My article is based on personal experiences as I teach a French Kindergarten class on a voluntary basis.
One September afternoon my sons? new teacher asked if I would be interested in teaching English to her Kindergarten class.
Standing in front of the class for the first time I realized how dreadful it could be. I didn?t have any real experience, only teaching my children at home. Armed with a few songs, an alphabet chart, and a mini lesson plan, I found myself defenseless in front of a class whose concentration span was short. They just wanted to play. It didn?t help that their teacher was there and kept telling them to be quiet in French.
I finally managed to speak to all the children and ask them their names. It was difficult and I had to revert to asking questions in French, then English.
At the end of the lesson, I was exhausted. I left feeling that I never wanted to do it again, but I picked myself up and made some positive decisions.
Before the next class I met with the teacher and explained that I needed to have complete control of the class and maybe she joined at the end. I also asked the teacher to explain each child?s level of English and what the class had been working on previously.
This was a good starting point and helped me to plan for my next lesson.
When I arrived the students were shocked when their teacher left and they were alone with me. I felt confident as I had a prepared and begun the class.
I started with ?Hello my name is Michelle? and drew a stick picture of myself on the board. I then asked each child it?s name. Some of the children just said their name, while others tried to say ?my name is ??.?
I could see that boredom was starting to set in and all they wanted to do was play. (Play as I have now found out is the center of everything for a child and it is the most rewarding way of teaching them).
I told them all how good they were and asked if they would like to sing a song. They thought this was great and some of them started singing twinkle twinkle. I had previously researched Christmas songs in French and English to find ones that had the same tune, but did not necessarily translate word for word.
As a class we decided on Jingle Bells (Vive le Vent in French), which they absolutely loved.
Week 1 I had managed to hold the concentration of the class, have them answer my question and start singing a song.
Week 2 The children told me their names and sang a song
Week 3 I started the class with Hello children and they replied Hello Michelle
I asked a few children what their names were and then I asked my son what day it was. He replied Wednesday, Mecredi which they all picked up on. They all started talking at once.
I asked them to be quiet, putting my finger over my mouth. I repeated the question and told them that today was Wednesday and pointed to their class calendar.
I had devised a song to help my own children remember. It?s great fun, lots of chanting, hand clapping and noisy.
Each week I revised what we had previously done and ended each lesson singing a song or reading a story.
I was building up on basic language ? all through play and song. I read stories that the children were familiar with eg. Little Red Riding Hood and asked them questions. What colour is her coat? Where is the wolf?
I can only do so much once a week, but I have noticed that the children are now confident to speak English outside the classroom and are taking a interest in English films/cartoons and books.
The one thing that I have learnt is that children make teaching fun and they want it to be fun too.
Author: Michelle Le Doux ? T
Date of post: 2007-04-18