Teaching kids - The challenge by Paz Blanco - Inglés fácil, útil y divertido - Madrid

Paz Blanco

Inglés fácil, útil y divertido

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Teaching kids - The challenge

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”― Pablo Picasso

If teaching is an art, so they say, then teaching young kids requires additional artistic skills. Actually, four-to-six-year-old kids cannot be anything but honest, so if they yawn there is nowhere you can hide ― you are not fun. But the thing is they don’t actually need anything different from what the rest of your students do ― they need fun and they need to feel special, although for them this need is essential.

Nevertheless, it’s also true that adults and children have an opposite logic when it comes to entertainment ― for adults it would be unthinkable to repeat the same activities over and over again in their classes, but small kids just love repetition. You can tell them “The three little pigs” hundreds of times and they never ever seem to get enough of it. Also, they need to move and they need to express themselves through their bodies. ―In fact, we all need that, but they happen to haven’t yet been repressed enough. Therefore, no doubt you should have a few singing, dancing, mimics activities at hand in every class.       

Now, most of the tips below also work for adult students, but again these are essentials of working with kids:

  • Be attentive. Full attention to your student is a must. Be prepared for a change of activity at any sign of child being tired.
  • Be gentle and affective. Your student needs to be sure that you are not going to harm them never. Smiling is an international sign of good will, use it as much as you can. Always say please and thank you.
  • Allow them to move. Don’t think that if they get too fussy you are going to lose control of the class. Instead, negotiate. I have a pupil with whom I have agreed she is allowed to handstand as a transition between activities.   
  • Keep saying their names. You need to continuously validate the communication channel. 
  • Remember them. Remember their nicknames, their ages, their likings, make jokes of what they said in a previous activity. If you remember their birthday and make a little something to celebrate, they would so much appreciate it.

Finally, some helpful activities that always work: Who am I? (guessing animals), what am I doing? (guessing actions), How am I? (guessing moods), What’s the weather like?, Numbers and colours, Peek a boo, Simon says… Just remember those games you used to love when you were a kid.  

Are you still afraid of teaching young kids? I tell you a secret ― they are the most rewarding students ever. They are so used to correct mistakes, they do it constantly, so you won’t have to correct the same mistake all over and over again. Wouldn’t that be delightful for all your students? Then you got it, teach kids!

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