Have you heard about the ESL Talk podcast?
As described on their Apple Podcast page, ESL Talk is “a podcast for English teachers by English teachers.” In each episode, the hosts and their guests discuss various teaching topics, methods, and approaches pertaining to ESL teachers. It's a fantastic way to hone your English teaching skills and to stay current in your career field.
Here are some key takeaways from ESL Talk's episode on teaching young learners that you can incorporate in your classes.
Provide Reading Activities
Whether you’re teaching online or in class, fluency can be built through reading and reading activities.
First, choose a reading that is age-appropriate and appealing to a younger audience.
Next, plan out pre- and post-reading activities. Pre-reading activities can include a vocabulary review with the new words that students will encounter in the reading and a discussion about the context of the text. If you’re reading a story, students can also make predictions about the plot. Post-reading activities can include further discussion and writing practice to test their comprehension.
At Ellii, we have plenty of ready-made reading-based lessons designed for young learners. Here are some of our most popular story-based lessons:
Young learners are full of energy! To help your young students focus, incorporate movement into your lessons.
You can dance for a few minutes partway through class. You can sing a song that matches the theme of the lesson. It can even be just as helpful to include a minute or two of stretching.
“Students love to get up and move around.”
—Daniel Shaw, founder & host of ESL Talk podcast
Whatever movement you choose to incorporate, know that it will help your students stay focused, retain information, and remember the material.
Young students also learn by doing. They learn through their senses. Don’t just show them a picture of a pencil. Have them actually hold and touch a pencil. Don’t just show them a picture of someone waving. Get them to wave too!
It’s also important to make time each lesson to talk to your students. Build their conversational skills through simple questions.
You can start off by asking your young learners simple yes/no questions (e.g., Are you excited to learn today?).
When they’re comfortable, you can ask questions using the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why (e.g., What did you do today?).
Build a Connection
Find a way to connect with your young students. Ask their parents what their child likes and dislikes so you can teach topics that are meaningful to them.
It’s important to relate your lessons to their world. If your students’ have ideas for a lesson, try to incorporate them.
For example, if your students express that they like superheroes, try to include superheroes in the lesson.
Ellii has plenty of fun ready-to-use lessons designed to appeal to young learners. Here are a few of our most popular:
It's also important to show enthusiasm. Be excited about what you’re going to teach! If you're excited to teach, your students will be excited to learn.
"Enthusiasm is contagious."
—Carina, guest speaker & experienced ESL teacher on ESL Talk podcast
Share Your Thoughts
Teachers, do you have any tips for teaching young learners? Let us know in the comments below.