Teach English in WunaoshAn Linchang - Huanggang Shi

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The demand for teaching English to young learners has been increasing worldwide for last few decades. Children between ages of five to thirteen are categorized as young learners in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), with the majority of parents who have children of this age tend to provide English language education due English generally accompanying the ever increasing globalisation. However, teaching English to young learners is one of the most challenging student groups due to several reasons, with a primary reason being that it is often difficult to maintain children’s attention for extended periods in the classroom and therefore difficult to preserve a productive English learning environment. Below I outline the further difficulties when teaching English to young students and methods to maintain an effective learning environment in the classroom. The age groups of young learners in TEFL are divided into 2 groups, between the ages of five to nine (Group 1), and between the ages of nine to thirteen (Group 2). Both Group 1 and 2 have common features, such as lower concentration levels and reduced ability to see the abstract when compared to adult learners. Furthermore, the children in Group 1 have low memorization skills and don’t learn consciously. For these reasons, class room management often becomes difficult, due to young learners becoming easily distracted and disruptive, especially when bored, which often leads to them not following instructions from the teacher. In addition, most children are unable to concentrate whilst sitting at a desk and working from an exercise book for long periods, which is often a part of study activities in ESA (Engage, Study and Activate) methodology for adult learners. Consequently, children often become start disturbing others, or in some cases, get up and walk around in the classroom. To avoid these situations, the characteristics of young learners need to be mindfully considered when teachers create classroom management plans. There are three key points to consider when managing a young learners class. Firstly, table arrangement is an effective tool which can benefit the learning environment. There are mainly three types of table arrangements, Circular, Semi-circular and Group tables, each of which result in various advantages and disadvantages. When small group activities are planned, the group table arrangement is the best option. However there are also disadvantages which teachers need to be aware of, such as, this arrangement breaks the class up into small groups so frequent changes of student’s seating position is required which can hinder prompt communication with all students in the classroom. Circular type seating arrangements better suit group discussion, but do not suit board use activities, and the teacher is sometimes isolated from the group. Alternatively, Semi-circular seating arrangement is a useful style for board activities and makes it easier for both teachers and students to move around when required. The table arrangement choice is dependent on the specific activity in a given lesson. Secondly, there are six role-models that a teacher can represent: Instructor, Facilitator, Mentor, Psychologist, Counselor and Policeman. The teacher needs to clearly understand before each lesson which role they will need to play, depending on the situation, in order to best manage the class. Lastly, the main difference between the lesson plan for young learners and adult learners which needs to be kept in mind, is the amount of physical activities and games. By playing games, listening to music and expressing words with physical actions, young learners are generally more attracted and interested in the lesson. As a result, they are more focused and motivated to learn English. In general, when people say the phrase “Teaching English”, the lesson requirements of teaching English for young students is widely different from teaching English to adult learners. As a teacher, you must carefully consider this aspect, adjust lesson plans accordingly, and decide which classroom management method to use depending upon the students' age group. By providing an effective environment, a clear understanding of the roles of the teacher in the classroom, and suitable lesson planning dependent upon students age, classroom management become more effective and prevents potentially uncontrollable situations.