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How do you teach English to kids or young learners? And wait, who are young learners? Is that someone under 40?


Generally that term is used in the TEFL course community to describe students ranging from kindergarten to middle school.


  1. Challenges of teaching children
  2. Differences between kindergarteners, elementary and middle schoolers.
  3. Tips for teaching children

What are the challenges of teaching kids?

Here's a video I made called... Teaching English to kids is hard. Here's what you can do about it...


Some of the problems...

  • Rude students
  • Mean students
  • Noisy students
  • Silent students
  • Bored students
  • Goof off students
  • Too many students
  • Disruptive students
  • Unmotivated students
  • Non-English speaking students

All of those challenging students become more difficult if you don't know what you are doing.

On one hand it could be like this...

Imagine standing in a classroom with a bunch of students speaking a foreign language that you don't know. Two kids are shouting at each other, one kid is talking on his phone, a few are playing video games, some are whispering, and good ol' Sally is paying attention, BUT everyone else is NOT listening to you.

You feel confused and uncertain of yourself because they’re NOT doing what you told them to do.

And the noise is starting to make your head pound. You feel helpless and stressed and you’re thinking of going home.


On the other hand it could be like this...

Imagine standing in a classroom and your students are raising their hands to speak and when they do speak they speak in English.

They're being respectful to each other (including you) and they are doing what you told them to.

You also noticed little Tommy's English (that one w/ ADD) has improved and...

Teaching has become a lot more fun and you are grinning from ear to ear knowing that you figured out how to bring order to your classroom and teach.

This course will help you to become better.

What's the difference between teaching kindergarteners, elementary and middle school students?

There is quite a difference in my experience teaching a kindergarten student and teaching a middle school student English.

A kindergarten student is going to be full of energy (that's HIGH energy dude), often affectionate (they might give you a hug) and quite bubbly. They can cry sometimes too. They are also going to have a really short attention span.

The younger they are the shorter it is.

A middle school student has been through the system. They are usually more tame, but also more hormonal as you may remember. That can range from totally silent and uninterested to also quite boisterous and mature.

Around this age they start getting more pressure in school to succeed which is common in East Asia especially in Korea (a high suicide rate amongst teens). Middle schoolers attending private institutes tend to have a pretty high level of English so you can sometimes converse with them a bit more if they are willing.

An elementary or primary school student lies somewhere in between a kindergartener and a middle school student.

This is my favorite age group.

They are not totally wild high energy emotional little kids and they are not overly tame duldrums either.

Of course you have personality differences no matter what their age, but I am speaking in terms of averages.

So how do you teach English to these students?

Well, it's a loaded question and not something you'll learn how to do effectively in a few minutes so taking a course focused on teaching kids would be best, but I can help you by giving you a few main pointers.

taboo ESL game

Make it fun...

First off you have to be fun.

Well, you don't actually have to be that fun or a "dancing monkey" as some say, but you need to make your classes fun. 


Because children get motivated by having fun. Unlike adults they don't get motivated by a higher salary or a better job.

They want to play and they want to have fun. 


That's like me and I am an adult^^.

So you have to make your classes fun and you can do that by using games, activities and creativity like drawing, singing, and acting.


It's not that simple if you want to be an effective teacher.

Because you need to teach them.

I mean you could play games, but your role is to teach them English.

And if you just play games without any sort of teaching knowledge your classes are likely to get out of control.

You need structure and so don't they

Despite the fact that you need to have fun in your classes you also need to have a structure to your classes. If you don't have structure and you do have fun then you may have a chaotic classroom and a headache.

That won't be fun as your classes can easily get out of control.

Structure comes in the form of classroom management, lesson planning and your teaching method.

It's not just a matter of adding games you have to integrate the games into your lesson and you need structure.

You are most likely going to have a book and a syllabus to follow. Your boss wants your students to enjoy themselves, but he and the student's parents also want them to learn.

Things to know about teaching kids

  • They have a short attention span (the younger they are the shorter it is)
  • Simplify your language
  • Use variety in your lessons

Here's the most popular video I ever made...

I'll show you the video, some text instructions and then a massive how-to pic you can open in a new tab


You're getting it all. 

This is how ESLinsider rolls. 

Here's Kyle's review on ESLinsider:

"I can now say with full confidence that Ian has put together a masterclass catalog of teaching materials, each presented in a clear and logical way, with a great website to re-find anything if needed. The course pages seem to be frequently updated and Ian is incredibly quick to respond to submitted assignments or messages." - Kyle P.

5 fun steps to teaching kids English

This video has 290,000+ views and shows you how to teach English to kids using a basic "PPP" style of lesson planning.


Step 1. Warm up

In this step you want to draw your kids in. Here we use a fun activity called "Teacher Says" that gets the students motivated and focused.

Here are some warm-up activities and icebreakers.

Step 2. Presentation

In this step you want to present the material to the students. It can be vocabulary, sentences, numbers, or Q&A. You can teach them the meaning of the word by using body language, pictures, synonyms, opposites, and kinds of.

You can have the students repeat the content (vocab or sentences) after you 2-3 times.

Step. 3 Practice

In this step you want to practice the material. This is a good time to do that using a game or activity. The most common kinds of games to use in this part of the lesson are vocabulary and activities for sentences.

Step 4. Production

Here you show the students how to use the language. You show them how to apply the language to their lives. In the video I ask them, "Who can ____ (swim, ride a bike, etc.)?"

Step 5. Review

In this part of the lesson we use a TPR activity to review the material. Ending on a fun note can be a good idea to.


Wanna learn how to teach English to children effectively?

Whether you are a beginner or a teacher with a few years of experience I can help you take your teaching to the next level.

Take this engaging, multi-media course especially targeted at teaching English to children.

You will learn:

  • How to teach phonics 
  • How to lesson plan quickly
  • How to effectively speak in front of the public
  • How to present new language and teach meaning
  • How to teach listening, writing, reading and speaking
  • How to tap out troublemakers: chokes, joint locks, submission holds... (No, just kidding)
  • How to manage your classroom (A CONCRETE system complete w/ tools, tactics and the latest psychological hacks)
  • How to teach w/ games, activities & songs (You'll be excited about using these in your classroom)
  • How to develop yourself and your future along the way
  • How to stand out even if you have no experience
  • How to make your life abroad better

Instead of loud noisy disruptive kids that make your head hurt imagine feeling a sense of confidence, control and satisfaction knowing that you're doing a good job.

Take a peak

Get the inside scoop on teaching English to children in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.