Teaching English to kids can be a lot of fun or it can be a big headache. The key to teaching children is to realize that kids get motivated by playing games and activities. They want to have fun. And games and activities can be part of your lesson, they are not just a diversion or something to do at the end of class.
Teaching English to children can also be a headache and that will come if you don't integrate the element of fun into your lesson. Lecturing is boring and whenever something gets boring your kids will start acting up. If the kids are enjoying learning then the class will go much smoother. It's not the only element of teaching, but it is an important part. You also need to have some order and a good plan for your lesson.
From the beginning
If you are teaching children from the beginning then you will probably follow a format somewhat like this:
- Teaching the alphabet
- Teaching phonics
- Teaching vocabulary
- Teaching numbers
- Teaching sentences
- Teaching Q&A
Using Games and Activities
After the material has been introduced, the students will need to practice it. Repetition is key to learning virtually anything including language. However, if students are repeating the same things again and again, they will get bored. And what happens when they get bored? Problems.
So a way to get them to practice the language that they have just been taught and enjoy it is through a game or activity. That will make them enjoy the process of learning.
As I mentioned before games and activities can be integrated into the lesson. Here's an activity that uses a number of skills like: listening, writing, speaking and you could say reading.
Here is another example of a simple kinesthetic activity to use with kindergarten children. Here we're using the activity to review the names of animals that they have learned. Kindergarten children like to have a lot of fun and like other children they have a pretty short attention span. The younger they are the shorter their attention span. So you will need a lot of games and activities. Besides who blames kids and who wants to sit in their desk all day?
Using "Passive Activities"
You will find that a lot of schools want an "active" teacher or that they want their classes to be active. Why do they want that? I think it's because that they know that the students will enjoy themselves if they are being active. But is action the only way to get the kids to enjoy themselves?
I guess it depends upon what you call active or action, but I don't think so. Kids can get quite involved in other activities that are more quiet and individualized. I have referred to these kinds of activities as "Passive Activities." Think about drawing, don't most kids like to draw and create? Here is an activity called "Draw it" that involves listening, drawing and writing.
Tips for Teaching Children
Here are some other tips for teaching English to children.