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Ten Skills a Primary Language Teacher Must have.

primary teacher

A Primary Language Teacher Must have the ability to:

1. understand well the characteristics of young learners whom he works with.

2. link his understanding of young learners with the teaching method and assessment procedures that he uses in the classroom.

3. adapt or create the most suitable learning environment for young learners.

4. use, adapt or create the most suitable resources and materials for young learners.

5. encourage children all the time and give them support and a feeling of achievement.

6. give them a good model for everything that happen in the classroom.

7. create a friendly classroom atmosphere in which children are encouraged to interact and express themselves freely without fear of making errors.

8. act, tell stories, sing, dramatize conversations, correct errors, praise high achievers and encourage lower ones.

9. use, adapt or create meaningful and purposeful language activities in which most children are involved.

10. manage the classroom well following a specific system.

Now it’s your turn, tell me one more ability that you consider it’s a must for primary language teacher.   

Using native language in the English class

Use native language in English class when:

* translating abstract words like “love” or “hate”

* checking that pupils knew the meaning of a word after presenting it.

* explaining a difficult grammar point so that pupils can understand a difference between English and the native language.

* explaining a cultural reference so that the context is clear.

 Insist on using English in primary or low-level classes so that:

* Pupils will have more reason and opportunity to use English, too.

* Pupils receive listening practice.

* Pupils learn and practice common or repeated classroom language or routines in English. (e.g. Please open your books on page ___.)

 Encourage pupils to use English in the class by:

* asking common and useful questions. ( e.g. What does X mean? How do you spell ____?)

* keeping a list of useful and common statements and questions on a classroom wall or having pupils keep this list in their notebooks.

* allowing pupils to demonstrate their understanding by doing an action also counts as using English in the classroom.

A pupil can use native language in the English class when:

* explaining to his partner how to do an exercise, he is trying to help his partner to learn. pupils often do not have the English skills necessary to explain in English.

* discussing a grammar point with his partner, they are helping each other to understand something in English.

* doing a speaking activity, a pupil may use a word in his native language when he doesn’t know the English one. He is still trying his best to communicate in English.

A word about Young Learners

 

What are children like as learners?

They

– are developing quickly as individuals.

– learn in a variety of ways, for example, by watching, by listening, by imitating, by doing things.

– are not able to understand grammatical rules and explanations about language.

– try to make sense of situations by making use of non-verbal clues.

– talk in their mother tongue about what they understand and do – this helps them learn.

– can generally imitate the sounds they hear quite accurately and copy the way adults speak.

– are naturally curious.

– love to play and use their imagination.

– are comfortable with routines and enjoy repetition.

– have quite a short attention span and so need variety.

How can you as teacher help them?

– Make learning English enjoyable and fun – Remember you are influencing their attitude to language learning.

– Don’t worry about mistakes. Be encouraging. Make sure children feel comfortable, and not afraid to take part.

– Use a lot of gestures, actions, pictures to demonstrate what you mean.

– Talk a lot to them in English, especially about things they can see.

– Play games, sing songs, say rhymes and chants together.

– Tell simple stories in English, using pictures and acting with different voices.

– Don’t worry when they use their mother tongue. You can answer a mother tongue question in English, and sometimes recast in English what they say in their mother tongue.

– Constantly recycle new language but don’t be afraid to add new things or to use words they want to know.

– Plan lessons with varied activities, some quiet, some noisy, some sitting, some standing and moving.

Reference: English for Primary Teachers By Mary Slattery & Jane Willis

 

 

7 Steps to teach any activity effectively

1. Introduce the activity clearly.

2. Give pupils clear instructions and make sure they know what to do.

3. Model the activity with a good pupil.

4. Get two pupils to model the activity ( public pair )

5. Specify some time for completing the activity in pairs ( private pairs )

6. Move around to monitor pupils, listen to or look at their performance.

7. Get some pairs to do the activity in public or elicit the answers orally from pupils involving as many pupils as possible.

16 Tips to be # 1 Teacher

1. Learn your students’ names.

You will be able to control your class better and gain more respect if you learn the students’ names early on. If you are one who has a poor memory for names, ask each student to bring a photo of his own and write his name below it. Your students will be impressed when you call them with their names.

2. Establish authority from the beginning.

Establish a system for communication in the classroom from the first day. Deal quickly with inappropriate conduct in a friendly yet firm manner.

3. Be overly prepared.

You must be well mentally prepared for each lesson. You should know the sequences of activities and how long each activity will take. You should also have an additional activity prepared in case you have extra time.

4. Always consider the learners’ needs when preparing for each lesson.

Why are your students studying English? How will they use English in the future? What do they need to learn? The answer of these questions helps you specify what and how to teach and what to focus on.

5. Be prepared to make changes to your lesson plan.

If the lesson you have prepared isn’t working, don’t be afraid to modify it. Be sensitive to the students and the conditions around.

6. Find out what learners already know.

This is an ongoing process. Students may have already been taught a particular grammar point or vocabulary. Base your lesson on their prior knowledge and provide them with additional information that they don’t know.

7. Be knowledgeable about grammar.

You don’t have to be a linguist to teach EFL. Most of what you need to know can be learned from reading the students’ books. Often the rules and explanations about structure in the students’ books are much more accessible and realistic than in other books

8. Be knowledgeable about the learners’ culture.

The learners’ culture can be a valuable tool for teaching. Knowing it will raise your ability to communicate effectively with your students.

9. Don’t stick literally to the set book.

Add any extra necessary vocabulary, functions, grammar, or topics that you feel the students may want or need.

10. Don’t assume that the set book will always work.

Many activities must be modified to make them work, and some have to be changed completely to cope with the educational setting.

11. Teach vocabulary effectively.

The building blocks of language are not grammar and functions. The most essential thing students need to learn is vocabulary; without vocabulary you have no words to form sentences, no words to pronounce. Help your students to use the stock of vocabulary in their minds and learn more.

12. Proceed from more controlled activities to less controlled ones.

Not always, but in general, present and practice more structured activities before freer or more open ones.

13. Don’t neglect the teaching of listening.

Listening is the most important skill to teach your students. While listening to each other and to the teacher will improve their overall listening ability, this can be no substitute for listening to authentic English. As much as possible, try to expose your students to authentic English in a variety of situations. The best way to do this and the most realistic is through audios and videos. Videos are much more motivating and culturally loaded.

14. Turn regular activities into games or competition.

Many familiar teaching points can be turned into games or activities with a competitive angle. It is a sure way to motivate students and activate them to work on the language.

15. Motivate your students with variety.

By giving a variety of interesting topics and activities, students will be more motivated and interested, and they are likely to practice more.

16. Don’t leave the learners in the dark.

Explain exactly what they are expected to learn in a particular lesson. Make sure that students know what they are doing and why. Each task should be introduced so well that students know what to do exactly.

18 Tips to be an Effective Teacher of EL

How to be an effective English language teacher? Keep the following pieces of advice in your mind to realize your desire.

1. Be enthusiastic! Don’t do it just for the money.

Students appreciate the teacher who shows genuine interest in teaching. Teachers who are not, they should consider moving on to another profession.

2. Show interest in the students as individuals.

Treat students as individuals, not subjects. Don’t belittle them; listen and talk to them. Only in this way will true communication take place.

3. Allow time for free communication.

For speaking this would mean allowing time for free conversation, for writing; doing free writing, for reading; allowing time for extensive pleasure reading, and for listening; listening for entertainment sake.

4. Use humor to activate the class.

Make it a habit to get the students to laugh at least once per lesson.

5. Circulate.

Move around the classroom. Sit with groups and monitor, Take part in the communication. Walk about, listen and observe.

6. Make your instructions short and clear.

Demonstrate rather than explain whenever possible.

7. Speak up, but don’t break anyone’s eardrum.

You should be heard and comprehended without annoying students.

8. Don’t talk too much.

Depending on the subject, you should be talking from about 5% to 30% of the lesson. Most lessons should be student-centered, not teacher-centered.

9. Don’t talk too slow.

How do you expect your students to understand real English if you don’t speak at a fairly natural speed? Oversimplified and affected speech will hurt your students in the long run.

10. Be sensitive to your students.

Watch their faces and reactions. Do they understand you? Are they interested or bored? Try to be aware of what is going on in your classroom at all times. If you are starting class and one student is still talking, try to gently get him/her to stop. If you are sitting with a group of students on one side of the room, try to be attentive to what is happening in other groups as well. There may be a group across the room that is confused and doesn’t know what to do.

11. Respect both “slow” and “fast” learners.

Language learning is not about intelligence; the important thing to stress is that the students are improving.

12. Don’t lose your cool.

If you do, you will lose respect. Even if you have to leave the classroom, do it in a controlled manner, explaining to the class or students why you are unhappy with them.

13. Be frank.

Praise your students when they are getting better and encourage them when they are not doing as well as they can.

14. Be a coach.

Some times you must be a coach more than a teacher. Push the students to write those few extra lines, to get into their groups faster, to extend their conversations, ….. etc.

15. Be fair and realistic in testing.

Teach first and then test; don’t test things that haven’t been taught. Also, remember that the main purpose of language is communication.

16. Don’t overcorrect.

If you think a student can correct their own mistake, don’t supply the correction for them, rather allow for some self-monitoring. Remember, some mistakes can be kept uncorrected if you are for fluency.

17. Be reflective.

Think about your own teaching. After each lesson is over take some time to reflect. Was the lesson effective? What were the good and bad points? How could it be improved?

18. Keep in shape.

Renew and update your knowledge about teaching from time to another. Look at new course books and teacher training books to get new ideas. Share your ideas with colleagues. Go to conferences.

Eight Things You Should Do to Improve Your ELT

1- Asses your students’ prior knowledge and skills:

Sometimes students know more than we think they do. Sometimes they have misconceptions about the content. The only way to know what information that students bring to a course is to test them to collect information that reveals their current levels of knowledge and understanding. That information is very important to precise the information of the subject matter being studied you should focus on and the suitable methods of TESL you should use.

2- Don’t assume that students know how to learn:

Students must have an idea about appropriate learning strategies and made aware of the strategies that they use. It’s your job to help them know that.

3- Discover and address attitudes and emotions that hinder learning:

Teachers must acknowledge that learning, motivation and engagement are affected by attitudes and emotions. What students believe about themselves and about the subject matter being studied affect their motivation and performance. If teachers ignore the role of attitudes and emotions, that will affect learning outcomes.

4- Design your lessons in the way that connect to your students’ personal and academic goals:

That will enhance motivation and engagement. Students need to see how what they are being asked to learn is relevant to their goals and future plans. Knowing what students care about makes it possible to plan lessons that connect with students and engage them in learning.

5- Examine your students’ views about education and considering how those views influence their learning experiences:

Students come to school with different beliefs about knowledge and have different expectations of their teachers. Students are diverse. They have different cultural backgrounds. Again, knowing what students believe and expect makes it easier to plan meaningful learning experiences.

6- Treat students as apprentices who need assistance in learning the language, ways of thinking and inquiry methods:

Students need to be taught and must be given the opportunity to make connections between the course content and their own experiences.

7- Challenge students:

You need to do that to apply, integrate, evaluate and construct knowledge. You can do that by engaging students in complex problem-solving activities. Students should not only be knowledge consumer but also be knowledge producer.

8- Learn about learning:

Discuss with your colleagues the best ways of students’ learning and how knowledge about students’ learning can be used in lesson planning.

Eight Activities for the First Day of School

If you are looking for some fun activities for the opening days of school – activities that help you get to know your students and to help them get to know you, check out the following suggestions.

1- True or False?

Write four facts about yourself on the board. Three of them are true, and one is false. Ask students some questions to see what they thought about each statement. That gives you chance to tell a little about yourself. Then, on a sheet of paper, students write three interesting facts about themselves that are true and one that is false. Ask them one by one to read the facts, and ask students what they think about each statement. That gives a chance for students to know more information about each other.

2- Already a Test!

After students sit and you take roll, ask them to take out a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil for their first test of the school year. Ask them to title the test ” My English Teacher ” and ask them to answer all questions which you write on the board. The questions might include:

Where was I born? Am I married or single? How many sons or/and daughters do I have? How old am I? What is my favourite colour? ….. etc. The test can be as long or short as you wish. Make the questions fit the things you would want them to know. At the end of the test, give the right answers. One of the favourite things in this activity is to see a student or more who were in your class the previous year. They always think they will get a full mark in this test, it is your job to let them not to do so.

3- Going in a circle:

Arrange all the desks in a large circle, with everyone facing the center. This makes it easy for the students to talk and get to know one another. Then ask each student to introduce himself/herself. The students must also provide one fact about themselves. Then ask some questions to encourage students to repeat some information about their classmates.

4- Jump into science:

Invite students to scan the table of contents, which introduces major areas covered in the course. Then start with the first unit asking students to read its title. Ask some questions about it to recognize what students know about the topic or issue, what facts or information they would like to know about it. Discuss, in what ways the topic is relevant to their life. If time allows, do the same with unit two, three, …. etc.

5- Ten questions:

Choose an item in the room, and students have to guess what it is. They can ask only ten questions that you can answer with “Yes” or “No”. The student who finally can guess the item will be the next to choose another item.

6- Who Am I?

Give some students flash cards to write four or five statements about themselves, the last line in each statement is a question: who am I? Put the flash cards on the board and have students guess who each person is.

7- Math about me:

Ask students to write some information about themselves in a sheet of paper but this information must be in numbers, e.g. number of people in the family, number of pets, phone number, ….. etc.

Then, students share their numbers with one another. They see what numbers they have in common with their classmates.

8- Last summer holiday:

Write some activities on some cards, e.g. learned how to swim, read some books, watched some English movies, bought a pet, …..etc. Then asking students who did each activity. Have students repeat the sentence and ask some questions to collect more information about each activity, e.g. what movies did you watch? Where did you learn to swim? ….. etc. This is a great way to learn special things about your students and encourage them to use the past simple tense focusing on the irregular past form.

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