Teaching English for Kids in Primary School
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Saturday, 25 June 2011 16:41


How to Teach English to children in primary School

Practical Ideas Language learning & Language acquisition

•  L1 is acquired and L2 is learned.

This is because we understand that the first language is acquired through experience while the second language usually comes with formal teaching.

•  We The order of acquisition

… present the language orally; the child listens

… then ask the children to reproduce the language orally; the child speaks

… then present language in the written form; the child reads

… finally ask then to reproduce this language in a written form; the child writes

2. Learning English

2.1 English pronunciation

- Most vowels can be pronounced in two or more ways and brought together in different combinations, they form different sounds.

- 20 different vowels sounds, all produced by just five letters

- There are many consonant combinations which produce different sounds e.g. th can be /θ/ (as in think) or /ð/ (as in this) Silent letters, in words ending in -e, such as take and hope; -b such as comb and lamb

- English does not use accent to show where a word should be stressed

2.2. English structure

•           At primary levels we are usually concerned with simple structures, such as basic verb tenses, adjective/noun combinations, prepositions and so on. They should be very limited and should be practised and recycled continually

•   Structure should not be taught independently from the whole language context, e.g. the possessive’s (Demonstrations)

•   Our ultimate aim in the classroom is to teach our students effective communication

2.3 Motivation

•           An important element of successful teaching is knowing how to motivate your students The main motivation for language learning has to be the desire to communicate.

2.4.  Methods and Approaches

- Total physical response - TPR

• It is based upon the way that children learn their mother tongue. Parents have 'language-body conversations' with their children, the parent instructs and the child physically responds to this.

•   It allows the students to move and react meaningful to language

3. Steps in TPR

- The teacher starts by saying a word ('jump') or a phrase ('look at the board') and demonstrating an action.

- The teacher then says the command and both, the students and the teacher  do the action.

- The teacher  says the command and the students   do the action.

- The teacher asks the student to do the action.

- After repeating a few times it is possible to extend this by asking the students to repeat the

word as they do the action.

- When they feel confident with the word or phrase you can then ask the students  to

direct each other or the whole class.   TPR can be used to teach and   practice many things

• Vocabulary connected with actions (smile, chop, headache, wriggle)


•  Tenses past/present/future and continuous aspects (Every morning I clean my teeth, I make my bed, I eat breakfast)

•  Classroom language (Open your books)

•  Imperatives/Instructions (Stand up, close you eyes)

•  Story-telling

4. The communicative approach

• Language is taught as a tool for communicating.

•The focus is more on meaning than on form.

•  Errors are a natural part of learning

•  The classroom should provide students with the opportunity torehearse real-life situations using natural language

• Emphasis on oral and listening development

• Language emerges in stages

5. The natural approach

• Stage 1  Preproduction

Children understand but do not verbalize language. They may respond not verbally.

• Stage 2  Early Production

Children begin to produce familiar words or short phrases.

•  Stage 3   Speech Emergence

Children have a limited vocabulary and respond in short phrases or   sentences. Students begin to use dialogue and can ask simple questions

• Stage 4   Intermediate Fluency

Children  begin to make complex statements, state opinions, ask for clarification, share their thoughts, and speak at greater length.

• Stage 5   Advanced Fluency

Students have developed some specialized content-area vocabulary and can participate fully in grade-level classroom activities.

6. Classroom activities.

Stage 1

•           Use of visual aids and gestures

•           Slow speech emphasizing key words

•           Do not force oral production

•           Write key words on the board with students copying them as they are presented

•           Use pictures and manipulatives to help illustrate concepts

•           Use multimedia language role models

•           Use interactive dialogue journals

•           Encourage choral readings

•           Use Total Physical Response (TPR) techniques

Stage 2

•           Engage students in charades and linguistic guessing games

•           Do role-playing activities

•           Present open-ended sentences

•           Promote open dialogues

•           Conduct student interviews with the guidelines written out

•           Use charts, tables, graphs, and other conceptual visuals

•           Use newspaper ads and other mainstream materials to encourage language interaction

•           Encourage partner and trio readings

Stage 3

•           Keep on using the same strategies of stages 1 and 2

•           Model standard structures of the language

•           Ask WH questions

•           Make the students to participate in duet, pair and choral reading activities.

•           Write and illustrate riddles

•           Use explanations and two-step directions.

•           Avoid public correction

7.Task-based learning

•           Learning is more meaningful if student can focus on completing a task using the target language rather than concentrating on using the language correctly.

8. Immersion

•           The best way to learn a language is to be surrounded by it -as much as possible.

•           Student participate actively in an English speaking environment

•           Children are exposed to functional language, which they quickly learn to understand and respond to with the help of modeling, visual aids, and contextual clues.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 25 June 2011 21:01

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