Teach English in Yanghu - Huanggang Shi

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I have been an EFL teacher in an Italian Kindergarten for 3 years now. Whilst you may think it is a fairly easy task due to the rather basic language level, I realised it is actually the most challenging age to teach at EFL and it can be very demanding on the teacher and students. As nursery school teachers are dealing with very young children who are not used to school rules and boundaries. It can be very challenging to execute simple actions, such as: sitting still, listening to what the teacher has to say, or following instructions. Therefore teachers must work hard on class discipline. It's important to state the rules in the first lesson and thereafter ensure the rules are followed. Maintaining discipline can consume a lot of lesson time, therefore reducing the actual time left for learning significantly. There are no additional motivations to behave well, such as notes in school. Not having previous experience of learning a foreign language can be another issue. Sometimes children simply switch off and say that they don't understand a teacher. Another challenge that an EFL teacher faces whilst in a nursery class is the responsibility they have for the children’s emotional welfare. If for some reason, one of the pupils is upset and cries, all the class focuses on the distressed child and naturally this also preoccupies the teacher. For this reason it is wise to include emotions as a course topic, this involves a discussion of each other's emotions in English. Fortunately there are lots of books available on the topic that can be used during story reading. Drawing and painting helps to express emotions too. Another thing that proves more challenging, is preparation of activities for pre-school children. Young learners are not able to write or read nor are they are able to work much on their own. Handing over worksheets is not the method of choice in this case. The preparation takes more time as the teacher must come up with a very attractive lesson plan with a variety of different activities of which each must be completed within a very short time due to pupils' short attention span. The teacher must always 'over-prepare’ having alternative activities as back up, as some may appear boring to them and the decision to omit them is taken. The materials the teacher uses must be visually stimulating, colourful and attractive. It might take time for the teacher to recognise what activities will be successful in each group and what is of interest to that particular group. It's recommended to alternate between static and dynamic activities. Activities that consistently work well with this age group include: singing nursery rhymes, action songs, drawing, painting, reading stories and playing with household objects 'heuristic' play. Last but not least, there can be very little feedback given to a teacher by these young students and therefore not much satisfaction can be obtained in the way one might from the feedback of much older children. Young learners may be very reluctant to utilise the taught language. It is the beginning of the journey for them, so one should not expect to hear much language production. We work on comprehension first and ensuring the first experience of learning a foreign language is a positive one. The role of a pre-school teacher is very important and if done well the job can be very rewarding. The teacher must remember that it is quite possibly the first time that their pupils have left the comfort of their own families to embark on a long language learning journey. Our role as teachers is to create safe environment where these young children not only feel at ease but where they are nurtured.