure the feedback is comprehensive, and make sure that you frame things in a positive light. You would not want to discourage a student.
Last but not least, it’s important to think about the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of the children. Teaching Chinese students English can be difficult because Chinese is so much different from English; however, you can still draw commonalities between the two languages. For children, you would do this at a very basic level. For example, if there are five letters in one particular English word, and five characters or symbols in the corresponding Chinese word, then you should explain to students how they can use this fact to remember the word.
Using the aforementioned methods should guarantee that ESL teaching is carried out more effectively, but remember that every child is different. Some have their own unique learning style, and you have to understand how your students learn best in order to teach more effectively.
Monkey Tree has provided some free worksheets for anyone to use in which it can be accessed via issuu.com/monkeytreehongkong. There are other free resources to help teach and make ESL lessons fun for kids, ESL Games Plus, ISL Collective, ESL Gold and many more. A list of ESL resources will be provided in the near future. Stay tuned.