Teach English in Chengjisihan Zhen - Hulunbei'er Shi — Hulunbuir

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Circle time has become a teaching staple for teachers in most countries around the world. Circle time is a lesson in which teachers and students sit down in a circle, either on the floor or in a chair, and usually discuss morning topics. Circle time is mostly used in primary school but is also starting to be introduced in secondary school. It is a moment that builds rapport amongst the students and the teacher, as well as being effective in building many skills, enriching vocabulary, and teaching new concepts in a fun manner. Depending on the age of the students, circle time should be no longer than twenty to fifty minutes. Circle time usually starts with a form of greeting, it is a way for the students to understand that we are starting a new lesson, and then followed with a brief individual greeting task where they could either introduce themselves or discuss how they are feeling. Other activities include singing a short rhyme or riddle to help engage the students towards the lesson. It is important for the children and the teacher to follow a routine to avoid disruption and confusion so that the lesson runs smoothly. A common topic used during circle time would be the calendar, if we were beginning a new month we would usually show the students that we are removing the old month from the calendar and putting up a new one. We might let the students say “Goodbye December, Hello January!” this is important as you are teaching them the passage of time indirectly. When introducing a new month you can show the students the sign and use constant drilling to help them pronounce the word, by saying“ January, January, /j/-/j/-/j/”, some students spontaneously start listing different items that begin with that letter. This becomes another topic to include as a fun way to teach the students the letters of the alphabet. Once we covered the month we would then ask what day it is, it is possible to chant a little song if you want to teach the students the days of the week. The use of songs is a great method to teach students a topic in a fun and interactive way, I personally still find myself singing the days of the week song that I learned as a child. As mentioned before, circle time can be used to teach a topic that we want to introduce to the children, whether it is about the days of the week, colors, hibernation, a greeting or kindness. When introducing new topics in a foreign country we must keep in mind the country’s beliefs and customs, while remembering to keep our teacher talk time simple and brief. Since the students are EFL learners, most of them have not fully grasped the English language, and for some of the students, it might be their first time hearing the language. During circle time, it is always fun to use props like sock puppets, flashcards or real objects; this is a highly engaging activity and brings something different to the lesson while making circle time entertaining. When we first introduce circle time, students should understand that they must follow certain “rules”. They should listen, share and wait for their turn; these skills will develop naturally in time. For example, we could pass a ball around, and only the student holding the ball could speak. I personally believe that circle time is a good way to start off the day, as it is an easy way to make the children feel comfortable in their environment and excited about the daily topic. Nowadays, this teaching method has started to become popular, not only in schools with children but also amongst adult classes because of its “ice-breaker” effect. Circle time should finish with a fun interactive game, for example, “duck, duck goose”, “Simon says!”, and “who is missing?” where the students close their eyes, while another student is picked to hide. When the student has hidden, the group needs to guess who is missing. In conclusion, circle time is a great activity for all language learners to use as it offers numerous possibilities for content or subject matter; it puts the learners at ease and quickly engages them in the lesson. It is a time for sharing, listening, observing and expressing ideas; it is also an easy way for the teacher to evaluate their students’ knowledge acquired throughout the lessons. At the end of the day, no matter what part of the world you are teaching in, it is important to be simple, direct and to have fun, as it will generate curiosity and desire by the students.