September 16, 2000
September 16, 2000
Teaching Children Through an International Approach
I am a firm believer that from a teacher's point of view, elementary school children are the most gratifying age level to work with. Why? Because students at this age possess three very important conditions before they even enter the classroom: They are naturally cooperative, curious and the least self-conscious of all levels. In addition, they learn very quickly.
Today I would like to share with you my "12 Tips" on how to teach children with the hope that these tips will be a catalyst in creating many positive and meaningful English lessons under your guidance. They have always worked for me! Good luck!
12 Tips for Teaching Children
1. Make the rules, which should be fair and consistent, clear from the first day of class.
2. Remember the students' names the first time you meet them. Encourage all students to remember their classmates' names. Use their names often when teaching (ie., talking to them, constructing blackboard sentences, making requests, TPR exercises, students passing back notebooks or workbooks, playing games, etc.)
3. Show your students what to do. Don't explain. Just do. Just be. They will follow your lead. English needs to be experienced, not explained.
4. Nourish trust between you and the students with each class. Through your actions let them know that you will never embarrass them for making a mistake in English. (Although you will discipline them for speaking in Japanese.)
5. Use eye contact to communicate your praise and disappointment.
6. Create well-planned, consistent lessons with a predictable format which gives the students a sense of security and balance. Students feel more confident if they know what to expect.
7. Always be pleasantly surprised when students interact with each other or you in English.
8. Reassure your students that you understand their English and you approve of their attempts.
9. Show respect to the children (since they are worthy of it) and let them sometimes be the teacher.
10. Use English as a tool to build their self-esteem.
11. Be their "sensei," not their parent.
12. Remember childhood through your students.
Helene Jarmol Uchida is a veteran teacher with teaching, curriculum development and teacher training experience in the U.S., Greece and Japan. She is the director of the Fukuoka-based Little America English Schools and lectures at Fukuoka Kyoiku Daigaku. She holds the LATEM seminars every year in cities throughout Japan and is also the author of 'The Challenge Book', an interactive English book and CD especially created for Japanese elementary school students.
See also our Interview with Helene Jarmol Uchida.