How to Teach
Your Child English and Have Fun!
child or tutoring your pupil to learn English is an excellent idea in
today's world where English is becoming increasingly THE language
through which diverse cultures communicate. If you speak English don't
let that precious gift go to waste and be sure to pass it on to your
child, but don't blow it before you begin! Do not nitpick and notice
too that your child or pupil is not covered in colourful feathers, no,
you are not teaching a parrot!
Thank you for
coming along with me to learn how to make your private tutoring or
English teaching effective and fun. If you go about tutoring in the
right way you will find your child or pupil loves learning English and
spending time with you. If you teach in a traditional way, with a
textbook, then you'll have your work cut out because your pupil will
consider these extra English lessons to be like yet more schoolwork and
blow it before you begin!
Let's look at
couple of big no-nos first, and these apply to parents AND private
tutors. The first really big issue with teaching your child is to
instil in him or her the belief that he or she can succeed. It does not
take much to blow this step! For example I've had a parent tell me how
her daughter has no English skills whatsoever and is useless at English
because the French primary school are totally incapable of teaching it.
That may be true, but you should have seen the little girls face fall
when she heard that! Set the right example by showing your child you
believe he or she can learn English easily. Your child will flourish if
she knows that you love her unconditionally and are proud of her,
wherever she is on the learning curve.
picking tutors beware!
When it comes
to pronunciation watch out that you are not such a nit picker that the
child freezes up and becomes paranoid about opening her mouth! This can
happen VERY quickly in the first few lessons so take extra care.
Remember that the child is making her best attempt to imitate you on
hearing those first few English sounds. Don't penalise her by making
her repeat it over and over, and it's never right! Put yourself in the
child's shoes and you'll feel a little FRUSTRATION!! "Forget it,
English is way too hard, I can't do it so now I don't want to do it,
stupid irrelevant subject anyway…"
You cannot correct everything that the child says; it's just
demoralising, so let pronunciation errors through and work on them
gradually over time.
Your child is not a parrot
A classic error is to mistake your child for a colourful bird with a
small brain that is supposed to mindlessly repeat everything you say.
Actually no offence to parrots here intended, they have infinite
intelligence on some levels. Here's a typical scenario. Mum bends down
towards little Johnny holding a fork and says "fork, Fork! FORK! Say
fork Johnny, fo-o-or-
k!" Johnny looks at mum and thinks, "why should I say that? Why is she
saying that like some kind of loony, if that's English then it's weird
and I don't need it!"
Engage your child through English games
this bizarre behaviour it's better to give your child a reason to use
English words and this can be done through language games, plays and
skits, stories and songs. Now with children under three you don't use
structured language games but instead play along with the child,
chatting away using simple language and repeating the same words often.
You are relying on the fact that the subconscious will be picking up
the sounds and entering the database, and rest assured they will be!
However with children aged three and up English tutoring can take
on a more structured form.
The best way to introduce new vocabulary is through language games.
When the new words have been learned follow up with more games where
the words are used in sentences. That's how you introduce grammar, by
repeating sentences that contain the target grammatical structure you
wish your pupil to learn.
An effective strategy
Repetition IS the mother or skill,
but not parrot-fashion, instead create a reason for the required
repetition through the game. The best way to understand this is to see
it done. Let me give you a link to a demonstration video of a private
tutor teaching a six year old English, her first ever English lesson.
In the video you will also see the tutor with an eleven year old, also
using language games and a role-play. You'll find the video on www.HomeEnglishTeacher.com
All four skills may be taught like this. Initially one uses
listening games to introduce new vocabulary OR grammar, not both at
once. Continue with more games to practise speaking – this is a drill
type of activity, disguised in the packaging of game that encourages
accuracy and is a starting point for speaking fluency too. Next play
some different games using word cards as opposed to pictures or real
objects so that the children see how words are spelled. After that
practise writing – again, also through games.
It's logical that a pupil should hear words several times before
being expected to say them. Likewise a child needs to see a word
written before you can expect him or her to write it.
If your child is learning English at school then I recommend focusing
on listening and speaking in your private lessons because usually those
are the elements that are lacking in the school environment.
Your child or pupil may very well be MILES behind the school
curriculum and hopelessly lost. Well my recommendation is not to worry
about that, but to build a strong foundation. Firstly make your lessons
fun and not tense, because applying pressure during lessons is not
likely to work. It's like pulling on a flower to make it grow faster.
Instead your flower needs a little sunshine, a little rain and maybe
some fertilizer to help it grow faster, i.e. some encouragement, an
effective teaching strategy and some enjoyment in learning the subject.
Build a strong foundation with the BASICS. After all what chance
does your pupil have in learning fancy tenses if she has not mastered
the present tense? In addition remember that school exams are not only
chance in life to succeed. It's more important to nurture a love of the
subject and a desire to learn than to try to flog someone through an
exam which they have no chance of passing, or rush and pressurise a
young beginner. Why? Well life goes on a long time! We can have many
chances to take exams and to learn. So keep the joy of learning alive
and one day that seed will flourish into an autonomous plant.
LINK To author's site with one to one games:
Shelley Vernon has helped 1000s of teachers be an inspiration to their
pupils and achieve results 2x as fast. Teaching ESL creatively! Free
one to one games and tips here:Teaching Your Child
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