Adults will learn English if they need it. Children will learn English if it’s fun.
Therefore, when preparing a lesson for children, always think about how you can make it exciting for them. Here are some little tips and tricks that your young learners will absolutely love.
Children enjoy doing dialogues, role plays and reading if they pretend it’s their toys actually doing it. So:
1)Have a soft toy play the role of an English teacher whenever you need to explain or point at something.
2) Ask each of your student bring their favourite toy from home. Have the “ toys” answer questions, act out dialogues ahd read out loud.
This form of acting is very accessible even to the smallest children. Through acting even the shyest students will be eager and confident to perform any speaking or reading tasks.
This system has proven to be extremely effective with my students:
1) At the beginning of the lesson draw a pie chart for 100 points.
2) Throughout the lesson students get points for different tasks and exercises which you put on the pie chart.
3) If students get 100 points during the lesson, they get a sticker as a prize.
Try not to overdo it. You don’t want your students to be learning English just to get stickers. Therefore you might choose to keep this strategy for specific type of tasks only, such as grammar exercises or written tasks. Also don’t make winning a sticker either too easy or too difficult for your students. You don’t want to be handing out heaps of stickers each lesson while at the same time getting a sticker should be an achievable goal.
No need to buy them specially – you can use any type of picture cards or flashcards you have at home or just print them off the internet.
1)Arrange your cards in stacks. In one stack you should have pictures of different people and characters ( ballerina, bird, musician etc). In the other one you should have pictures of different objects (umbrella,book,apple). You can also have a stack with pictures of different places ( shop,school,home,park,beach etc.).
2) Have your student pull out one card from each stack and make a sentence. For example, if they pulled out cards “ ballerina”, “ umbrella” and “beach”, they can make a sentence “The ballerina is dancing with an umbrella at the beach”.
The great thing about this game is that it’s fun. Depending on the cards, the students will often make interesting sentences such as: “The bird is teaching apples at a school”.
Secondly, you can use this game to practice any tense or grammar structure. You can tell your students that all their sentences must be in Present Continuous, or Past Simple or Future Simple etc.
Stand up and sit down
This game is as fun as it is simple. Tell your students “Stand Up” and motion upwards with your hands. Then tell them “Sit Down” and again motion with your hands. Do this a couple of times. Then try to confuse your students by saying one thing but motioning another. Say “ Sit down” but motion upwards with your hands. Most of the students will stand up which will result in quite a lot of laughter! You can use this game to give your students a fun break between tasks or even turn it into a competition.
Of course no amount of stickers, toys and games will motivate your young learners if the rest of the activities they have to do are boring. But provided you’ve prepared an interesting lesson with engaging tasks, these little tips and tricks will go a long way towards making your young students excited and motivated about learning English!