TEFL Tips for Teaching Children
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TEFL Tips for Teaching Children

by David Solomon

Former TEFL for Target Leaner Groups Trainer

Training teachers anywhere is challenging, rewarding and interesting all at the same time, with people from all walks of life and nationalities attending the TEFL for Target Learner Groups course. I firmly believe that all teachers must provide the best learning opportunities for all students in their care, whether they are TEFL trainees or students being taught at local government schools. Even though I am the TEFL course trainer, I still keep my ‘hand in’ teaching children and adults at our TEXT-AND-TALK Academy . Below are just some very basic thoughts about teaching children ‘properly’, which I have learned over the years.

One thing is for certain, and that is that the truly effective teacher will always have a well-prepared lesson plan to teach from and will ensure that the aims of the lesson plan are achieved by as many students as possible in the class being taught. The TEXT-AND-TALK TEFL course provides an adequate and solid base from which new teachers can prepare and develop lesson plans. We also provide good instruction in how to effectively teach children.

Pedagogy forms a major component of any schoo'ls curriculum plan. The curriculum plan should be made available or provided to all classroom teachers. But just what does the rather stodgy looking term 'pedagogy' actually mean? Put very simply,

Pedagogies are strategies used by teachers in a professional learning /teaching instance with their students.

Productive pedagogies are the classroom strategies used to focus instruction and improve student outcomes.

It needs to be borne in mind that some strategies are more suited to teaching particular skills, fields or groups than others, so teachers need to be selective. Teachers must also remember that age must be taken into account when teaching children and that very young children need to have a larger variety of activities so that their interest in the lesson is maintained. Teachers must also remember that, to be effective, they must stimulate as many learning senses of a student as possible in order to maximise memory retention from a given lesson.

There are many different theories of educational thought about the ways in which children can be taught and the correctness of each theory is open to debate, although each of these should be studied by teachers instructing children as a career. Most importantly, however, the successful teacher will be the one who stimulates the minds of students whilst creating an enjoyable learning environment. For many EFL students, an enjoyable learning environment will include ‘fun’ learning experiences through a variety of activities and games.

The various theories and approaches to learning that provide a rich background from which teaching and learning for children can be planned. (e.g. Gardiner’s Multiple Intelligences, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Co-operative Learning, De Bono’s Thinking Hats, Learning /Teaching Styles) have been implemented in schools throughout the world. All of these theories can easily be found on the Internet.

Education Queensland’s (Australia) “2010” policy document for effective teaching and learning states that the approach taken by different schools must match the characteristics of their communities, that schools must be flexible enough to accommodate the individual learning needs of different students and that the curriculum must be sufficiently forward-looking to anticipate their future life pathways.

Good classroom management practices are essential to teaching children and young adults (teenagers). Having a well-prepared, stimulating lesson that holds the interest of the students will ensure good behaviour throughout the lesson. At TEXT-AND-TALK we continually try to ensure that all lessons are well-prepared and ‘fun’ for the students, whether they are presented by our trained teachers or our trainees in the classroom. There is no room for complacency when working with children.

Teachers must be continually aware and responsive to a changing educational environment. Personally, I encourage change with the purpose of improving educational outcomes for all students. Teachers must reflect on their performance and continually change to reflect new learnings.

Finally, no teacher can feel sad when they see the smile, joy and understanding of a lesson well taught on a young child’s face. This is the true and just reward for a hard day's work in the life of a good teacher, for he or she can see that there has been an improvement in a young person’s life.

My Favourite Students are the ‘kids’!

We hope that the Lesson Guide above is what you were looking for, and that it will help you in your ESL/EFL teaching career. However, if you have not completed your interactive TEFL Course training yet, we recommend that you do your training with TEXT-AND-TALK Academy in Thailand (the Land of Smiles), where the people are friendly, students are respectful and our course trainers are 'people persons' who care about you and will help you with your career in every way.

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