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Teaching Young Learners:
from early language learning( PEAP)
to differentiated classroom practices
in the multilingual primary context
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Before we go ahead, it is
necessary to know
what is a…
 Young Learner (YL)
 Very Young Learner (VYL)
 A multilingual/ multicultural YL /VYL

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Young learners
 short attention spans and
 a lot of physical energy.
 and are more interested in the physical and the
“Their own understanding comes through hands
and eyes and ears. The physical world is
dominant at all times.”
Scott and Ytreberg (1990)
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Helpful Ideas
Learning /Teaching to YL/VYL
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Supplement activities with
visuals, realia, and
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 Create a“Visuals and Realia Bank”

 Use Total Physical Response (TPR) by
James Asher (1977)

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 The method relies on the assumption that
when learning a second or additional
language, language is internalized through a
process of code breaking similar to first
language development and that the process
allows for a long period of listening and
developing comprehension prior to
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What is TPR?
Total Physical Response (TPR) is a
method developed by Dr. James J. Asher, a
professor emeritus of psychology at Sa José
State University, to aid learning second
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 According to Asher, TPR is based on the
premise that the human brain has a
biological program for acquiring any natural
language on earth - including the sign
language of the deaf. The process is visible
when we observe how infants internalize
their first language.
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 In the classroom the teacher and students
take on roles similar to that of the parent and
child respectively. Students must respond
physically to the words of the teacher. The
activity may be a simple game such as
‘Simon Says’ or may involve more complex
grammar and more detailed scenarios.
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 Students respond to commands that require
physical movement.
What is…. SIMON SAYS?
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Simon says…..
 A recent psychological study found that the
game can be a healthy way to help children
to improve self-control and restraint of
impulsive behavior.
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Advantages of TPR
 Students will enjoy getting up out of their
chairs and moving around.
 TPR is aptitude-free, working well with a
mixed ability class, and with students having
various disabilities.
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2. Involve students
 in making visuals and realia for
language consolidation (lexis
and grammar)
 In classroom projects
 In storytelling

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 Students are more likely to feel interested
and invested in the lesson and will probably
take better care of the materials

Ie. lexis corners
Grammar corners
classroom wall papers
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ie. arts and crafts for Storytelling….
 For example, if the story is Goldilocks and
the Three Bears, you may want to use
puppets to help show the action of the story.
To get students more excited about the story,
have them make little pencil puppets of the
three bears and Goldilocks before the
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arts and crafts for Storytelling….
 After the storytelling, you can use the
puppets to check comprehension of the story
plot and have students practice the language
by retelling the story using their puppets.
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Collaborate with other subject Ts
(ΔΕΠΣ/ ευέλικτη ζώνη)
 L1 T
 Art T
 Informatics T
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3. follow classroom routines!
Classroom management techniques

Use available Time and Space wise!!

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Move from activity to activity
Young learners have short attention spans. For
ages 5–7, Keep activities around 5 and 10 minutes
long. For ages 8–10, keep activities 10 to 15
minutes long.
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Create a balance between the activities in the
column on the right /left side.
( Scott and Ytreberg ,1990)
 Quiet/noisy exercises
 Different skills: listening/talking/reading/writing
 Individual/ pair work/ group work/ whole class
 Teacher-pupil/ pupil-pupil activities

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Classroom management techniques
- vary and enrich your teaching!.

Teach in themes.
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Ie about water…
 A thematic unit, a series of lessons on the same
topic or subject, can create broader contexts in
which to teach language, recycle language from
lesson to lesson.
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Avoid common teacher mistakes….
 Allow students to focus more on content
and communication than on language
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5. Enrich your teaching….
 Use multiple teaching sources

however, start from stories and
contexts familiar to students.
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In our multilingual/ multicultural
 Use of stories and contexts in L1 country or
culture can help YLs connect English with
their background knowledge, which is
limited because of their young age and
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Raise Ss cultural/intercultural

Stories as Culture Bearers
-Take a favorite story in the L1 and transfer it into
 Cultural projects
-Allow students a chance to personalize content in
every lesson.

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Why Stories?
 Stories from around the world are excellent to use
in classroom, but the teachers also need to use the
stories from students’ own culture and heritage.
 Using local and national stories insure that the
students know the background culture and may
already know the story.
 This familiarity lowers the young learners’ stress
and reduces anxiety in the classroom.
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 All learners, from babies to grandmothers,
learn better with stories.
 Stories are energizers.
 Even hard truths can be taught through
 Stories told and read at home and school
both entertain and educate young learners.
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allocate a ‘storytelling day’!
 Using stories in the classroom is fun, but the
activity should not be considered trivial or

 Reading or telling stories in a class is a natural
way to learn a new language.
 Stories can also lead to harmony, understanding,
and peaceful resolution of conflict.
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Stories as solutions to
large classes and
limited resources
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 In many countries, a shortage of teaching/learning
resources is a major constraint.
 Teachers can use stories to teach language and to
introduce other subjects, such as HIV/AIDS
 Storytelling can enable the teachers to handle
large classes of 60 100 pupils even in the absence
of books.
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Storytelling day

For Speaking Skills

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Storytelling with objects.

 Use objects such as toys, forks, cups to start the
 For example, divide the students in the groups of
three to five and distribute four to five objects to
each group.
 Ask each of the group to make a story that
includes all of their objects.

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Storytelling with pictures.

 Use pictures in the same way as objects were used
in the previous activity.
 Distribute four to five pictures to each group.
 Make sure each student has one picture.
 Ask each group to make up a story that includes
all the pictures.
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Storytelling day
For Listening Skills

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a. Read or tell simple stories to the students. You can use
pictures or small objects.
b. After initial storytelling, ask the learners tell the story.
This technique is the most effective if it involve several
c. Choose one person to re-tell the story, then ask others to
continue the story.
d. Let all the students tell the story unless it is finished. In
short, let each student tell two or three sentences of the
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Storytelling day

For Reading and
just for pleasure…..
Cartoons for Kids - National Film Board of Canada

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 Find an easy version of story that the children can
 Read the story aloud the first time,
 or let the readers read it silently.
 let Ss enjoy reading and do things with the
story……. ( draw, paint, dramatise, sing , create
a crafts book …rap… with it.)
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Storytelling day

For Writing
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 Have the learners draw or paint a scene from a
story and then write at least one line from the
story under the picture.

 Create a a variation or let Ss make up a
brand new story …..
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Establish classroom
routines in English.
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 YLs function well within a structured
environment and enjoy repetition of certain
routines and activities. Having basic routines in
the classroom can help to manage young learners.
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Use L1 as a resource when
• Concentrate on building communicative

• Use L1 in the classroom as a resource for
forwarding the learning process without
becoming too reliant on it.

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Collaborate with other
teachers in your
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 Connect your lessons to the topics,
activities and stories your students are
learning in their native language by
planning related thematic units that parallel
the learning in other subjects.
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Peer teaching helps!!
 Visit other teachers’ classrooms can be
wonderful way to get to know what is being
learnt in each others’ classes and how.
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Communicate with other
TEYL professionals.
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Connect to T- learning
 Along with collaborating with the
other teachers at your school, it is
important to keep in touch with other
TEYL professionals, both in your local
area and internationally.
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Teacher development…
is an ongoing and lifelong

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and always keep in
You are a teacher of young
learners and learning
must be fun!!
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