Teach English in Tongxing Zhen - Lianyungang Shi

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There are numerous techniques and methods in teaching ESL to different types of students. I believe, when it comes to teaching young learners, establishing rapport is the most significant aspect because social attachments are very important for children. Strong reliable relationships provide the feeling of safety and confidence in the young. This fruitful bond takes a fair amount of teacher’s commitment and certain personal and professional skills. Studying various sources, e.g. Jeremy Harmer’s “How to Teach English”; tutorial videos on YouTube; the TEFL course and through personal motherhood experience, I have identified the following main strategies for building a sincere and productive teacher-student relationship: Respect - Firstly, the teacher must get familiar with the students: know and use their names, preferences and background. If the class is too big, it is best to take notes and avoid asking the same questions repeatedly, this could make the child feel unimportant. If the students are beginners, it is useful to obtain the same information from their parents in order to be able to adapt the learning materials to the student’s life context and abilities. Many adults tend to underestimate a child’s ability to read the atmosphere, the mood, intentions etc. However, this belief could not be more wrong. Children are very observant and are able to understand many things intuitively and build their concepts on these early experiences. Learning ability at this age is the most efficient, they are assimilating all the information from around them, developing their own ideas and ideals. Therefore, it is crucial to be sincere; maintain eye contact when talking directly and listening to the student; give positive attention; make the student feel equal to his or her peers and feel respected. Look, Listen, Respond - In the beginning of the teacher-student relationship, the children are unable to rate teachers based on the teachers’ professionalism. They observe the way a teacher treats them during the class and provide feedback; for example, if positive: respect, receptiveness, smiles and asking for attention (if it is a toddler for example), if negative: boredom, lack of discipline, tantrums etc. According to Jeremy Harmer’s work, the task of the teacher, is to be ready to provide a wide spectrum of different activities and teaching strategies in order to cater for every individual student’s needs and preferences in learning styles. To be effective in the above, the teacher must observe and be responsive to the students, take notes if necessary, know when, how and whom to correct. With children, it is also very important to not abruptly interrupt them whilst they are speaking. And if an error must be corrected, it must be done with the regular tone right after the student finished expressing his or her thoughts. The teacher must find a way to be the ‘prompter’ and ‘manager’ to all young learners when it is required. Reasonable Praise - All children love to be praised, however, it is extremely important to not over flatter them, because with time it starts to sound fake, and children will detect that, or on the other hand some might become "praise junkies”. The teacher must speak from the heart and be completely honest. Balance is the key here. Get along with the parents - It is very useful to build a friendly connection with the students’ parents, in order to elicit and give feedback about their learning experience, issues, preferences. The parent can also suggest to the child that he or she should pay attention to the teacher at school and the student will most likely obey, because more than anything a child wants to make the parents happy (this is regarding difficult students). Be meticulous with the Language - It is widely known that rough tuning is very productive in communicating with children. Using restricted vocabulary, higher pitch, exaggerated intonation, positive responses and patient repetition are very important in teaching ESL to children. However, the teachers must be aware that exaggerating with the tone, exclamation, enthusiasm can be perceived as fake, and is very tiring for the teacher. It is important to find the balance. It might be a good idea to use the adult vocabulary and then repeat the same meaning in rough tuning, so that the child’s speech does not get stuck at the very basic levels ( this can be done after a few months after initial learning commenced). Also, children love to listen to poems, songs, rhymes, therefore, for the little ones, the teacher can try to deliver some information in one of those forms. Patience - This is the skill that I believe must be mentioned when talking about working with children, it is essential, it must be in reserve at all times. Shouting, mockery, sarcasm, despair and such should be avoided at all costs. The teacher must have impressive self-control, because restoring the rapport after “losing face” is very challenging. Making fun of yourself - Children will respond with giggles, become open, happy and receptive when the adult is being silly in front of them, acting clumsy, doing impressions etc. Such skill will melt the ice and make learning a very pleasant and rewarding experience for all. Learning is the most crucial element of human development. When one decides to have a career in children’s education , there must be a certain level of acknowledgment of the responsibility taken upon and realisation of how important it is to establish a strong productive rapport with the students , as it is already half of success if not more. That said, the teacher must be willing to build a beneficial connection with the learners and have the personal skills and motivation to implement this to the best of his or her ability.