It is very important for ESL students to be curious in class and to ask more questions. It can be difficult to achieve this if they lack interest or don’t understand the benefit of this. Relying solely on a screen or paper can also become a stale approach as the students become used to this routine. A change in teaching approach from time to time stirs up students’ interest and attention. The choice of materials and topics thus becomes a fundamental matter for effective learning and engagement. In this article, I am going to write about the choice of materials that I used in one of my speaking lessons to encourage further class discussion, interaction, and motivation to speak.
The students I teach in my primary school do not show much interest in learning English nor are they motivated to engage in English speaking activities. They are rather shy and get bored easily. They even start communicating in Cantonese when they don’t feel like being part of the lesson. This is one of the biggest challenges I have faced in this school. At any extent, I wanted to solve this problem so that all my lessons achieved their aims successfully. In this article, I write about the lesson I taught about dinosaurs, why I came up with this topic and how it turned out to be a successful lesson.
About the Author: Zarin Tasnim is currently teaching to primary learners in China and is a graduate of OnTESOL’s 250-hour TESOL diploma and Teaching English to Young Learners Specialist course.
Summer Camp is designed for students to enjoy learning and to take them outside of the sometimes boring classroom setting. It is an opportunity to use and to adapt activities to learn and review vocabulary. Learning, innovation and adventure are a big part of summer camp to encourage ESL learning. With this in mind, I designed a week-long action-packed ESL Summer Camp program for young learners in the village of Ampampamena in northern Madagascar. This program encourages students to use their imagination at every moment, all while learning and reviewing English.
Jessica Whitehorne is currently teaching and developing curriculum for young learners in Madagascar. She is a graduate of OnTESOL’s 250-hour TESOL diploma, Teaching English To Young Learners course and Teaching Business English Course.
Let’s be honest, PowerPoint is often overused in the ESL industry and can be a forgettable aspect of many lessons. However, it is a powerful tool for creating interest or for emphasizing important lesson elements, especially for young learners. Below is a list of tips and topics where PowerPoint can be especially useful in the classroom.
About the author: As a graduate of the 120-hour Advanced TESOL certificate, Kyle is well-versed in various communicative teaching methods. Kyle taught young learners in South Korea for 3 years and is now teaching English in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Read more
While teaching abroad, you may notice that your foreign identity becomes a large part of your teaching identity, especially to your students. This part of teaching abroad is mostly unavoidable, but it can be really helpful in the classroom. Younger students, in particular, will likely have little experience communicating with a native English speaker. In addition, they might be curious about your life and home country. Introducing cultural activities enriches your lessons, engages young learners and easily encourages your students to get to know you more.
About the author: Kyle Dore graduated from OnTESOL’s 120-hour Advanced TESOL course. He taught English in South Korea to young learners for over 4 years. He currently teaches English in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
There is a long tradition of the ESL and EFL classroom as a space of cultural instruction. In fact, given the overlapping nature of language and culture, this is almost inevitable. And yet, this interdisciplinary approach need not end with culture alone. There are many ways in which the English classroom can include and in fact exploit a variety of subjects and skills – especially for young students.
Already in young learner contexts, it is common to find elements of music, dance, art, and physical education built into activities, but this incorporation can be expanded into the hard sciences, and even into the higher grades. By conscientiously pairing age and level with the interdisciplinary topics that are appropriate, a teacher can add variety and richness to their classes. Not only that, but this inclusion can help set students up for success outside of the English classroom.
I have included two examples of this, but this integration is limited only by imagination:
Young children are kinesthetic creatures. Their brains and their bodies are still one unit and as such, they are always moving and dancing and touching things and exploring their world in a physical way. Therefore, when we teach writing – particularly to very young, immature, or active students – it is useful to find a way to harness, as opposed to fight, this whole-body learning. This is especially true when a lesson is otherwise very settled or sedentary as students may need a constructive physical outlet to focus more effectively. In lessons like these, there are a host of options that allow students to not only engage with but embody written language while simultaneously refining the fine motor skills necessary for letter formation.
About the Author: Rosemary Hanson completed our 250-hour TESOL Diploma and the 20-hour TEYL specialist. She has been working as an assistant teacher at a Montessori school in China since March of 2016. She also taught a college-level English course and a preschool class in Xian, China back in 2014.
Most traditional schools around the world base their curriculum largely on standardized forms of testing. In the ESL classroom, this culture encourages students to merely memorize sequences of words and synonyms for vocabulary- not to mention, it can get pretty boring and soul-crushing for the youngsters. Utilizing classroom performance activities is a great way to ‘test’ your students’ knowledge while igniting their creative flames. A performance-based classroom uses activities that require students to perform in front of their peers and teacher. While it may initially be daunting for some of the shy students, it has been shown in studies to build self-confidence. Plus, practicing and performing enhances students’ knowledge of the subject(s) and themes, developing their vocabulary and forcing them to really focus on pronunciation through repetition and rehearsal.
Every year in school, my class would have that one student- the one who never raised his hand, preferring to sink lower and lower into his seat behind the propped up textbook. As I grew older and transitioned from sitting behind my student desk to standing in front of the board, this scene did not change very much. Now, imagine that you are the shy student and, to add to that, the class is being conducted in a foreign language. Seems fair to characterize it as at least mildly intimidating, right? Shyness is a composition of emotions, ranging from fear, apprehension, and embarrassment, often manifesting itself as self-consciousness. More often than not, an ESL class will have one student who is less keen to participate. I’ve found that this is only exacerbated as the group grows larger, allowing the student to retreat into anonymity. When you are inevitably faced with this common challenge, there are a few ways to gently encourage (never ‘push’) your shy student to come out of his/her shell.
The Task-based Learning approach works great with young learners because it allows children or teenagers to communicate while they remain active. In this blog, we will show you 6 Task-based learning activities for teaching English to young learners.