EFL in a KindergardenThe majority of my english
teaching experience has occurred in kindergarten schools in South Korea. For children five and six years old, it can be very beneficial to be “immersed” in an english
school for several hours a day, five days a week. This is an excellent opportunity for students to get an early and intense start to their english
learning. Of course this would apply to students of any language and from any country.
The students receive the benefit of having between 4 to 6 classes per week day instructed all in english
. The full curriculum usually has every class taught in english
This can include subjects such as math, art, science, music, drama or physical education.
In addition the students receive a wide range of classes that focuses on all the skills they need in language learning. These include speaking, pronunciation, grammar and listening from the course books. In addition there usually are separate classes concentrating on specific skills such as writing, listening comprehension, storybook/reading comprehension, and phonics.
In general the students can build a very well balanced foundation for their english
. They also will have a big advantage over students who do not have the chance to study in such an intensive manner when they begin studying english
in their public schools.
Teaching within such an extensive Kindergarten program can be fun and interesting for the teacher as well. You get to teach a more varied curriculum and also enjoy field trips to different locations in the area. The field trips are interesting as you get to see and experience things you may not otherwise have the chance to see. I find that you can often times have more natural conversations with the students in these settings because it is more relaxed and the kids are so naturally curious.
Being with the students for so many classes everyday also helps to build stronger bonds with the students. You get to know more about them as people, get a better understanding of how they think and consequently how to better motivate them. You may also get the opportunity to sometimes meet and know their parents and this can be very beneficial in terms of the child's development. You can discuss different options and strategies with the parents to ensure the children can work towards their potential.
One risk with so much exposure to english
can be boredom for both the student and the teacher. So it is imperative to try and mix up and change not only your lessons but also your approach, teaching techniques and activities. This is so important in these settings because the kids can feel overwhelmed with all the english
study and on top of that they naturally have short attention spans.
Young kids will not understand the reason for studying or the future benefits they will receive, so they can be difficult to motivate. So it is extremely important to let the kids have fun. Let them enjoy exciting and entertaining games and activities everyday.
You will need to be extremely patient, positive, reassuring and energetic. In a sense you will be part teacher and part entertainer. So I think it is very helpful to not take yourself too serious and swallow you pride in order to sometimes act silly or foolish. This can go a long way towards building a rapport with your students. However, it is integral to teach the students that there is a time for fun and a time when they need to concentrate on their work. Otherwise it can be difficult to manage your classes.
Although if can at times be very frustrating having to deal with distractions and petty issues, the bond that can be created with a young child in their formative years is just amazing. You can learn just as much from the students as they learn from you. When you know you have reached a young child and you see such a dramatic change in their level and personality it makes you feel like you can make a genuine difference in someone else’s life. Not every job will allow you that chance!