5 Tips to Successfully Teach English to Children

August 1, 2019
Written by:
Guest Author

Sponsored by Preply

Have you ever considered teaching English to children? Educating kids is truly a privilege.
You’ll be influencing them at a time in their lives when they soak up knowledge like little
sponges! If children are exposed to a second language early, it is easier for them to retain and
use it.
Of course, alongside the benefits of teaching kids – whether you’re homeschooling or through
online platforms such as Preply – there are certain responsibilities to take into consideration. As a homeschooling guide, it’s essential that you influence children positively. We’ve put together a list of top tips to help you make the most of the time you spend with your little ESL prodigies.

Children Learn Differently to Adults

This is the most essential thing you need to grasp in understanding how to teach kids English:
they don’t learn in the same ways adults do. Younger children even learn differently to
teenagers. Therefore you can’t approach this process in the same way you would an adult.
Younger children are just starting to discover all the different aspects of the world around them.
The linguistic information that you’re providing them is not the only thing they’re trying to
understand – they have all kinds of cultural and social tools to learn at the same time as their
academic language skills. As a homeschool tutor, you must be conscious of your learner’s
educational journey, and discover ways to use that knowledge in ways that make sense to them
at that time of their lives.

Don’t Just Teach the Language – Teach How It Is Used!

Think about how we start to speak our native language as young children. We aren’t suddenly
born with that knowledge of it, and we don’t spend time in classes. We learn by hearing it all the
time, listening to the context in which words are used in interactions with other humans. In short
– we learn through conversations, by witnessing the practical use of the language.
The majority of the teaching you undertake with children should revolve around having
conversations with them. Encourage them to have conversations in the new language with other
people. It’s worth noting that young kids will generally be less self-conscious about trying new
things than adults, so take advantage of this! The more they dive into conversations, the faster
they’ll be using their new language.

Help Them Discover Their New Language with Fun Activities

Teaching English to preschoolers and young children can’t always be treated as serious
business. Students won’t be receptive if they think the time they spend with you is going to be
dull. You’ll also have a much more rewarding experience if you have fun, too!
The good news is that most kids’ ability to learn is actually enhanced through play. Think about
it – through play children develop a range of social skills and conversational abilities.
Therefore it’s beneficial to both homeschooling learners and their tutors if you create games
which combine the academic aspects with practical applications. Engage in fun roleplay
scenarios, create English language versions of traditional games they’re already familiar with,
sing songs together. If your student associates the language with fun, they’ll progress swiftly
and effectively.

Avoid Lecturing to Engage Effectively

It is a fact that any human – adult or child – has trouble retaining and processing information that
is lectured to them over a long period of time. The difference is, adults are used to listening to
long speeches; whether through lectures at university or meetings at work. Teaching English to
kids is particularly difficult if you try to lecture to your pupil for more than twenty minutes at a
time – if you just keep rambling at them, you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Instead, keep your periods of lecturing to an absolute minimum. Explain the theory in as short
and concise a way as possible. Then follow it up with a fun, practical exercise to demonstrate its
use. You can then have a conversation together to ensure your pupil’s understanding.
Keep them Engaged and Positive with Frequent Encouragement
Just as it’s important for you to understand how to teach a child to speak English, it’s also vital
that the child keeps wanting to learn. This means that you must make every lesson a positive
experience for them.
Adults sometimes forget just how much energy it takes for a child to learn. When they develop
a new skill, they put in a lot of hard work – they need their teacher to recognize that effort.
Whenever they successfully grasp a new element of grammar or try their best to have a
conversation, you must praise them accordingly. Success will come, but on that path, you need
to ensure that they’re not discouraged from stepping outside of their comfort zone.

Remember – You’re Introducing Them to a Whole New World

Learning any new language is a huge challenge, but always worthwhile. When you’re teaching
English to preschoolers, you are acting as their guide through entirely new parts of the world
that they’re not yet familiar with. Be the person that they can trust to provide them with the tools
they need, make it fun and interesting, and you’ll set them on the path not just to a new
language, but incredible life experiences!