If your experience is anything like mine then a TEFL course focused on young learners is probably what you need. When I taught English in Asia (China, Korea and Taiwan) the majority of the jobs out there were for teaching children.

But the problem is I took a "general" TESOL course which is basically the same as a TEFL course - which I also later took.

That did not prepare me to teach English to children in Taiwan where I first taught.

One of the secrets to getting the most out of a course is taking one focused on teaching the students you are going to teach.

Most TEFL/TESOL/CELTA courses focus more on teaching adults, but that's not very helpful if you teach kids.

That's what the best course is. It's NOT the one that is the cheapest, most reputable (the "A" in CELTA is for adults) or whatever, it's the one that prepares you to do your job.

And BEWARE because a lot of courses will say, "We'll teach you to teach both adults and children."

Blah, blah, blah.

Sure some things can apply to both, but adults and children have different motivations and behaviors. 

If you found this page then that means that you need a course that's more focused on teaching young learners.

Remember that.

Here is an introduction video to teaching English to young learners that is used in the beginning of ESLinsider's Advanced course. If you are thinking of teaching children or if you are not sure if you should teach children, adolescents or adults then you'll probably find this video interesting.


Mentioned here is also a comparison of teaching English to children vs. adults or teens.


Young learners range from kindergarten to about 13 years old. They are active, social and creative. They also have a short attention span. The younger they are the shorter it is. They are pretty social and they get motivated by having fun. 

Now for a moment let's compare teaching children to teaching teenagers and adults. Teenagers tend to be a bit moodier. Getting teens or adults to talk can be more difficult. They are usually more inhibited than children. 

On the other hand their English level is often higher. They tend to be less excitable as they get older and have a longer attention span. 

Now back to teaching younger learners.

As a teacher you want to be friendly and warm, but at the same time you want to establish clear rules and expectations. You'll need a lot of repetition to teach young students and beginners regardless of age. 

In fact stop and think about it for a moment. What are you good at? How long did it take to achieve that level of expertise? Chances are that it took a lot of practice.

Repetition is the key to learning everything. Yet, even though you want to use a lot of repetition you also want a lot of variety. It's important to vary your activities. Too much repetition without variety and or the proper activities will bore your students.

Later in the course you'll learn more about keeping your students engaged.

It's important that your instructions are simple and clear. It is often better to show or demonstrate vs. just telling them. 

Whenever you can you want to use miming to help explain the meaning of a word. If for example you are teaching some action words like running, walking or swimming you can first mime them and have them also mime and repeat after you. 

This is commonly referred to as total physical response or TPR. Young learners learn best by doing. I think everybody does, yet children want to do stuff.

Something to keep in mind is that these students (young learners) need organization and structure.  You can give them some responsibilities like cleaning the board, straightening their desks, collecting papers, handing out papers, writing on the board, etc. 

As mentioned you want to keep your classes active and engaged. You will learn more about how to use movement and variety coming up in the course section on the teacher as a public speaker.