Teach English in HaoyAo SumuZhen - Xing'an Meng — Hinggan

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The instruction of any age group can present its challenges, but kindergarten may be viewed by some as intimidating especially by beginner instructors who have not been exposed to a very young audience. Some teachers might even predict that the young pupils might have a difficult time adjusting to a classroom setting because this is the stage where the students are just starting to experience sitting still for a long period of time, learning how to take turns when wanting to participate, learning how to pose questions and/or provide answers, listening to instructions and being able to follow through. Teaching EFL in a kindergarten might not just be about instructing the language content, but perhaps being mindful of an environment where specific strategies are applied to allow the students to learn classroom skills. I believe this foundation is important in order to maximize a sense of order and structure which can in turn facilitate an atmosphere of fun and engaged learning. There are a number of strategies to make this possible, but I would like to talk about three main tactics that I find very helpful when instructing in a kindergarten: attention grabbers, learning through song, and visual aids. One very important step to consider before leading a lesson is to brainstorm attention grabbers. On the very first day of classes, the instructor might consider modeling and practicing with the students fun ways to regroup. This allows for all of the students to be engaged when the teacher poses instructions to an activity or when the group is starting to lose focus and gravitating to activities that don’t pertain to the lesson. Clapping rhythmically is a good way to reassemble the group. The teacher claps using a short rhythm to model and then the students clap back following the same tune. The kindergarten age group is attentive when the teacher models a physical action, a voice or a tune, which is why it’s important to have a list of catchy songs that help present the language content as well. A great way to engage and allow for vocabulary retention is learning language through song. Singing a song is also a great attention grabber. When the teacher starts a tune, the students follow along and continue with the rest of the jingle. As part of the “study” stage in the ESA lesson structure, the teacher might even consider doing a fill-in-the-gap throughout the song and have the children complete the missing links. Singing a song is also a great way to review content that has been worked on in past lessons in order to provide a good refresher for new content. While learning through singing can be very engaging, another strategy that allows for the students to remain focus is through the use of visual aids. The kindergarten age group is in the process of learning and developing complex structures in their own dominant language by assigning and categorizing the objects in the world around them. Using materials the students can feel and hold permits a more solid imprint of the relationship between object and its assigned language term. If the teacher wants to do a lesson on colors, he/she might consider bringing a mystery bag with all kinds of items. As the teacher pulls out each item he/she can state the color and have the students repeat along. Each item would be placed on its corresponding color family. Without having to explicitly say, “We are going to learn about colors”, the children are able to understand that the teacher is categorizing the items in their respective colors. As part of the “activate” stage, the students could be put in pairs and asked to pull out a color from a bag, and depending on the color they receive, the pair goes around the classroom to find items that match the picked color and state to the rest of the class what color they got. There are a number of strategies to use in the kindergarten environment, but I find that attention grabbers, learning through song, and visual aids are essential tools when tackling this age group. I really enjoy these tactics because it allows for a lesson that is structured but also enables teacher’s creativity and flexibility on how to administer the lesson. The students are not only learning new language material, but they remain engaged on the lesson in a fun way!