Teaching EFL for Young Learners ELTA-Albania, May 2013 Amber Warren, Indiana University, USA
Think about it/Talk about it
When did you first begin learning English?
What were your English classes in school like?
Did you enjoy your English class?
How old are your students?
What are their English classes like?
Do they seem to enjoy the class?
PresenterPresentation NotesThis activity is called Think-Pair-Share. You can use it any time, but it works great at the beginning of a lesson to activate students prior knowledge. It is also good for shy learners, or students who are not comfortable speaking English in front of a group.
Begin by asking a question (or, for more advanced learners, you can ask multiple questions, like I did). Give students time to think about their own answers (silently).Then ask students to pair up and share their responses.Finally, you can ask some of the partners to share their responses with the whole group. Record their responses on a big piece of paper or on the board. Read them back together.
Who are Young Learners?
Students who are 7-12 years old
May be simultaneously learning how to read and write in their native language
Benefit from strategies designed to capitalize on how children learn
What do we know about how children learn?
Children learn through actions and exploration (learn by doing)
They relate new ideas to the themselves and their immediate surroundings (make connections to things they know)
We learn through social interaction with a more experienced other (the Zone of Proximal Development)
And Bruner says Parents scaffold learning for their children, providing input that supports and promotes the cognitive growth of the child
Create interest in the task
Break big tasks down into smaller steps
Model the task (show students how to do something before you ask them to do it alone)
Remind students of the goal or purpose for doing a task
Help students identify the big ideas in each task
We help children learn language when what we ask them to do is
Full of practice Supported Meaningful
Purposeful Enjoyable Social
Technique 1: Extend Vocabulary
What do you think? Are these statements true or false? Thumbs up for true. Thumbs down for false!
1. Research suggests that students need to see a word 7-10 times to learn the word.
2. Vocabulary is easiest to learn when it is taught in lexical sets (e.g. words that end in op, words that mean happy).
3. We should only use the target language when teaching new vocabulary.
4. Knowing a word means more than being able to give a definition.
PresenterPresentation NotesThis strategy is called an Anticipation Guide. It is a great way to introduce a new topic. It sparks students interest in the topic. It also activates their prior knowledge because it gets them thinking about what they already know.
To create an anticipation guide, think of several simple statements about the topic you are going to introduce. Make some of them true and some of them false.Share the statements with your students orally, in writing, or both. Give students time to decide which ones are true and which ones are false.Ask students to share their responses with you.
Answer Key: 1. True (Nation, 1990); 2. False (Nation, 2000); 3. False (Cook, 2001) ; 4. True (Nation, 2005)
Four levels of word knowledge
I know the word well and can use it with confidence.
I know the meaning a little bit. I can associate it with a concept or context.
Ive seen it or heard it, but I dont know what it means.
Ive never seen or heard the word before.
Students develop knowledge about a word slowly, through repeated exposure to the word
Introduce terms in context to help make vocabulary meaningful to students
Define and demonstrate terms for students
Use your resources- providing a translation in the L1 is okay!
4-Corners Word Chart Illustration Sentence
It is raining today.
Definition Rain comes from the clouds.
Personal Dictionaries Designate part of Students Notebooks
to be a Personal Dictionary
Allow time for students to enter new vocabulary in their books
Encourage students to illustrate and write a definition in their own words OR make a definition as a class
Dictionaries can be organized alphabetically (A,B,C), by theme, or by chapter
Designate wall space for your English Word Wall
Use notecards or strips of paper
Allow students to write words themselves
Encourage students to illustrate the words
Limit number of words
Teacher May I
PresenterPresentation NotesVo-BACK-ulary: Print vocabulary words on cards (or post-it notes). Each student gets one word to put on his/her back. Students must try to help each other guess the words on their backs by acting or by giving clues.
Hot Seat: One student sits in the front of the room (in the hot seat). The teacher or another student writes a word on the board. The rest of the class must try to give clues to help the student in the hot seat guess the word.
Teacher May I: This game works best outside or in a big, mostly empty space. Students line up on one end of the room. Teacher stands at the other end. Teacher holds up word cards. Students must raise hand if they know the word. Teacher then calls on ONE student to say the word (or define the word, or act out the word). If student is right, he or she gets to take one step forward. If he or she is wrong, teacher calls on another student. The first student to reach the teacher wins.
Teacher says: Like Simon Says. Teacher gives commands with vocabulary. (Example: Teacher says wave your hand. or Teacher says gallop like a horse.) Students must follow commands. If students do the wrong motion, students sit down. If the teacher does not use the phrase teacher says and the students follow the command anyway, they are also out. The game is to listen to the teacher!
20 Questions: Teacher (or student) thinks of a vocabulary word. Students must ask YES/NO questions to figure out the word. (Example: Is it an animal? Is it big? Does it eat meat?) This is good for practicing grammar too!
Technique 2: Incorporate different ways of learning
Whats my category?
Interviewing Miming (Act it out) Writing on the Board
Clapping in a rhythm
Watching a short video
Chanting or Singing
Turn and tell a friend
Coloring Listening to a story Performing
a play Practicing a
PresenterPresentation NotesThis is a Concept Sort. A concept sort is an introduction strategy that uses new and known vocabulary to get students thinking and talking about a topic.
To make a concept sort, choose vocabulary words related to a theme or topic (example: sports, foods, pets, travel). Put each word in a separate box or on a separate piece of paper. The goal is to decide how to organize the words into categories, or groups of similar items. (example: travel vocabulary might include things we pack, types of transportation, and places we go.)
Students can work in small groups or pairs to sort the vocabulary into categories.
The words on this slide can be sorted in different ways. Here is one possible answer:
Spatial-visual learning: illustrating, coloring, watching a videoMusical learning: chanting/singing, clapping in a rhythmBodily-kinesthetic (movement) learning: miming, performing a playAuditory learning: practicing a dialogue, turn and tell a friend, listening to a storyLinguistic: writing on the board, practicing a dialogue
Here is another:
Group or Pair Activities: interviewing, turn and tell a friend, performing a play, practicing a dialogueIndividual Activities: miming, writing, clapping, watching a video, chanting, illustrating, coloring, listening to a story
Grouping and pair-work: Why try it?
Knowledge is actively constructed through interaction in
collaboration within a social context (Aljaafreh & Lantolf, 1994)
Students actively assist one another through collaboration in dialogic events (Donato, 1994)
Engages students in content and creates more student-talk time
Ways to group students
Partners (2) or Triads (3)
Small Groups (4-6)
By Language Proficiency Level (High-Mid, Mid-Low) High-High, Mid-Mid, Low-Low)
More about Grouping
Turn & Tell a Friend
Numbered Heads Together
Organization Be clear about rules for
behavior in groups
Give all students a turn to participate
Have a signal for bringing the class back together
PresenterPresentation NotesThink/Pair/Share (see slide 2)Turn & Tell a Friend: A less formal version of Think/Pair/Share. Teacher asks a question and instead of responding to the teacher, students share their response with a nearby student.Numbered Heads Together: Students are placed in groups and each person is given a number (from one to the maximum number in each group). The teacher poses a question and students "put their heads together" to figure out