Young learners

Teaching Young Learners – Writing Activities

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(924 words)

For this writing task, I was asked to give my response to 5 statements about writing activities to support young learners to improve their writing and learn a language. I will answer True or False to statements 1- 5 and explain why.

1. Writing should be developed in isolation from other skillls.

Is this True or False?

2. We should not restrict the age at when children begin to write.

Is this True or False?

3. Handwriting and spelling are only part of the process of writing.

Is this True or False?

4. Attention should be paid to developing good habits in alphabet letter formation.

Is this True or False?

5. Using joined-up writing may help develop the learning of the common letter strings found in English.

Is this True or False?

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Games and puzzles with young learners

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It is generally accepted that language teaching not merely can be, but should be enjoyable. This is not to assume that it is easy, but only that there is no need, by excluding enjoyment, to make it more difficult.

Games are enjoyable. The essence of many games lies in out- stripping, in a friendly fashion, someone else’s performance, or (and adult learners often prefer this) in bettering one’s own, as in the world of sport. The goal is visible and stimulating: outdoing others, and improving on oneself, are by and largely enjoyable pursuits. Enjoyable also is the active cooperation with one’s fellows. In a group or team activity, rivalry and cooperation go hand in hand. There are other groups or teams to surpass, and friends to help surpass them. One’s own activity takes on importance in the latter’s eyes.

But in spite of all the effort -and sometimes, when attention is sharply focused and the learner’s energies stretched to the full in a game, it is hard to see any difference between ‘work’ and ‘play’ -there is a pleasant, informal, and often relaxed atmosphere, favourable to language learning.

Nevertheless, the case for language games is not identical with the case for enjoyment in the language lesson. An agreeable although busy atmosphere can be attained by other means, even if games are absent, and games have other and equally important virtues. They banish boredom and so make for willing learners, who look forward to language lessons. But after all, any kind of interesting activity would make them do that. We should ask, therefore, what other advantage language learning games offer than the creation of an enjoyable atmosphere in which to learn.

A language is learnt by using it -and this means using it in situations and communicatively. Disembodied sounds, words, phrases, and sentences, however, wrapped about with rules, do not carry language learning far; although it is helpful up to a point to remove such elements and look at them closely, much as one examines components of a machine, before returning them to the intermingling streams of discourse.

The situations which bring a foreign language to life in the classroom are provided by gestures, by handling and touching things, by incidents and activities, by pictures, by dramatization, by interesting stories spoken or in print -and not least by certain contests and games. In these, the language is linked with action and is no longer a disembodied thing.

(405 Words)

Vocabulary building in young learners

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(933 Words)

For this writing task, I was asked to give my response to 5 statements about how young learners can help build their vocabulary. I will answer true or false statements 1- 5 and explain why.

1. In a young child, a single word may constitute a considerable degree of meaning.

Is this True or False?

2. Words categories and concepts normally exist in isolation from each other.

Is this True or False?

3. Vocabulary development comprises at least three stages.

Is this True or False?

4. All languages have the same relationship between time and tense.

Is this True or False?

5. Where possible we should draw upon as many of the senses as possible when teaching vocabulary.

Is this True or False?

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Teaching Young Learners – Stories and Speaking Activities

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(754 words)

For this writing task, I was asked two questions about using stories and speaking activities to encourage learning.

  1. Which of the activities could be used or adapted for both young learners and teenagers?

I think the shopping activities would certainly allow the learners to express themselves in different ways relating to one subject matter ‘shopping’. I think it is important for the learners to be able to absorb all knowledge of one subject by completing different tasks. The learner can approach the task of learning about shops and shopping by understanding the subject from different angles. I feel this gives the learners various opportunities for learning. The learners can complete the tasks using their existing skills while learning new ones. Individual learners can show their recognition of certain tasks and show their ability to perform. Initially, the learners have to find magazines. This gives them the chance to talk with their parents, prepare and complete the task of finding magazines for their class project. These magazines are a great visual aid. Once in class, they have to think about different shops and what they sell. This highlights the learner’s ability to create mental images and work on their ideas. Then they have to express their knowledge and those ideas. The learners have to cut out pictures from their magazines and stick them onto cardboard. This is a hands-on activity and a task to be completed by the learners. This allows them to show their practical skills. At this stage, the teacher can introduce a range of vocabulary which is an initial vocal outlet for the learners’ thoughts and knowledge of the subject of shops. In groups, the learners have to fill their imaginary shops with goods. This is a great exercise that highlights their visual spatial skills within a cooperative learning experience. This is another good chance for the teacher to talk more to the group/learners about their task and what they are making while trying to expand their learning. The teacher can expand the exercise by getting the learners to put prices on the goods and create their own shop ready for a role-play and even drawing some money. The teacher can easily photocopy this money to have enough for everybody. The learners can, after setting up an imaginary street, go and buy goods with the money they have and see how much they can buy with the amount they were given.

2. Describe an activity which would practice comparatives/superlatives using old magazines for either young learners or teenagers.

A good activity which could be used from old magazines is “My Favourite Things”.
The objective of this activity is to practice using comparatives/superlatives. Initially, the students are asked to bring in old magazines because they have been told they are going to do an activity with them relating to their ‘Favourite Thing’. The lesson starts with the students getting into groups. They look through the magazines and find four favourite things and cut them out.  These are then stuck on a large sheet of paper. The teacher then shows the learners her favourite things. She explains that she likes them, for example, because they are beautiful (rose), expensive (gold watch), fast (Ferrari), and big (plane). The teacher then hands out some more adjectives and some more pictures. She asks the learners to put the adjectives on the pictures she has just given. Each group has the same adjectives. Once they have gone somewhere near finishing or finish this exercise, the teacher lets them know the answers. The teacher now asks the students to choose and place some of the teacher’s adjectives or their own by their pictures. The teacher then gets them to write their adjective next to their picture. The students have to show that they can talk about their pictures (This car is fast). This is done in groups. Each student can describe their pictures in the group. The teacher can now show a few examples of comparatives showing that ‘one is bigger than the other’ or ‘one is faster than the other’. The teacher models a few examples of comparatives from the students and then gets them to find at least three students with the same adjectives. The teacher goes around the class helping. The teacher then gets the students to write their three sentences on the bottom of their sheet. The teacher checks the work and then gets the pairs of students with the same adjectives to get up in front of the class with their pictures and show comparatives.

Teaching Young Learners – Working with a Course Book

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Look at some of the material and state how you would make the lesson interesting by supplementing or expanding upon the content of the page.

  1. Swimming pool

For this exercise, I would personalize the exercise by giving the characters who say something in the picture names. As an introduction, I would follow the original lesson getting the children to repeat the sentences but each time I moved on to each person I would elicit some more ideas and vocabulary relating to that person.

For example, Dave, who says ‘let’s eat something’

Is Dave swimming?

What color hair does he have?

Who is he with?

After completing the exercise, having discussed each person saying something, I would give the learners a freer practice. I would get the learners into groups and get them to look at the pictures and elicit any more information from the picture. I would then get them to write 2 sentences each for 3 people. 

For example He is wearing goggles. She is playing with a ball.

I would now take the pictures away from each group

I would then have a quiz where each group has to ask say 2 sentences and then ask two questions. This would be repeated two times.

For example 1. He is wearing goggles. He has ginger hair.

What is his name?

What does he say?

2. She is climbing the stairs. She is with a friend.

What is her name?

What does she say?

The teacher and learners could check all the scores to see who has won the little competition.

2. Objects

For this activity, I would expand it by getting the learners into pairs and giving them identical pictures. These pictures could have a street scene or just objects. Although the pictures and the objects in the picture are the same, each of the learners has some of their objects colored in and others left blank (white). Some of the objects are colored the same. For example, in picture 1 the car is red but in picture 2 the car is blank, but picture 1 has a blue bird and picture 2 has a blue bird. The learners complete the task by sitting opposite each other so they are not able to see each other pictures. The task can be done like the game of battleships where they have a screen to divide themselves. It is up to the learners to work together telling each other the colors of objects in each other’s picture. They complete the drawing by coloring every object until they have identical colored pictures. The teacher can have a feedback session with the learners to check over their work.