Teaching young learners
Lesson planning for young learners is absolutely no different than any other lesson plan. You still need to go through the same process. The difference is that you often require more activities in a young learner lesson plan, as well as more contingency plans and more revision / review exercises.
When preparing a lesson for young learners you need to bear in mind that children:
- Have really short attention spans;
- Can forget what they have learnt more quickly than adults;
- May still lack confidence in the native language;
- Could easily get overwhelmed;
- Have little motivation to learn, they just want to play;
- Develop at different speeds so the group may have different levels.
Some solutions to think about when planning your lessons are to:
- Make sure exercises don’t take more than 5-10 minutes to complete;
- Add a lot of exercises that review and revise material;
- Incorporate games and as much physical movement as possible;
- Use rhymes, chants and songs whenever possible;
- Focus on listening and speaking;
- Teach phrases and try to avoid dissecting the language;
- Avoid abstract ideas and keep to concrete;
- Be flexible: if something doesn’t work, make sure you have something prepared to replace it with at the drop of a hat;
- Frequently repeat popular exercises. It takes children an awfully long time to get bored of something. Normally they love repeating activities they enjoy;
- Use stories; children love stories. And remember they have huge imaginations, so embrace that.