Teaching English to Children
I don't mind telling you that I was pretty
nervous my first time teaching English to children.
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I'd taught adults
and older teenagers
before, but being presented with
a class of 9-10 year olds was a pretty scary experience!
I made mistakes. I expected them to have the same concentration levels
as adults, I expected them to be able to work for a two hour class, and
I expected them to behave well and respect me. None of those things
turned out to be true!
The children I taught tested me to see how far they could go. Once they
knew I had boundaries and that I stuck to them, they respected me and
started to behave.
We developed ways together to deal with discipline issues and they
It is important to have class rules when you are working with children,
whatever age they are.
I find it is a good idea to get them to make posters with the rules
they think are important and put them up in the classroom.
Be prepared for some strange rules, but generally this works really
If you have a problem with children playing with toys or cell phones
during your class, have them leave their bags and coats at one end of
the classroom, just taking out what they need for the lesson.
Start as you mean to go on. Children appreciate consistency so don't
change your rules part way through a semester or they will be confused
and unlikely to cooperate.
Lessons for children need to be fun and varied
Depending on the level and age of the children, there are various
things you can do.
1. English Games
are an essential part of an English lesson for children. Turning
them into competitive team games and/or offering rewards
such as gold
stars really help kids' motivation.
2. Create movement in the class
You can't expect young children to sit still for a whole class.
Have some movement games in the lessons (for example, miming words),
cut up reading texts and hide the pieces for them to find, create
treasure hunts around your school, or simply have them get up and move
seats every 20 minutes or so.
3. Music and song work really well with kids
Teach them songs in English
, get them to listen to music and draw
pictures of how it makes them feel and ask them to describe their
drawings, get them to write different words to existing songs, etc.
If you have a longer activity, some children work really well with
music in the background.
4. Children love visual activities
Drawing pictures, making posters, making magazines, etc., all of these
are great ways of teaching English in a fun way.
5. Stories are another way of getting your class
to use English
There are so many activities you can do based around English stories
giving word prompts for them to make stories, giving them a story to
act out or draw pictures for, or getting them to write stories in
Even though I said I would never do it, teaching English to children
has made me a better teacher and given me a new repertoire of
I enjoyed it immensely, and so can you!