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  1. #1
    SirGod's Avatar
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    Teaching English to children

    Tomorrow I will start teaching English to a 10 year old and a 7 year old. The former is in the fourth grade now and I suppose he knows something (3 years of English) and the latter does not know anything so I have to start from scratch with him. I do not have any previous experience in teaching so this seems a little bit tricky to me. Do you have any advice on how I should proceed? How do I test the former's knowledge? I hope I will get my hands on his book soon and browse it a little bit. Although this might seem like a stupid question, does a child who has not even started (yet) primary school - in my country it's 6,7 or 8 years - know how to write? Does anyone have some materials (handouts, pictures, online games etc.) that can help me?

    Any piece of advice is highly appreciated.
    Not a teacher.
    Not a native speaker.
    Just a language lover who is majoring in English.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Teaching English to children

    I taught children once, and briefly, nearly thirty years ago- think on your feet and be prepared to change and improvise. You can find materials here: Young Learners - ESL Web Directory - UsingEnglish.com

  3. #3
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    Re: Teaching English to children

    I'd agree with Tdol, no matter how perfectly well you are prepared, virtually every time you need to adjust whatever you were planning to do to what is going on in class, so it could help to have a trick or two up your sleeve. I used to like supersimplelearning.com - they have a lot of 'runnable, jumpable' and other TPR stuff there that can easily be adapted to any age. What could be crucial with 6yos is you'll need a lot of quite tangible materials: board games, cubes (with letters/numbers, etc.), flashcards - not just handouts.
    With the older one, watching a cartoon could be quite engaging but don't rely on films with the youngest, try more creative activities instead.

    The best of luck and do enjoy it yourself!

    ps. Yes, beginning writing first in L2 is nothing difficult, just mind it won't be writing as such but mostly drawing and colouring. Hope, it could help.

  4. #4
    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching English to children

    You can't guarantee that they know how to write. Incidentally, I've been told that it can be a bad idea to teach children to write in English before they've learned in their native language, because it can actually slow down their development in their native language. I'm not sure how true that is, but it was a CELTA trainer who said it.

    A good option with one-to-one classes is project work. In fact they're good for kids in any context, but much easier to manage when there's only one.

    Interestingly, I've found that younger kids (7-10) are actually quite enthusiastic about simply being given a worksheet. Perhaps because they're at an age where they haven't had time to get bored with school yet.

  5. #5
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    Re: Teaching English to children

    Quote Originally Posted by I'm With Stupid View Post
    Incidentally, I've been told that it can be a bad idea to teach children to write in English before they've learned in their native language, because it can actually slow down their development in their native language. I'm not sure how true that is, but it was a CELTA trainer who said it.
    That's not true.

  6. #6
    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching English to children

    I'd have to ask her where she read it, but I assume she had a legitimate source.

  7. #7
    Esgaleth's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching English to children

    Quote Originally Posted by I'm With Stupid View Post
    I'd have to ask her where she read it, but I assume she had a legitimate source.
    I have 15 years of teaching English to kids from 5yo to teenagers, and adults as well, if that could count. From my experience, I'd say it's quite the reverse: those who started to write in English before writing in L1 were more successful as learners in general. However, I am ready to admit that it could depend on how such 'pre-L1' writing practice is introduced.

    ps. All that stuff about L2 interference at an early age seems to be of a political issue and, actually, with so many factors at play any exhaustive research is most unlikely to ever take place.

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