Specialise in Teaching Young Learners
Once you have completed your initial TEFL teacher training, it’s never a bad idea to continue growing your professional portfolio. Employers like to see that teachers are developing professionally. A good way to do this is to undertake training in specialist areas. One of the most notable specialist courses is teaching young leaners English.
First up is the Teaching Young Learners course!
Who are “young learners”?
In general, young learners are students who are between 6-12 years old although some people may count older, teenage learners in this group too. In essence, young learners are children who learn English! You can teach these learners individually or in groups.
Where do young learners study and why?
Young learners will likely study English daily in their schools as most of the world incorporates English as a second language into their curriculums. You may also find that they study English as an extra-curricular activity in language schools. Finally, teaching young learners online is a big job market, especially in Asia, as parents aim for their children to gain exposure to native English speakers. This all means that there are a lot of potential jobs in this area for TEFL teachers and it’s a good potential area to specialise in.
As a TEFL teacher, you will already know the importance of English in today’s world . However, there is more evidence to suggest that learning English from a young age will put you at a great advantage. It’s believed that it helps students to gain more fluency in the language. In particular, pronunciation is thought to develop much better and more clearly, the younger the learner starts the language. This is why parents are so keen to have their children learn from an early age.
Parents want their children to become fluent in English. The better their English is, the more educational and work opportunities they’ll grow up to have. Many parents encourage their children to study hard and take formal examinations as soon as possible to prove their level. In general, they not only want their children to learn English well, but they want them to enjoy learning too!
Where do you come in as a teacher?
Teaching English for young learners requires different skills and training than teaching adults. In general, young learners have different characteristics that teachers should be aware of. They often:
Need shorter activities and changing pace
Young learners have shorter attention spans so the activities should be changed up regularly and shouldn’t last too long. Typically, if the students are doing the same activity for 30 minutes, they will become bored. Once young learners become bored, they start playing up and your class will become difficult to control! Short, dynamic activities are key for this age.
Have less motivation as their parents want them to learn
This is especially true with pre-teens and teens. Some of them might not enjoy school as much as you would like them too. It’s important to motivate these students and allow them to discover that English doesn’t have to be boring. Getting to know their interests is a good way to get them involved.
Need more movement and higher-energy activities
Children like to move, it’s no secret. In extra-curricular classes, it’s always nice to break away from what they might typically do at school all day. With young learners, you can play interactive games like board races and learn English through song and dance! As If you get them moving, then they will have fun and not become restless in your classroom.
Don’t like or aren’t capable of writing for long periods of time
Children at this age won’t want to sit and copy the board so don’t make them! Of course, writing skills are important but it doesn’t have to take up a big portion of the class. It’s also important to remember that at a younger age, some children might not have developed the motor skills to be able to write fluidly in their own language yet.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t do writing activities. Make them shorter and not only copy the board with no real aim. With younger children, give them 5-10 minutes. Let them practise their letters or write the words but don’t focus on them finishing it all. Children go at their own pace and after all, they are trying to learn to write in a second language which isn’t easy for anyone! Patience is crucial when teaching this age!
Need to learn without realising they are learning
Children might not understand the importance of what they’re learning or how English will be useful for their future. The best way to approach it is to let them have fun and learn without realising it! This involves using lots of fun games and activities that they would not be doing in their normal school day.
You can’t directly have grammar explained them or understand complex structures. This is a big difference. Adults might be able to learn and note down the formation of the Past Simple in English but young learners won’t appreciate this. As the teacher, it is your role to teach them to use the fundamental grammar of the language without explaining that this is grammar! Young learners might not be able to deal the technical language of grammar. They should simply learn how to use it naturally.
For these reasons, it’s important to have a teacher who understands these differences and is equipped with the techniques and strategies to successfully teach this age group. A General English teacher with no training may be shocked if they try to teach a class of 8-year-olds the same way that they would a group of adults! The more you are equipped to teach young learners, the more you, and your students, will enjoy the classes.
What you will learn on the Teaching Young Learners course?
By taking this course, you will learn more about the characteristics and behaviour of young learners and how this differs from General English classes. This is key to understanding how to teach them!
You will learn how we deal with teaching grammar, vocabulary and the 4 skills to young learners. It’s important that you have techniques to do this to make learning enjoyable and cater to their own learning styles. Importantly, you will learn how your role as the teacher is crucial in molding the minds of successful English students! The teacher is important at this critical learning age and this course will help you make a big impact on your learners.
What are the benefits of taking a Young Learners’ course?
There are numerous benefits for you to do this as a TEFL teacher. Whether you are starting out or just adding to your years of experience, it’s always a good idea to gain extra qualifications.
The course will give you the confidence to know you can tackle this type of class head on! Entering a young learners class with knowledge and expertise is the key to feeling ready to teach them. The course will give you all the information you need to be a great YL teacher, no matter how much experience you already have, or don’t have!
Any extra training will boost your CV and show the employer you have additional expertise in the field of TEFL. This is especially true if they are looking for a teacher exclusively for this age range. If the employer is between two potential teachers, having this on your CV will give you that extra advantage and get you the job! It’s always good to show employers that you are continuing your professional development and keen to learn more about teaching.
Having more qualifications naturally leads to more pay! If your CV shows you are highly qualified in different areas, you will be able to charge more money for classes. Parents often seek teachers for private classes for their learners so help them with their English. If you are qualified to teach this group, then they will be more likely to pick you and you can charge what you are worth as a teacher.
You might already be a young learner teacher but you’re looking for some ideas on how to make the most out of your lessons. Our course will provide you with some great ideas and techniques for teaching that will have your young learners wanting to come back for the next class! It’s always good to change up your activities so you, and you students, don’t feel bored with the same games and ideas.
A lot of online companies specialise in teaching young learners. China is a huge market for this. If you have this qualification and can show you have knowledge in this area, then employers will see you as a valuable asset to the team. Breaking into this field of TEFL is a good choice for those who want to work remotely and have flexibility in their schedule.
Taking a course to specialise in Teaching Young Learners is a great way to give you that boost you are looking for in your professional progress and on your CV. It’s a context in TEFL in which having extra training will benefit you and your class greatly. It’s important to understand the needs of these learners (and their parents), how you can adapt your teaching and how to turn yourself into a young learners expert!