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Teaching English to Young Learners

 Teaching English to Young Learners

Definition of Teaching English to Young Learners   

 According to Brown (1980: 8), teaching is facilitating and guiding learning, setting conditions for learning, and enabling learners to learn. The above statement means making learning a guide for students and providing the facilities they need. It is like teaching them things they don't understand and giving a lot and building their knowledge. Teaching English to young learners or students in elementary school, according to Shin (2006), is very different from teaching adults as they, especially physical participation and have fun with movement. He adds that the student's more fun, the better they will remember the language learned. 

           Herrel and Jordan (2004: 6) argue that teaching is instructing in the classroom. Teaching not only provides knowledge and information to young students, but a student must have strategies and methods in teaching at the school so that the atmosphere at the school is not dull. The teacher must also have the best goals for what will be delivered and the appropriate method to get it to the students. According to Richard and Renandya (1999: 21), there are twelve characteristics of effective teaching, there are:

  1. The beginning of learning is an instruction in using the instructions to be used it must be following the curriculum
  2. Have high enough expectations for student learning
  3. Students must be careful in following and delivering lessons.
  4. There are clear and focused instructions.
  5. When students do not understand, then the teacher must teach again until students understand it
  6. The time used in learning in the classroom must be spent following the rules that have been set
  7. Classroom learning runs effectively and efficiently
  8. The group that has been formed in the class must follow the instructions
  9. The interaction between teachers and students must be positive
  10. The existence of awards for students is used to promote excellence

           So, the teacher must have a structured plan before teaching in the classroom so that students get the material very well.

           According to Slattery and Willis (2001:4), the age of young students starts from seven to twelve years; at that age, they will quickly develop and grow. They learn in various ways, namely by seeing, imitating, listening, or holding objects. They have not been able to learn grammar even with non-verbal instructions. In addition, they are still learning their mother tongue, which they understand and do, such as imitating the sound they hear, imagining, playing, curious, etc. So, the teacher must be very creative and have a lot of variety in teaching new things with the material. At the same time, Piaget in Pinter (2006:7) states that four stages of child development are described according to their age. The first is the sensory stage; from birth to the age of two, they will interact with objects around them. The second stage is the pre-operational age of two to seven years; the child's thinking will largely depend on what he has seen gradually and will think logically. The third is the concrete operational stage of seven to eleven years. Their thinking will develop, and they will start to think logically, where the child will develop their abilities logically. 

           The last stage is the formal operational stage from eleven years onwards; they will think abstractly, out of context. They can perform logical operations such as deductive reasoning systematically.

2. Principles of Teaching English to Young Learners

           Young learner teachers must understand the principles of learning before teaching in the classroom because these principles can lead to successful learning in the school. After all, this is the most important thing for a teacher. (Vygotsky in Hudelson, 1991:256) states four principles in teaching English to young learners, there are :

  1. Children are going through a stage of cognitive development which means that they learn through experience by manipulating objects. Therefore, the teacher must prepare the media as a learning facility following the material to be studied.
  2. In the classroom, the teacher makes several groups with the aim that children can get to know each other, which is usually called learning social context.
  3. The acquisition will occur if the learner understands how the language will be used appropriately; they must learn how it works. To find out, the learner must make and test hypotheses about language. So the teacher must play an active role in using English to convey to students, even though using short sentences.
  4. The acquisition can be seen by employing social interaction, acquisition of a new language or vocabulary can occur through social interaction. So, teachers must use English when interacting with them to seem as if they are in their community.

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