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Teach English in ZhAngshi Zhen - Chenzhou Shi
Topic: 34. Teaching EFL in a Kindergarten Children in a Kindergarten learn best EFL through play “Birds fly, fish swim, and children play.”1 Play is the childrens’ nature and the best way for a permanent learning process. They learn everything by doing and playing, so they also have to be actively involved in the learning process of EFL through play. Teaching children is totally different from teaching older students or adults due to the fact that children are still in the process of developing their mother tongue. In addition to that, children of kindergarten level are not yet able to read or write, they have to acquire the language mainly by listening and speaking which should be supported with visual aids such as pictures, videos and gestures. When children are playing they decide on their own what to do and they are leading the process. This child-led play is focused on deep concentration because through play, children are experimenting, exploring and therefore learning. It’s a totally natural process in which children apply their previous knowledge, deepen it and expand their skills. Children first listen, then they talk. Therefore, the speaking ability’s condition is the listening ability. We can support their listening skills with different resources such as songs, rhymes, videos, flashcars, stories etc. As childrens’ concentration phases are short, teachers need to present them the language in an enjoyable way with a huge variety of activities that are appropriate to the young learners’ interests. Potential can only be tapped when these conditions are met. Moreover, learning through play is also supported by science, by experts and most importantly by children themselves which is in my opinion the most essential perequisite for a sustainable learning success.(2&3) As children need a trustful environment they also have to be able to trust their teachers and thus to build a powerful realtionship. The teacher’s interactions with children will affect their learning process for the reason that they learn best in an environment that focus on relationships. To promote a positive relationship there are some techniques like praising as long as it is not too much and not too little. Teachers have to be able to focus on the young learners’ needs and also to behave like kids to reinforce the relationships. Teachers can best enter the childrens’ world during their play. By using the target language, the teacher will guide the learning and in this way, children aquire new vocabularies in a natural and enjoyable way while they are playing. For example, the teacher describes in detail what the child is doing there and in this way, children firstly listen and save what is said and when they feel secure and comfortable they will start producing the target language on their own. To support their speaking, it is also necessary to talk clearly, slowly and to repeat very much. Children feel most comfortable through play, they need a trustful environment and a good relationship. All these aspects are basic elements of the willing to speak and therefore a successful learning process may be presumed. If all these conditions are fulfilled, children will feel comfortable and thus their their use of EFL can happen. 1 Garry L. Landreth 2 Tina Bruce (2015) Early Childhood Education 5th Edition 3 CMEC Statement on Play-Based Learning (https://www.cmec.ca/Publications/Lists/Publications/Attachments/282/play-based-learning_statement_EN.pdf)