Learning Can Be Fun for English Second Language Children
Every teacher wants to teach their children’s esl class effectively and every child is eager to learn if we provide a caring and welcoming atmosphere. Learning is fun and rewarding! (See also “Suggested Points For Overcoming the Fear Factor”.) How can we help English Second Language children to understand, speak, read, write and enjoy English? Let’s start when they first enter the class. The first activity sets the tone.
ESL Children Have Special Needs.
In some situations they are having difficulty understanding the new cultural environment, the teachers and the other children in the school. In other cases, for English students in a setting where they never hear English outside of the English class, they are having difficulty understanding what the teacher wants them to do. These children need to laugh and feel welcome in their new environment. It is the teacher who can create a warm and friendly classroom. When they first enter they are likely involved in, and possibly confused by something that happened on the playground or on the way to school. Whether the English class is the only time that they speak English or whether they have moved to an English speaking country and are encountering the language for the first time, we want them to have a positive attitude to learning English. They’ve been running, jumping, playing games or perhaps just watching others play before they enter your room.
How Do You Make a Good Start to the Lesson?
The children will feel more confident if they start the class with something they can do successfully. Every teacher has a different way of dealing with this, so here are a few suggestions to help you:
– Have a quiet time for five minutes when they first come in. They might sit at their desks with their heads down while you play music or songs that they enjoy. This gives them time to make the transition from home to an environment that often leaves them confused about what they are expected to do.
– For some groups, singing a song is a great beginning for a class. It’s also a very effective way for the children to learn English
– Have an easy activity on their desks. It should be related to their work. Follow the dots and simple mazes are good for young children who are just starting to read.
– Children love all kinds of puzzles. These should be related to their main English Language program.
– Have them design a puzzle for the others to do. It could be a simple picture that another student will finish. This might become an ongoing activity. Provide a place in the classroom where they can put their puzzles for others to try when their work is finished. You’ll find that it produces lots of laughter that will build a positive attitude throughout your class.
– Have the children begin with the daily writing of a journal, telling about what they did the night before or after they got up that morning. If their English language skills are very low, their journal could be done by drawing if an adult can sit with them later to help them write about their pictures.
Every teacher is comfortable with a different approach to teaching. This is an advantage as children learn in a wide variety of ways. Choose any of the suggestions given above, try them with your childrens’ ESL class and choose the ones that are the most helpful for you.