10 tips from teachers about working with young learners
Teachers and those who work with young learners share their key tips for classroom management, activities to do and valuable advice for other teachers of young learners. For even more advice and ideas, have a look at ETpedia Young Learners, the accessible resource guide that covers all this and more.
1 Follow a routine
"With young learners, routines and patterns are essential as they help children to feel more secure and to know what they are expected to do.”
Mariana Lampreia, Portugal
2 You can find out what your students like doing in class
"To find out what your students like doing in class, just watch and listen. My students often ask to do their favourite activity - board races and memory games are particularly popular with my YL classes."
Emma Johnston, Teacher, IH Toruń
3 Dream houses are a good topic
“I ask students to form groups to discuss their dream house, and each group should come up with a design. Later on, they have to give a description in front of the class and the class votes for the best house design.”
Solomon Au Yeung, Hong Kong
4 Put on a fashion show
"I've found that children love organising and putting on a fashion show. Encouraging them to put together unusual outfits and not to worry about being gender-specific in their choices makes this a fun and creative activity."
Penny Hands, Scotland
5 Use food related crafts
“Check allergies at the start of the year and you'll be free to include food related crafts in your classes. From decorating biscuits to making chocolate truffles, these tasty crafts are always a hit. You could also try exploring your senses together using different foods and spices. What do they look/smell/taste like? A perfect way to look at similes!”
Shona Lacy, Young Learners Coordinator, IH Torun
6 Dot to dots can lead to a variety of other activities
“I prepare a dot to dot for each learner where they connect the dots to reveal their name. In the following lessons they can add to it with pictures, stickers or simply rewrite their name with different colours.”
Jennie Wright, Germany
7 Using songs can have a variety of advantages
“Young learners are very enthusiastic about songs. I always try to choose the ones with built in actions and repetitive lyrics, for example 'The Wheels on the Bus' for actions or 'Do the Hokey Pokey' for prepositions of movement. These types of songs help students develop their memory and physical co-ordination as well as build their confidence.”
Magda Dygała, Poland
8 Songs can also be very good for building confidence
"I love using songs in the YL classroom. So much so it was the topic of my MA dissertation. A good way to help shy singers - give them finger puppets, or get them to draw a face on their index finger so that the puppet can sing instead.”
Kylie Malinowska, Young Learner Advisor - IH World
9 Familiarity is important
“Remember Young Learners love familiarity and routines."
Glenn Standish, Director of Studies - IH Torun
10 Finally, some key advice for classroom management
“One very simple tip - if you leave your materials on the other side of the room, or need to mess around with technology, NEVER turn your back and leave them with nothing to do. Instead get them to close their eyes and count to 10"
Kylie Malinowska, International House
Have you got other advice? Let us know below and your advice could be featured in a future blog.
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