Jump to content
Linguaholic

Teaching a foreign language to children


Recommended Posts

I used to be a language tutor and the most difficult thing for me was teaching children.

I wonder what are the best methods to deal with 7 to 10 year-olds?

For me, the biggest challenge was that it's their parents who made the decision. The children themselves are often not interested in a foreign language, they are already overloaded with school programme and all they want to do is play lego or go for a walk with friends. And I entirely sympathise with that but what can I do? I was hired to teach them, not to play with them. I tried my best to introduce some games and fun elements into the lessons but I couldn't completely overlook grammar exercises and other "boring" bits.

Is there something that really works when you try to teach children?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Utilize the lego or whatever toys and games they enjoy playing. Get to know what works for them and what makes them tick. It is only then that you can come up with a methodology that is fit for their needs and learning style. It could be easy to acquire a certain knowledge but it is not easy transferring this knowledge especially to kids with shorter attention span.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have children myself yet.
But when I will have, I'll probably teach them English, Spanish and maybe Mandarin.
Those are the 3 most widely spoken languages in the world, very useful if they decide to do business with the whole world.
However, I won't force them to, knowing my family isn't really into language learning but perhaps I'm a combo breaker and everything will change in the future. :P

Link to post
Share on other sites

I taught English in South Korea for five years. I found that table-top roleplaying games, like Dungeons & Dragons (of all things) are actually fantastic tools for teaching languages. My ten-year old students loved it! Children love games, so any way that you can 'game-ify' your lessons is sure to get a positive response from them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was in school, my teacher used songs and games, even for grammar.  Perhaps you can do the same.   Granted, we were older (it was the 8th grade), but it worked.  You can have them work in groups or make a contest out of it.  Just anything you can think of that would make it more fun. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was in school, my teacher used songs and games, even for grammar.  Perhaps you can do the same.   Granted, we were older (it was the 8th grade), but it worked.  You can have them work in groups or make a contest out of it.  Just anything you can think of that would make it more fun. 

I like this idea a lot. Songs are not as "boring" as normal  grammar exercises, and I think they can be very useful. Although the problem is to find suitable ones :( It's not so easy to find songs that are both pleasant in terms of melody, have easy vocabulary and the grammar is both neither too difficult nor "incorrect". I wonder if anyone knows English songs that are useful for beginners?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this idea a lot. Songs are not as "boring" as normal  grammar exercises, and I think they can be very useful. Although the problem is to find suitable ones :( It's not so easy to find songs that are both pleasant in terms of melody, have easy vocabulary and the grammar is both neither too difficult nor "incorrect". I wonder if anyone knows English songs that are useful for beginners?

You said they were 7-10 year olds, right?  What do preteens listen to in Russia?  What is acceptable for your school?  Maybe I can figure out the English equivalent. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You said they were 7-10 year olds, right?  What do preteens listen to in Russia?  What is acceptable for your school?  Maybe I can figure out the English equivalent. 

To tell you the truth, I have no idea about what is popular in Russia these days.  I'm now living in Poland and I do occasional teaching tasks here. And I must say that some of the things children listen to actually make me apprehensive :( I have nothing against pop, I actually like it a lot myself, but some of the "cool" songs (not just Polish - also American or British) have a lot of swear words, insults or plain ugly stuff that I don't even want to describe here. It's sad that such young children already listen to that, probably, they don't understand much, but still...

Link to post
Share on other sites

To tell you the truth, I have no idea about what is popular in Russia these days.  I'm now living in Poland and I do occasional teaching tasks here. And I must say that some of the things children listen to actually make me apprehensive :( I have nothing against pop, I actually like it a lot myself, but some of the "cool" songs (not just Polish - also American or British) have a lot of swear words, insults or plain ugly stuff that I don't even want to describe here. It's sad that such young children already listen to that, probably, they don't understand much, but still...

Here in the Netherlands it's perfectly fine to swear on the radio.
I was listening to an interview with a Canadian rapper at one point at work, so the presenter said "this is so fucking amazing", to which the rapper was shocked to hear you can freely swear on the radio here.
The presenter on his turn was shocked to hear you can get fined for that in Canada, so then that rapper started to swear all he could in the next 15 minutes. :(

Link to post
Share on other sites

At that age (7-10), I would say that getting them interested in the language is the most important. I teach English to children in Japan (in a public school) and I think the biggest problem for me is that they don't care. They simply DON'T CARE. They get through class with the bare minimum, they don't participate, and they don't actually learn. I find that playing games with them is A LOT more effective than teaching them grammar. Maybe they don't learn as much (or as fast), but they remember what they learn. Of course, we can't play games every lesson, but I try to do my lessons based on activities that require interaction among students. Instead of getting them to sit around and take notes, I get them to move around and do a worksheet with their friends. I get to draw pictures or make crafts. I get them to do something "fun", something that actually makes them think. Then after the activity, I follow up with the grammar. 

I think that's the most effective way to teach a foreign language. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

For my kids the best way to help them learn is to make it fun. I would try putting grammar or vocabulary onto the lego, and also put the corresponding word in their native language on lego. Then they can match it up, and build with the matches they made. Or when you go on a walk, let them name everything they see in the language they are trying to learn. Reward them when they get things correct. Maybe get dvds of fun kids shows in the new language, if the parents allow, and help them to understand it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can more or less relate to this.  When I was still in elementary school in Saudi Arabia, our classes were required to learn the Arabic language, whether we liked it or not.  I think it was in Grade 3 when we were required to master the Arabic alphabet.  Every year level until high school, we always had an Arabic class.  In my case, I only studied Arabic not out of pleasure, but out of requirement.  It's basically stiff learning a language which you have little or no interest in.  Back then, there were no language apps or computers, just some chalk and board.  As of the moment, I have no children, but if I do, I will try to teach them Nihongo as well as instruct them on basics about Japanese language and culture.  In fact, I will also try to enrol them in a Children's Nihongo program so they can have fun learning the language.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Similar Content

    • By JoeZamm
      Unlock the world 
      Hello! We are a dedicated language learning discord supplying you with a place to communicate with natives and live out your polyglot dreams. We also need teachers too!
      Features:
      Self assignable roles Positive learning environments where everyone is there to help you A dedicated staff team to make sure everything is running smoothly :notes: Music bots to show off and listen to your favourite music. Weekly classes for language of all types of learners (beginner, intermediate and expert) Resources being provided to you in every language so the knowledge is at your doorstep We hope to see you soon! If you would like to come and see it for yourself, come and join our safe growing server here: https://discord.gg/4v588d6
      Thank you for your time
    • By Aliciaa
      Hi everyone! 
      I am currently conducting research on effective second language teaching. I would highly appreciate your input on the subject through this survey. 
      https://goo.gl/forms/4SUjJQmc3iFELFwq2
      All responses are anonymous.
      Please let me know if you have any further questions or would be interested in reading/discussing the paper once published.
      Alicia H 
    • By hrup
      Hi there, 
      I am a foreign language teacher in my country. I have some questions to you experienced teachers out there.
       
      - 1.Should I teach the class only in the studied language? If I do, don't grammar explanations become too complex and overwhelming? You have to understand both the grammar and the new words, used to explain it. Especially in lower levels, and especially for students, who haven't learned the words well enough. Also, sometimes quite a bit of new words are given in one class visit; if you explain all the word meanings in the studied language, it will take too much time and we might not be able to take the material for the day. 
      - 2.Should they translate the texts to their mother language, or not? Of course it's good to teach them to think directly in the new language, but I've noticed that without translation the students quite often don't understand very clearly the meaning of some complex sentences or idiomatic expressions. Is there a point in reading, if they don't understand? And if they can't understand a text, how are they supposed to understand when someone is talking to them face to face? 
       
      Thanks a lot! Any responses appreciated. 
       
       
       
    • By MaartenE
      Hello everyone,
       
      I am new to this board, maybe I can use this opportunity to introduce myself.
      I am Maarten, 24 years of age and I live in The Netherlands. Actually I speak Dutch fluently, but my girlfriend doesn't.
      She lives in Macedonia, and is eager to learn Dutch. We communicate with eachother in English, and she speaks French and German as well.
      Now Dutch is, (to put it very broad) a mix of English and German grammar, with some French vocabulary, so you can imagine Dutch isn't the hardest language for her to learn.
       But what should I look out for when teaching her Dutch? I notice myself that I struggle explain certain sentences, since you can translate a sentence in a literal and a figurative way. 
      For example: 

      "Ik loop vandaag naar school" means "I am walking to school today.". While in Dutch, it literally says" "I walk today to school", which is incorrect in English,m but correct in Dutch.
      How do you explain the difference in sentence structure? I am struggling to find a coherent explanation for it, maybe because it is second nature for me. 
      Also, I am eager to learn different methods for me to practice with my girlfriend, to make it more enjoyable and exciting for the both of us.
      Note, we do call and videocall, but we cant see eachother in person, which sometimes is a bit of a struggle.
       
      I am looking forward to your responses.
       
      Greetings, Maarten
       
       
    • By Eltis
      In a vast yet diversified country like India where dialect and languages vary for every couple of hundred kilometres, English and Hindi remain among the most widely spoken, understood and recognized languages. Along these two languages, English generally connects a lot of people who hail from areas where spoken local languages are completely different from each other i.e. Tamil and Marathi. In such cases, English acts the bridge between the individuals and enables them incommunicating with each other easily. For all other practical purposes also, English is widely hailed and used as a common language across the globe.
      Therefore learning English language becomes pertinent for any individual who aspires to build his/her career in today’s globalized economy. English language acts as a stepping stone towards success for students of all streams as well as working professionals across all the industry verticals. Developing command over any language including English comprises of developing deep understanding of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciations. Generally English is considered as a funny language because its pronunciations and vocabulary vary alot. Often similarly spelt words have different pronunciations and alphabets remain silent in many words which make the pronunciations very peculiar and it takes consistent time and effort to remember and master them. This primarily happens because roots of large quantum of English wordsoriginate from other languages like Latin, French, Spanish etc. This trait also adds lot of diversity to the language and makes it easy for people across the globe to adapt it.
       
      ELTIS which stands for English Language Teaching Institute of Symbiosis is a Pune based institute which has been instrumental in training students from 25 plus countries in developing command over English language. ELTIS offers wide range of courses for International as well as Indian students which help them in developing command over written and spoken English. They also provide specific focus on Business English which enables the students in exceling in competitive corporate environment.ELTIS also offers specific courses for Indian students who want to learn English speaking. Institute boasts competent and qualified faculty which also helps students to learn English grammar which is often considered as one of trickiest aspects of English language.Institute also offers short term crash courses, summer courses and year long diploma courses which cater to needs of college students as well as working professionals. They also offer a course specifically designed for students who want appear in IELTS exam which provides admission gateway to 9000 plus universities worldwide.
      ELTIS is part of Pune based renowned Symbiosis International University and it has been at helm of helping out many individuals from diverse backgrounds in mastering the spoken and written English.

×
×
  • Create New...