Teaching English to primary school students is challenging for many as these students are in the formative years of their education. They get acquainted with the language at an intimate level in primary school where they learn more than just how to string two words together and make a sentence.
The subtleties and nuances of the language usage, grammar and pronunciations are not lost on English teachers who claim to be well-versed in English, and yet many of you might find it difficult to explain to the children why ‘pour’, ‘hour’, and ‘your’ have the same vowels but different pronunciations.
Ensuring accurate usage of English words and explaining the logic and reasoning behind it is of paramount importance. Which is why teaching English is a tough challenge teachers might face when introducing this mode of communication to young students.
It is a teacher’s job to teach English to their students and ensure that it is done with refined perfection. If you’re in the profession of teaching English, you can get as innovative as you like while guiding students to the path of English speaking.
Sing a Song:
Textbooks can be full of pictures and easy language, but using these creatively can be fun. Singing to the students can be an exciting and effective way to teach them textbook knowledge while ensuring that it does not get too dull for students.
Converting prose to poetry and asking students to rhyme has the potential to kill two birds with one stone. Engaging in a sing-song practice can help increase their vocabulary as well as keep them engaged in the process. There are multiple rhymes, poems, and simple English songs that are easily available. You as a teacher can make use of them to teach English in a fun way.
Reading aloud, or in front of the mirror is the best way to improve on a language skill as well as gain confidence while doing it.
Loud reading encourages students to listen to themselves speak, and that in turn, helps them understand their own mistakes. Encourage your students to read a paragraph each in class and do this for each student. This will instill a sense of confidence in them as they would be able to practice their reading skills within the safe four walls of a classroom.
Standing in front of the mirror will help them doubly so because students will get to see their own image when speaking and reading and indulge in self-improvement. As a teacher, it might be a bit odd to get a mirror in the classroom, so you can introduce this concept to your students and encourage them to practice it at home.
Children learn better when games and engaging activities are involved in the learning process. Simple board games like Scrabble, or online games like Hangman, or Apps like Wordpower can be used to help improve a child’s English skill and teach him/her spellings and pronunciations through the auditory method. With points system and levels involved in these games, winning becomes an accomplishment for students and playing itself is a sense of fulfilment.
Engaging in a full-time game activity might not be a practical solution because it stands the risk of eating away at conventional learning time. Introducing it once a week or once every two weeks can help you keep learning interesting while ensuring that the syllabus gets covered in time.
Children have vivid imagination which can be used as an advantage to teach students English. Make use of storytelling to teach kids simple words. Children are good at painting a mental picture with what they hear which is absolutely a beautiful way to use when you are trying to teach English. Narrate simple stories to them, use picture books to describe the images in English, and let these young minds paint a picture in their heads. Let their imagination work. This way they will learn the language better.
Encouraging students to practice the language in an international school and at home is essential to improve the language skills of students. Teachers should encourage students to speak English exclusively when they are in class, and correct them gently when they make grammatical mistakes.
With continuous usage of this method, the students will learn and understand the way to use the perfect grammar in day to day conversation. Parents too can contribute, by practising at home. It is not always easy if parents themselves do not speak English, but encouraging students to speak to their parents or practise with them is a good way to help them learn faster.
Time and Space:
Give primary school students the flexibility to learn. You need to understand that no two students have the same learning ability. Some students can grasp concepts faster than others but that should not mean that you expect the same results from all your students.
The trick lies in giving personalized one-on-one time to students who are comparatively slow at learning. Sit them down and understand their problems. Ask them which method resonates with them most and try to implement them in your teaching methodology as much as you can.
Be it grammar, punctuation, verbs, nouns, or pronouns - try to ensure that all students are on the same page wrt their understanding of a concept.
Give students enough time to practice. Reassure them and applaud them on the good work they have done. Tell them that it’s okay to make mistakes. Identify the pace in which you want to teach the students Do not overburden them with a lot of homework and deadlines as it will be counterproductive for them. Why? Because they will see it as something they have to do, not something that they enjoy doing. At the end of the day, they’re just primary school students. The goal is to ensure that their learning is wholesome and complete.
Make a proper lesson plan:
Teachers should have a proper lesson plan drafted when they begin their journey to teach English to primary school students. They need to prepare what is coming next.
Break down the lesson plan into small parts so that it becomes easier for the students to learn and pick up a concept. A proper plan will help you in better conducting the class. Take it slow and steady. Make it look effortless and easy. Make the students comfortable learning the language.
In addition to the seven points we have mentioned above, teachers can also use audiovisual technology to teach students English. There are plenty of videos available on the internet which aids in teaching primary school children. Find out what suits you best and the class and try to use it in one of your learning methods. A mix and match of different approaches can work in your favour.
Patience is the key while teaching English to primary school students. The aim is not to make them English connoisseurs in one go but to help them get comfortable with understanding, reading, and speaking the language. Let the students decide the speed in which they want to go ahead. Once you follow these small yet effective steps, the students will become really good in English in the long run.