#TeachingEnglish to Children – Tools of The Trade, #AmTESOL

#TeachingEnglish to Children – Tools of The Trade, #AmTESOL

#TeachingEnglish to Children – Tools of The Trade, #AmTESOL

Teaching English to children of any age is a very long and drawn out process. In order to facilitate learning in different intelligence types and among different levels of ESL various techniques have been created. These many different methods of teaching not only enable a teacher to reach out to his/her students in different ways, but it makes doing so much easier. These techniques, not unlike a box of tools, are the go to instruments for anyone whose responsibility it is to teach English.

While techniques can be referred to as tools, or as implements, they are not actually physical in nature. These techniques are more abstract, they are like practices or creeds that a teacher follows. Since the techniques are metaphysical in nature they can be carried anywhere by those that know of them and they can be used in any lesson plan or improvisation in the classroom. Things like teaching methods, lesson plans, classroom setup, classroom discipline, student assessment, even recognition and utilization of intelligence types are all techniques used by the experienced teacher. In short, these are the tools of the trade.

Lesson plans are probably one of, if not the most, important teaching techniques available to any teacher. Lesson plans provide structure to a class and help direct both the students and the teacher in their work. Think of a lesson plan not as a set of rules, to be followed to the letter, but as an outline to a lesson. The teacher plans his lessons in advance, making sure to utilize all the time he has available in the plan, but this doesn’t mean he will stick to it so rigidly. These plans must be fluid, or they will shatter when put to the test. At its most basic form, the lesson plan is merely the teacher’s homework; it keeps him headed in the right direction as his class trails along behind him.

Classroom setup is a technique that varies as the class gets larger, or older; it is a technique that can change merely from choosing a different topic to focus on in the classroom. This technique is used to help make the students feel more comfortable. A well set up classroom hold more than just an appeal to students, done right it can make it so your students look forward to coming to class. Setting up a classroom can be hard work though, and so a default setup is recommended. Changes can and should be made for various lesson plans, but the classroom should always return to its ‘default’ setting by the end of the day. If utilized properly the correct classroom setup will facilitate any lesson plan a teacher designs it around.

Even with the proper classroom setup and a class ‘A’ lesson plan, things can still go wrong. By this point, it is not the teacher’s fault if things head south. Most likely fault lies with an unruly student, or possibly even more than one. Friendly, inexperienced teachers are most susceptible to this particular pitfall. Students are still children and children need discipline to keep them on the straight and narrow. It is the teacher’s job to lay out the proper punishment for unruly behavior. Extra homework, time in detention, or exemption from recess are all things the teacher is entitled to hand an unruly student. Sadly, these tools aren’t always up to the task. In extreme cases a teacher might need to reach out to a more authoritative disciplinarian, either the principle who can suspend or expel a student or the child’s parents who hold authority over the kid’s home life.

In order to better understand and best help his students, a teacher must be aware of their intelligence types in order to assess them better. Not everyone thinks the same way, but groups of people might think in similar patterns. The theory of intelligence types is based on a similar principal. By identifying the types of intelligence specific students lean toward, a teacher can more effectively help that student. This also facilitates a teacher’s own ability to assess his student’s abilities. Student assessment helps the teacher by giving him a means to measure student progress. By combining these two techniques a teacher can get an accurate reading of student ability.

Last but not least are the teaching methods. These techniques stand in a category all their own in teaching effectiveness. Each method utilizes its own classroom setup, discipline, and methods of assessment. Entire lesson plans are built around these methods, which include different approaches to teaching. A few examples would be the Total physical response, the Musical approach and the Communicative approach. Each example is different, but they all are geared towards making learning English as efficient as possible. A teacher without knowledge of these methods might be good at his job, but he’d be a whole lot more effective with such knowledge to back up his natural talent.

While new techniques are constantly explored and tested, these proven methods are most likely here to stay. There is no doubt these tools help one approach teaching English in a more effective manner. One could select any technique, as if pulling a tool out of a toolbox, to approach any problem one encounters in the field of education. They do not just make the job easier, they enable one to do the job correctly and might just shorten the length of time it takes a student to learn English.