It’s definitely true that we all have our own preferences of which age group and level we teach. Some of us prefer C1 adults, or Business English and some prefer teaching children.
Unfortunately however, we can’t always choose… so if you are a C1 adults kind of teacher and you’ve just been asked to teach a group of seven year olds, don’t worry! Here are some tips and things to think about before you get going!
The first and most important thing to remember is to be patient.
Children are often wondrous balls of energy and emotions! Trying to organise a group of fiery and bouncy personalities is often a challenge in their mother-tongue, let alone in a foreign language!
Activities and games take time to set up... and that’s ok.
So top tip number 1 is to smile, breathe and persevere!
And don’t worry, as the children get used to you and the routine of the lesson, they will begin to understand what to expect and time between activities will shorten.
The second thing which is very important is to pay close attention to your facial expressions, body language and tone of voice.
This is extremely important as children pick up on a lot more than we think. I once worked with a teacher who unfortunately didn’t get on very well in her kids classes. Although she was very knowledgable, organised and prepared for each lesson, without knowing, she rarely smiled and even when giving praise to the children her tone of voice seemed sharp and strict.
Children are great mimics, when they see happiness, openness and warmth through someone's body language, they can’t help but respond positively to it.
If you’re having a bad lesson, check in with yourself. How are you appearing to the children through your expressions, posture and gestures? What could that be saying?
The next thing I want to talk about is the importance of routine.
When thinking about a new course, try to establish from the beginning a solid routine. This helps the children feel more at ease in understanding what to expect and how to respond.
For example, with very young learners, a typical routine might look something like this…
- Welcome song with actions
- Sitting down in a circle. Flash card game
- Moving around the room vocabulary game
- Sitting at the table activity
- Circle game to practise vocabulary
- Goodbye song with actions
Notice that in this routine a calm activity is followed by movement based activity and then back down to a calm activity and so on. This is ideal for maintaining balance in the class. Too many movement games together could get out of hand, to many table based activities could lead the children to become restless and disruptive.
The last point I’d like to mention is the importance of being organised and prepared. With children’s lessons, the more preparation there is before the lesson, the smoother the lesson usually runs.
It's also always a good idea to have extra activities and games up your sleeve, just in case and always having examples made up of any craft activity, I have found this to be incredibly important.
So there you have it, some tips and things to remember for your next young learner class!
We'd love to hear from you below in the comments... what tips and advice do you have?