Teach English in YueshAn Zhen - Anqing Shi

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Teaching EFL in a KindergartenEnglish as a foreign language in preschool has become an increasing trend in many different countries across the world. Kindergartens all over the world offer the opportunity of second language learning, usually of english language.(1) It's important to start teaching english as a second language early, because young children have an easier time learning languages than adolescents or adults. This is because young children are still using their intrinsic language-learning skills to acquire their first language. They quickly realize they can use these same skills when learning english.(5) Of course, the content, preschool lesson themes, and ways of transferring knowledge based on fun activities are adapted to kindergarten age and social environment.(1) Teaching ESL in kindergarten to 3- and 4-year-olds, is restricted to action-based activities, playing games, singing and dancing; with 5- and 6-year-olds the methodology of teaching english as a foreign language is extended by using storytelling, role play and dramatization techniques. Play and interactive preschool lesson themes and fun ESL activities are the basic tool for second language learning, and grammar and vocabulary development in both groups.(1) Key themes that should be incorporated into every lesson plan when teaching young children: ? -Kinesthesia. This describes a method of learning through the physical activity of the body. Allowing the children to dance, jump, run and play physical games effectively teach a wide range of vocabulary eg, parts of the body, prepositions, verbs. Physical activity can also consist of activities such as finger-painting, water play or playdough, essential activities for this age group.(2) ? -Awareness of sound is at an all-time high. Reading stories with a lot of repetitive sound that the children can copy is a method of retaining little people's attention which is very effective. Animal sounds and everyday sounds (such as the zzzzzzzzzzzip of opening your jacket) are especially humorous for young children. Remember that phonic sounds are the basis of language learning, and should not be neglected; they can easily be incorporated into fun activities.(2) ? Poetry is a good way of exploring rhythm and pattern and children's innate mimicking skills, as it's using your tone of voice the same way each time you give a certain command. Don't be offended if the children laugh at you and copy the 'funny' way you say something, it's all part of the learning process. You can retaliate by asking the name of something in their language and pronouncing it in a ridiculous voice which they will absolutely love, as it fosters a sense that they can 'teach' you too, and that we are allowed to make mistakes and pronounce things incorrectly!(2) ? Pictures or posters should be colourful, clear and professionally drawn. Photographs or the children's own drawings can be used too. For children, the dominant sense is the visual channel. If young learners are not given something to look at that is relevant to the learning task, they will get distracted by something else that is of more interest to them.(3) ? Children love being read stories, and most of the vocabulary for a story can be pre-learnt through games before the story is read. Telling a story in a foreign language is one of the simplest and richest sources of input for children as long as there are lots of colourful pictures the children can look at while listening.(3) ? Games put the fun back into learning, and playing is what children do naturally. A teacher should have a selection of games and songs ready so that activities can be changed every 5 to 15 minutes depending on the age group of the children. Games can be used to teach vocabulary and expressions and develop listening and comprehension skills.(3) ? Songs are the best way of marking different stages of the lesson, e.g. starting the class every week with the same song, ending the class with another, and using songs or chants to mark other transitions like books out and books away. Also songs cover the same topics as kids are covering in the english lessons and other classes: animals (Old Macdonald), body parts (Teddy Bear Teddy Bear) etc.(4) Some people are not sure whether it is right for their children to start learning a foreign language at such an early age (3-6), and some believe that we are imposing too much on them by asking them to do so, but this is really wrong. It is already scientifically proven that children at this age actually have a strong potential to acquire almost an infinite number of new information, especially when second language learning is concerned. Moreover, it has been proven that children who learn a second language at a very early age (compared to those who don't), have more active brain spheres and later have less difficulties in school subjects other than english.(1) 1. http://vox-vocis.hubpages.com/hub/Teaching-pre-school-english; 2. http://suite101.com/article/teaching-kindergarten-a5145; 3. http://suite101.com/article/what-is-teyl---a-definition-a223800 4. http://www.usingenglish.com/articles/using-songs-with-young-learners.html 5. http://www.livestrong.com/article/8245-teach-child-english-as-second/