Top 50 Tips to Become Outstanding in Teaching Young Learners

be outstanding EFL teacher

These top +50 strategies are based on my own experiences and experiences of my colleagues who are currently teaching English to young learners.

Reflect on them. They all work. It will be wise to take them all on board.

They are not in any particular order. They are all very important.

  1. Know everything about the course you are teaching and how to teach it.
  2. Develop your skills in lesson planning, classroom management and time management.
  3. Identify the real aims and objectives of the language program you will be teaching.
  4. Recognize that every child is unique and that you need to treat them as such.
  5. Ensure you are ready to prepare the environment for learning by using good classroom routines and eye-catching teaching aids.
  6. Create a positive classroom climate, with teacher-learners and learners-learners interactions.
  7. Show knowledge, enthusiasm, and confidence in teaching English to young learners.
  8. Personalize and differentiate learning amongst the learners by using a variety and rich teaching resources to meet individual needs.
  9. Be an important role model, displaying positive and cheerful behavior, friendliness and motivation at all times.
  10. Be positive and welcoming all of the time. Remember that children are like you, have their ups and downs, carrying emotional baggage or concerns from home to the school.
  11. Be a fun person, recognizing that fun, to the right degree, is an excellent tool for inspiring young learners to learn.
  12. Inform them about the importance of language learning, how to study and develop the target language and the various factors that can affect their language learning.
  13. Talk about general expectations in language learning: What they are expected to be able to do at the end of the course.
  14. Tell stories all the time using the target language and encourage learners to retell them in front of their classmates.
  15. Emphasize on language practice in every lesson.
  16. Promote regular discussions about familiar topics using simple English sentences.
  17. Raise their awareness of some cultural items of the English language native speakers focusing on accepting diversity.
  18. Ask their opinions about English lessons and their own progress. This builds self-reliance and awareness.
  19. Ensure, most of the time, that you speak in English even if young learners don’t understand. They need to have lots and lots of exposure to the new language. Tell them what you are doing, e.g. I’m opening the window, I’m handing out the books. Don’t hold back on this.
  20. Be patient with younger learners. Start slowly, a tiny step at a time.
  21. Build their confidence and raise their self-esteem.
  22. Engage them in their interests while teaching the language items. The more you engage them in their interests while learning, the more they will listen, attempt a response, etc.
  23. Be a continuous source of motivation. As a result, they’ll be looking forward to their next lessons with you.
  24. Involve children in the decision-making process at times, which will be a source of motivation. For example, Children, what will we do now? Will we read a story, play a game, do some drawing…? You tell me.
  25. Emphasize what they can do, not what they can’t.
  26. Base your teaching on achieving projects not just on teaching individual, sperate fragments.
  27. Encourage them to reflect on what they do well, e.g. answering a question correctly, ensuring the focus is on what they do well and not so much on what they don’t do well.
  28. Encourage them to reflect on, and then say, what they have learned that lesson, day or week. Pinup their learning successes on a chart or learning tree for them all to see at all times.
  29. Provide positive reinforcement, using plenty of praise, ensuring they all receive praise.
  30. Show appreciation of their successes by displaying their work, encouraging them to take it home to show their parents, and giving positive feedback.
  31. Encourage them to express their feelings and ensure you listen intently to those who have something to say before the lesson begins. You are a Very Important Person to them, and you need to listen actively, just as their parents do.
  32. Listen actively to their concerns (e.g. a lost pet, a lost pen) and empathize with them. This will give them a sense of security.
  33. Share some of your similar concerns with them, e.g. when you lost a pet, when you lost your bag, when you missed the bus, etc.
  34. Share a small bit of your personal life with them at appropriate times, e.g. you have a pet, you have two sisters, etc.
  35. Be sensitive to those who have special needs, e.g. hearing impairment, and seek help and advice from the school administration and parents.
  36. Be sensitive to individuals and friendship groupings, e.g. they may be so close in a friendship that they always want to sit together, or they feel sad and uncertain when their friend is not at school.
  37. Encourage learners’ self-talk when they are doing an activity, e.g. I’m drawing a lion. But ensure these self-talks don’t become too distracting for other learners.
  38. Help them to become lifelong learners. 6 Ways to Help EFL Students Become Lifelong Learners
  39. Promote co-operation, listening, and turn-taking to develop their skills of collaborating effectively in pairs or groups and promote peer tutoring.
  40. Help them understand that different people see things differently and it is important to be tolerant of others.
  41. Draw up class rules involving them in this to start establishing what is acceptable in class.
  42. Whenever possible, introduce them to the world of technology which will serve them well on their lifelong learning journey. Show them the possibilities and opportunities technology offers.
  43. Ensure you use open-ended questions to develop a deeper understanding. Too many closed questions will not lead to extended language use.
  44. Encourage analytical thought, e.g. I wonder why there is an ssss sound at the end of cats.
  45. Encourage specific strategies to help them think, such as organizing, prediction and using deduction while listening or reading.
  46. Use older and high achiever students in the class to encourage and motivate the younger and low achiever ones.
  47. Encourage them to have their own (picture) vocabulary books – this will enhance their organizing and categorizing skills.
  48. Give out homework. Set some freer homework tasks for high achievers, where they can choose their own approach to it or choose from a selection of activities you have listed. And ensure you involve the parents in helping with and monitoring the homework.
  49. Continuously foster independent learning in the classroom by raising awareness about the learning process, helping them to develop language learning strategies and giving children some freedom at times to choose what they want to do.
  50. Encourage them to tell stories without a book or invent ones from their imagination.
  51. Take them out of the classroom on a regular basis, if this is allowed by the school authorities. Young learners love this, and it opens up many opportunities for igniting their curiosity and enhancing their learning.

What else do you think worth to be added to this list? Let me know your thought by leaving a comment below.

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