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Kids...

 
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SueH



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 1022
Location: Northern Italy

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:06 pm    Post subject: Kids... Reply with quote

I'd prefer to teach adults but inevitably it looks like I'm going to have to teach kids even younger than before without specific training or experience.

Any tips from those with more experience (Betti, TiR?), so I at least manage to keep some order in mixed 1/2/3 primaria age classes, not bore them to tears and possibly even teach them something?!
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1211

PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't teach kids, but have seen others do it. Lots of pace, games, activities. You'll probably need resources if you don't have time to create your own. There's a great primary resouce book (can't remember either name of publisher - sorry) and loads on the internet. Have a look at Jason Renshaw's stuff on englishraven.com and Let's Go (OUP American English) that I've heard great things about.

You'll need flashcards, snakes and ladders, dice, lots of coloured pens, gold stars for motivation! It's a question of harnessing their natural curiosity and sense of fun, engaging with them rather than dragging them to a coursebook. Not hugely different from teaching adults, really!

Hope it all goes well!
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Betti



Joined: 03 Feb 2007
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sue. I've taught private groups of students (7-9 yrs) and infant school (state school) children (5 years). I've also taught teachers how to teach young children. Quite how I was deemed an expert I still don't know - but the classes went well.

It's really difficult to find good material for young learners (in my opinion). The best site I've found - though I don't use it exclusively - is Genki English. Originally designed for the Japanese market, its principles are based upon lots of TPR. You have to pay for access to the site - though there might be some stuff you can download without having to pay. If you do subscribe they have fantastic printable flash cards which the children love.

The important thing is to keep things moving and energetic. With my young kids I have a puppet which I hide under my clothes with a leg or arm poking out. I show them the flash card for the toy and then mime looking for it. This gets them in a right state - shouting and pointing and sometimes grabbing until I faked huge surprise and produced said puppet. That was the attention-grabber. After that I did a mixture of songs with actions and new vocab with flash cards.

My advice - lots of over-the-top miming, competition (some frown upon this, but it really gets a class going), a mixture of songs that incorporate actions and new language. For older kids - old favourites such as hangman or noughts and crosses work well to reinforce vocabulary and Simon Says functions as a warm-up. With the older children I usually start the lesson (after the warm-up) with a review session with them in a line and whizz through the flashcards asking questions "What's this/that?" "What colour is it?" "How many are there?" "Do you like...?" etc. If the student gets the answer correct, he goes to the back of the queue. If he/she gets it wrong they sit down (I normally give them a trial run). The last one standing is the winner. I then move on to new material, an appropriate song and end with dominoes and/or a board game. I don't do much written work because most of my lessons are supplements to the standard school lessons, but I often do word searches or crosswords.

My philosophy is this: make them feel like they're having fun and not 'being taught', this way they look forward to the lesson and so do you! My bias is always based on strong oral communication.

I'm sure this sounds hopelessly convoluted - easier to 'show' than explain!
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SueH



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 1022
Location: Northern Italy

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your suggestions! These classes are additional to school so I won't be doing much written work for the younger ones either and in any case they'll only just have started reading/writing in Italian.

Lasy year in primary school I had a few extra paid hours for which I did some story-telling. The Ant and the Grasshopper, Pied Piper of Hamelin etc which went quite well and involved some TPR. Playing the tin whistle helped!

I raided Wilkinsons and the Pound shops for bits and pieces so have stocks of card, reward stickers (figa!) etc, and laminating pouches: they loved having some of their work laminated last year.

I don't start until October so I've got a bit of time to rehearse my "Wheels on the bus"..!
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1211

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow Betti - your ideas are fab! I especially love the puppet thing, and can imagine how the kids react. You must get exhausted after an hour...
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Betti



Joined: 03 Feb 2007
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks TiR! All joking aside, one does have to pace oneself. The first lesson I ever did with the infants nearly killed me. Was teaching a group of about 35+ 5-year-olds - with assistance from 3 other teachers. They hated me because I'd get them standing up, spinning around and sitting down and doing all sorts so that we all got a good work out. However, I had to slow it down otherwise I wouldn't be here to report my findings. The children loved the puppet (I have a hippo). Danger points: my clothes nearly being ripped off me as they tried to grab the hippo; impromptu group hugs (aah!) which had me gasping for breath; vicious attacks on said hippo by a group of small boys and hearing damage due to excited tots.

Like a lot of teachers, I was dreading teaching children. I had taught 10-13 year-olds before - in my one and only job at a language school - and hated it because it felt so boring (and I think they hated it, too). Now I've been able to unleash my inner maniac - I love it! Feedback is instant - you quickly realise when something's working / not working and having the puppet was the breakthrough, it's a great ice-breaker for the first lesson and subsequently gets the kids all geed up for the lesson.
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Betti



Joined: 03 Feb 2007
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me again. Just a couple of additions: the infants I teach in the school hall and the lesson's in the afternoon so we can make as much noise as we want. The private classes I initially taught in an office space, so had to tone it down a bit...then I ended up teaching them at my home. Being Italy, I knew no-one would mind a bit of a racket and did the first part of the lesson in the communal courtyard outside! Bit cheeky, but the neighbours loved it!! One more good game is "What's the time, Mr Wolf?". The children would request this every lesson.... or for vocab revision - kids in a circle, get them to pick a subject (animals, actions etc.), throw the ball and say a word. They have 10 seconds to think of something and throw the ball to the next person (get the others to do the countdown), no repetition or you are eliminated.
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SueH



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 1022
Location: Northern Italy

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again. Like TiR i can't imagine maintaining such a pace for long, especially with 35+ kids (aargh). I managed to keep the group sizes down but not the lesson lengths, which will be too long for the younger kids, so will have to have some quiet down time in my lessons too.

I've got some soft toys, but I'll have to make myself a sock puppet with the wiggly eyes I got in Wilkinsons. I've a noisy Countdown style clock which may come in useful and a soft ball for circle type throwing games.

I couldn't remember how you played the game you mentioned so I had to check, but Wikipedia tells me it originated in Italy as Lupo Della Ore..!
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