Lecturer: Dra. Hj. Rahayu A., M.Ed., TESOL

By: Iik Nurhikmah F12107068 Class B Regular

English Education Study Program

Teachers Training and Education Faculty Tanjungpura University 2010


ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

Choose four of the ten questions below to be answered! Questions:
1. What experts (Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner) says about children learning and

development and how do you put their theories in English teaching? 2. How do children learn first language?
3. How do children learn a second/ foreign language?

4. How do you set ELT program at primary school?
5. How to teach listening and speaking to young children?

6. How to teach reading and writing? 7. How to teach vocabulary and grammar? 8. How to develop learning strategies to children? 9. How to develop teaching material for children? 10. How to give assessment to children?


ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

For the fulfillment of this examination I choose to answer questions number 1, 2, 3, and 5. The answers to these four questions will be explained briefy belows:

Question number 1: “What experts (Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner) says about children learning and development and how do you put their theories in English teaching?” Children Learning And Development Theories and Its Implementation in English Teaching a. Piaget Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was a biologist who originally studied mollusks but moved into the study of the development of children's understanding, through observing them and talking and listening to them while they worked on exercises he set. His view of how children's minds work and develop has been enormously influential, particularly in educational theory. His particular insight was the role of maturation (simply growing up) in children's increasing capacity to understand their world: they cannot undertake certain tasks until they are psychologically mature enough to do so. He proposed that children's thinking does not develop entirely smoothly: instead, there are certain points at which it "takes off" and moves into completely new areas and capabilities. He saw these transitions as taking place at about 18 months, 7 years and 11 or 12 years. This has been taken to mean that before these ages children are not capable (no matter how bright) of understanding things in certain ways, and has been used as the basis for scheduling the school curriculum. Piaget's approach is central to the school of cognitive theory known as "cognitive constructivism". Other scholars, known as "social constructivists", such as Vygotsky and Bruner have laid more emphasis on the part played by language and other people in enabling children to learn. As a biologist, Piaget was interested in how an organism adapts to its environment (Piaget described as intelligence.) Behavior (adaptation to the environment) is controlled through mental organizations called schemes that the individual uses to represent the world and designate action. This adaptation is driven by a biological drive to obtain balance between schemes and the environment (equilibration).

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

Piaget hypothesized that infants are born with schemes operating at birth that he called "reflexes." In other animals, these reflexes control behavior throughout life. However, in human beings as the infant uses these reflexes to adapt to the environment, these reflexes are quickly replaced with constructed schemes. Piaget described two processes used by the individual in its attempt to adapt: assimilation and accommodation. Both of these processes are used throughout life as the person increasingly adapts to the environment in a more complex manner. Assimilation is the process of using or transforming the environment so that it can be placed in preexisting cognitive structures. Accommodation is the process of changing cognitive structures in order to accept something from the environment. Both processes are used simultaneously and alternately throughout life. An example of assimilation would be when an infant uses a sucking schema that was developed by sucking on a small bottle when attempting to suck on a larger bottle. An example of accomodation would be when the child needs to modify a sucking schema developed by sucking on a pacifier to one that would be successful for sucking on a bottle. As schemes become increasingly more complex (i.e., responsible for more complex behaviors) they are termed structures. As one's structures become more complex, they are organized in a hierarchical manner (i.e., from general to specific). Before Jean Piaget there was no body of theory on how intelligence develops in the progression from birth to adulthood. It was Jean Piaget who first worked this out. In the course of his studies, he developed a theory about childhood development that still greatly influences behavioral psychologists and educators today. Piaget identified four Stages in Cognitive Development: 1. Sensorimotor stage (Infancy: 0-2 year-olds) This period has 6 stages. In this period intelligence is demonstrated through motor activity without the use of symbols. Knowledge of the world is limited (but developing) because it is based on physical interactions / experiences. Beginning with infants he noticed a certain type of behavior that revealed something about the way children explore the world. He pegged specific skills to specific age groups and called them "schemas". The child seems born with what he called "primary circular reactions", which implies that the babies’ actions are self-reinforcing.

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

The baby sucks its thumb and likes it, so it sucks its thumb again. At about four months the baby begins to extend this reaction to outside stimuli. Instead of being attracted only to its self, it becomes attracted to toys and other objects, performing actions on these objects repeatedly to achieve the same reaction. It is at this stage too that they begin to understand that out of sight does not mean out of existence. This concept is called object permanence. After going through several stages of circular reactions that extend farther and farther out, babies, by the age of 18 months begin to develop something called "mental representation", which is the ability to hold images in the mind longer than for a few moments and even to act on these short term memories. 2. Pre-operational stage (Toddler and Early Childhood) At the age of two, the child enters what Piaget called the Preoperational Stage. In this period (which has two substages), intelligence is demonstrated through the use of symbols, language use matures, and memory and imagination are developed, but thinking is done in a nonlogical, nonreversable manner. Egocentric thinking predominates. This stage usually lasts until about age seven. Since a child can now pretend and remember, it can now begin to understand symbols more complex than simple words. It picks up these symbols and uses them to communicate and to play. Pretending now becomes easy for the child, but he or she tends to be extremely self-centered. A child in this stage may not understand, for example, that he can be seen when he has his eyes closed. He thinks because he is in the dark that everyone else must be too! 3. Concrete operational stage (Elementary and early adolescence). Getting away from this self-centered view marks a move to the next stage, Concrete Operational Stage. This stage is characterized by 7 types of conservation including: number, length, liquid, mass, weight, area, volume. In this stage intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects. Operational thinking develops (mental actions that are reversible). Egocentric thought diminishes. This stage generally begins at about seven years of age and ends at about 11. The child advances in his or her ability to use symbols, especially in a logical way. Mathematics becomes easier, but such concepts are used in a "concrete" way. Numbers

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

are understood as applying directly to things, fingers, blocks, or lines scratched on a paper. Concrete problems can be tackled and successfully understood. "Conservation", the notion that even though an object changes it still has the same mass, becomes progressively seen as a reality. For example, water dumped from a short glass to a tall thin glass is still the same volume even though the water level in the thin glass appears higher. Putting things in order (seriation) and classification abilities are also learned at this stage. 4. Formal operational stage (Adolescence and adulthood) From age twelve or thirteen through adulthood we live in the Formal Operations Stage. In this stage, intelligence is demonstrated through the logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts. This means doing abstract thinking and applying that thinking to the real world. It means experimentation and understanding that experiments can have broad applications. Early in the period there is a return to egocentric thought. Only 35% of high school graduates in industrialized countries obtain formal operations; many people do not think formally during adulthood. Anthropologists have discovered that not all cultures educate their children in a way that brings them to this Formal Operational Stage. Also, not all people in our culture reach this stage of development for varying reasons. It is well to note that child development comes in fits and starts, moves faster at some times and slower at others. Also, all children do not hit the same bench marks at the exact same time. If a child has not started to talk by the time he is two, this does not mean he will never talk or even that he will be behind by the time he gets to school. Psychology attempts to explain the most complex thing we know about, the human brain. It can hardly be an exact science in the particular, even though it can often get the general correct. Piaget was a pioneer and his work is the foundation of child psychology today. There are two major aspects to his theory: the process of coming to know and the stages we move through as we gradually acquire this ability. Many pre-school and primary programs are modeled on Piaget's theory, which, as stated previously, provides part of the foundation for constructivist learning. Discovery learning and supporting the developing interests of the child are two primary instructional techniques. It is recommended that parents and teachers challenge the child's abilities, but NOT present material or information that is too far beyond the child's level. It is also

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

recommended that teachers use a wide variety of concrete experiences to help the child learn (e.g., use of manipulatives, working in groups to get experience seeing from another's perspective, field trips, etc). The goal of the preschool curriculum based on Piaget's theory of learning is to support the development of each child's intelligence, or knowledge. The goal is not to speed up development, but rather to insure that each child has the opportunities to use his or her knowledge as fully as possible at each level of development. Curricula based on this concept should include four factors. The curriculum should allow for the differing rates of maturation of the children. It should provide opportunities for the children to act on the physical environment. It should provide interaction with one another. And, it should allow the children the autonomy to self-regulate through these activities. Children should be encouraged to select their own problems, to advance in their own ways, to reach their own conclusions, and to accept the outcomes. The premise of this is that the child will take increasing responsibility for his or her own actions. b. Vygotsky Piaget's views are often compared with those of Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934), who looked more to social interaction as the primary source of cognition and behavior. Whereas Piaget believed that all children’s cognitive process follows a very similar pattern of stages, Vygotsky saw intellectual abilities as being much more specific to the culture in which the child was reared (Vasta,R., Haith, M.M., Miller,S.A., 1995). Culture makes two sorts of contributions to the child’s intellectual development. First, children acquire much of their thinking (knowledge) from it. Second, children acquire the processes or means of their thinking (tools of intellectual adaptation) from the surrounding culture. Therefore, culture provides the children with the means to, what to think and how to think. Vygotsky’s theory is one of the foundations of constructivism. It asserts three major themes including: 1. Social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. In contrast to Jean Piaget’s understanding of child development (in which development necessarily precedes learning), Vygotsky felt social learning precedes development. He states: “Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological).” (Vygotsky, 1978).

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

Vygotsky viewed cognitive developments as a result of a dialectical process, where the child learns through shared problem solving experiences with someone else, such as parents, teacher, siblings or a peer. Originally, the person interacting with the child undertakes most of the responsibility for guiding the problem solving, but gradually this responsibility transfers to the child. Although these interactions can take many forms, Vygotsky stresses language dialogue. It is primarily through their speech that adults are assumed to transmit to children the rich body of knowledge that exists in their culture. As learning processes, the child’s own language comes to help as his or her primary tool of intellectual transformation. Children can eventually use their own internal speech to direct their own behavior in much the same way that their parents’ speech once directed it. This transition reflects the Vygotsky´s theme of development as a process of internalization. Bodies of knowledge and tools of thought at first exist outside the child, in the culture of the environment. Development consists of gradual internalization, primarily through language, to form cultural adaptation (Rogoff, 1990).
2. sThe More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). The MKO refers to anyone who has a better

understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. The MKO is normally thought of as being a teacher, coach, or older adult, but the MKO could also be peers, a younger person, or even computers. 3. The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD is the distance between a student’s ability to perform a task under adult guidance and/or with peer collaboration and the student’s ability solving the problem independently. According to Vygotsky, learning occurred in this zone. He views that the potential for cognitive development is limited to a certain time span which he calls the “ zone of proximal development”. Vygotsky refers to what children can do on their own as the ‘level of actual development’. In his view, it is the level of actual development that a standard IQ test measure. Such a measure is undoubtedly important, but it is also incomplete. Two children might have the same level of actual development, in the sense of being able to solve the same number of problems on some standardized test. Given appropriate help from an adult, still, one child might be able to solve an additional dozen problems while the other child might be able to solve only two or three more. What the child can do with the help is referred to as the ‘level of potential development’ (Vasta, R., Haith, M.M., Miller, S.A., 1995). The full development during

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

the ZPD depends upon full social interaction and the more the child takes advantages of an adult’s assistance, the broader is its ‘Zone of Proximal Development’. For Lev Vygotsky, the role of language and culture was central to his theory, focusing on the role of nurture. Behavior (partly directed by inherited traits) changes the child’s experiences and their perceptions of those experiences. The social cognition learning model asserts that culture is the prime determinant of individual development. Humans are the only species to have created culture, and every human child develops in the context of a culture. Therefore, a child’s learning development is affected in ways large and small by the culture–including the culture of family environment–in which he or she is enmeshed. The main discussions of his theories are:

Culture makes two sorts of contributions to a child’s intellectual development. First, through culture children acquire much of the content of their thinking, that is, their knowledge. Second, the surrounding culture provides a child with the processes or means of their thinking, what Vygotskians call the tools of intellectual adaptation. In short, according to the social cognition learning model, culture teaches children both what to think and how to think.

Cognitive development results from a dialectical process whereby a child learns through problem-solving experiences shared with someone else, usually a parent or teacher but sometimes a sibling or peer.

Initially, the person interacting with child assumes most of the responsibility for guiding the problem solving, but gradually this responsibility transfers to the child.

Language is a primary form of interaction through which adults transmit to the child the rich body of knowledge that exists in the culture.

As learning progresses, the child’s own language comes to serve as her primary tool of intellectual adaptation. Eventually, children can use internal language to direct their own behavior.

Internalization refers to the process of learning–and thereby internalizing–a rich body of knowledge and tools of thought that first exist outside the child. This happens primarily through language.

A difference exists between what child can do on her own and what the child can do with help. Vygotskians call this difference the zone of proximal development.

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

Since much of what a child learns comes form the culture around her and much of the child’s problem solving is mediated through an adult’s help, it is wrong to focus on a child in isolation. Such focus does not reveal the processes by which children acquire new skills.

Interactions with surrounding culture and social agents, such as parents and more competent peers, contribute significantly to a child’s intellectual development. The impacts of Vygotsky theories in teaching English are: Curriculum–Since children learn much through interaction, curricula should be

designed to emphasize interaction between learners and learning tasks. Instruction–With appropriate adult help, children can often perform tasks that they are incapable of completing on their own. With this in mind, scaffolding–where the adult continually adjusts the level of his or her help in response to the child’s level of performance–is an effective form of teaching. Scaffolding not only produces immediate results, but also instills the skills necessary for independent problem solving in the future. Assessment–Assessment methods must take into account the zone of proximal development. What children can do on their own is their level of actual development and what they can do with help is their level of potential development. Two children might have the same level of actual development, but given the appropriate help from an adult, one might be able to solve many more problems than the other. Assessment methods must target both the level of actual development and the level of potential development. Many schools have traditionally held a transmissionist or instructionist model in which a teacher or lecturer ‘transmits’ information to students. In contrast, Vygotsky’s theory promotes learning contexts in which students play an active role in learning. Roles of the teacher and student are therefore shifted, as a teacher should collaborate with his or her students in order to help facilitate meaning construction in students. Learning therefore becomes a reciprocal experience for the students and teacher. c. Bruner Bruner's work in cognitive psychology led to an interest in the cognitive development of children and related issues of education, and in the 1960s he developed a theory of cognitive growth. Bruner's theories, which approach development from a different angle than those of Jean Piaget, focus on the environmental and experiential factors

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

influencing each individual's specific development pattern. His argument that human intellectual ability develops in stages from infancy to adulthood through step-by-step progress in how the mind is used has influenced experimental psychologists and educators throughout the world. Bruner is particularly interested in language and other representations of human thought. In one of his best-known papers, Bruner defines three modes of representing, or "symbolizing," human thought. The enactive mode involves human motor capacities and includes activities such as using tools. The iconic mode pertains to sensory capacities. Finally, the symbolic mode involves reasoning, and is exemplified by language, which plays a central role in Bruner's theories of cognition and development. He has called it "a means, not only for representing experience, but also for transforming it." Bruner's view that the student should become an active participant in the educational process has been widely accepted. In The Process of Education (1960) he asserts that, given the appropriate teaching method, every child can successfully study any subject at any stage of his or her intellectual development. Bruner's later work involves the study of the prespeech developmental processes and linguistic communication skills in children. The Relevance of Education (1971) applied his theories to infant development. A major theme in the theoretical framework of Bruner is that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. The learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on a cognitive structure to do so. Cognitive structure (i.e., schema, mental models) provides meaning and organization to experiences and allows the individual to "go beyond the information given". As far as instruction is concerned, the instructor should try and encourage students to discover principles by themselves. The instructor and student should engage in an active dialog (i.e., socratic learning). The task of the instructor is to translate information to be learned into a format appropriate to the learner's current state of understanding. Curriculum should be organized in a spiral manner so that the student continually builds upon what they have already learned. Bruner (1966) states that a theory of instruction should address four major aspects: (1) predisposition towards learning, (2) the ways in which a body of knowledge can be structured so that it can be most readily grasped by the learner, (3) the most effective sequences in which to present material, and (4) the nature and pacing of rewards and punishments. Good methods for structuring knowledge should result in simplifying,

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

generating new propositions, and increasing the manipulation of information. Bruner's constructivist theory is a general framework for instruction based upon the study of cognition. Bruner (1983) focuses on language learning in young children and the principles to be applied in the classroom teaching are: a. Instruction must be concerned with the experiences and contexts that make the student willing and able to learn (readiness). b. Instruction must be structured so that it can be easily grasped by the student (spiral organization). c. Instruction should be designed to facilitate extrapolation and or fill in the gaps (going beyond the information given).

Question number 2: “How do children learn first language?” Children First Language Learning Our parents didn't teach us how to walk and they didn't teach us how to talk. Yet we learned from them. Certainly there must have been a subtle, perhaps intuitive teaching

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

process that neither our parents nor we were aware of. We begin by imitating what we hear our parents say as best we can, repeating random phrases. Our parents in subtle ways punish us for the childish speech errors we make (by not responding, correcting the error, etc.) and reward correct phrases (by responding positively). As our speech improves, our parents respond more positively and less negatively. Human beings are born with an innate ability to learn language; we are preprogrammed to acquire any language we are sufficiently exposed to before puberty. By listening and discerning meaning from context, children quickly pick up passive language skills by age 1, and from there acquire language at a break-neck pace so that by age 4 most children speak their native languages with full native fluency. In accordance to the way children learn or acquire their first language, I will look at two ways of accounting this process. The first, drawn from the work of the linguist Noam Chomsky, sees language as a specific skill, its acquisition governed by an inborn programme, and requiring no direct intervention from parents or teachers. The second, advanced by Jerome Bruner and rooted in Lev Vygotsky's theories of development, sees the behaviour of the child's entourage as crucial. Noam Chomsky is perhaps the best known and the most influential linguist of the second half of the Twentieth Century. He has made a number of strong claims about language. In particular, he suggests that language is an innate faculty - that is to say that we are born with a set of rules about language in our heads which he refers to as the 'Universal Grammar'. The universal grammar is the basis upon which all human languages build. This set of language learning tools, provided at birth, is referred to by Chomsky as the Language Acquisition Device. If a Martian linguist were to visit Earth, he would deduce from the evidence that there was only one language, with a number of local variants. Chomsky gives a number of reasons why this should be so. Among the most important of these reasons is the ease with which children acquire their mother tongue. He claims that it would be little short of a miracle if children learnt their language in the same way that they learn mathematics or how to ride a bicycle. This, he says, is because :
1. Children are exposed to very little correctly formed language. When people speak,

they constantly interrupt themselves, change their minds, make slips of the tongue and so on. Yet children manage to learn their language all the same. This claim is usually referred to as the Argument from Poverty of the Stimulus.

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

2. Children do not simply copy the language that they hear around them. They deduce

rules from it, which they can then use to produce sentences that they have never heard before. They do not learn a repertoire of phrases and sayings, as the behaviourists believe, but a grammar that generates an infinity of new sentences. Psychologist, Jerome Bruner(5), holds that while there very well may be, as Chomsky suggests, a Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, there must also be a Language Acquisition Support System, or LASS. He is referring to the family and entourage of the child. If we watch closely the way a child interacts with the adults around her, we will see that they constantly provide opportunities for her to acquire her mother - tongue. Mother or father provide ritualised scenarios - the ceremony of having a bath, eating a meal, getting dressed, or playing a game - in which the phases of interaction are rapidly recognised and predicted by the infant. Bruner's conception of the way children learn language is taken a little further by John Macnamara (6), who holds that children, rather than having an in-built language device, have an innate capacity to read meaning into social situations. It is this capacity that makes them capable of understanding language, and therefore learning it with ease, rather than an LAD. Chomsky, then, sees the child as essentially autonomous in the creation of language. She is programmed to learn, and will learn so long as minimal social and economic conditions are realised. In Bruner's version, the program is indeed in place, but the social conditions become more important. The child is still an active participant, is still essentially creative in her approach to language acquisition, but the role of the parents and other caretakers is also seen as primordial. Finally, Macnamara sees language learning as being subordinate to and dependent upon the capacity to understand and participate in social activities.

Question number 3: “How do children learn second/ foreign language?” Children’s Second/ Foreign Language Learning In general, there are two ways in which children may learn a second language: simultaneously or sequentially (McLaughlin et al., 1995; Tabors, 2008).

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

a. Simultaneously

Simultaneous learners include children under the age of 3 who are exposed to two languages at the same time. These children may include those who are exposed to one language by parents at home and another language by providers in their early childhood program. Simultaneous learners are also young children whose parents each speak separate languages to them at home (e.g., mother speaks Spanish to child, father speaks Chinese to child). Before 6 months of age, simultaneous learners learn both languages at similar rates and do not prefer one language over the other. This is because they build separate but equally strong language systems in their brains for each of the languages they hear. These separate systems allow children to learn more than one language without becoming confused. In fact, the pathways infants develop in their brains for each of the languages they hear are similar to the single pathway developed by children who are only exposed to English. At 6 months, children begin to notice differences between languages and may begin to prefer the language they hear more. This means that parents must be careful to provide similar amounts of exposure to both languages; otherwise, children may begin to drop vocabulary of the language to which they are less exposed (Espinosa, 2008; Kuhl, 2004; Kuhl et al., 2006; Tabors, 2008).
b. Sequentially

Sequential learners include children who have become familiar with one language, but are then introduced or required to learn a second language. The classic example of sequential learning is when a non-English speaking child enters an English-dominant classroom. Unlike simultaneous language learning, sequential learning of languages can occur at any age and can be influenced by factors like the child’s temperament or motivation. There are four stages in Sequential Second Language Learning. They are: Stage I: Home Language Use For the first few days, children may persist in using their first or native language even if others do not understand them. Stage II: Silent Period


ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

After children realize their first language is not working, they enter a silent period in which they barely speak and rely heavily on nonverbal means to communicate with others. The younger the child, the longer the silent period may last. Stage III: Telegraphic & Formulaic Speech Children will start to speak in the new or second language. In this stage, they will only speak in small utterances (e.g., Me Down) or by repeating the words of others. Stage IV: Productive Language Children are now ready to express their own thoughts and construct their own sentences. In the beginning, these sentences may be very basic or grammatically incorrect; however, this improves over time. Those behaviors are common for children who are learning a second languageIn addition, research has found that children who begin to learn a second language before the age of 6 or 7 are more able to speak the new language like a native speaker than children who didn’t start until after ages 6 or 7 (Bongaerts, 2005).

Question number 5: “How to teach listening and speaking to young children?” Teaching Listening and Speaking to Young Children Teaching listening and speaking for young language learners (YLLs) is an interesting and challenging duty for teachers. Here I will provide some tips on how to teach listening and speaking to young children.

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

Teaching listening In teaching listening to young children, teacher must consider several aspects for its effectiveness. The aspects are: a. Instructions Remember you are their model so always think about how you are going to introduce an activity before you go to class. Writing out instructions as part of your lesson plan will really help you to notice what language you are using with your young learners. You may find that your language is too complex for the beginner pupils. Imagine yourself as a beginner learning a new language and see if what you say is too difficult to follow. You may need to modify what you say. Instructions, if well thought out and accompanied always with demonstration, can be communicated purely in English. b. Class management Don’t panic if you don’t speak the children’s first language. This won’t prevent a bond forming between you and the children. If they know you as the person who only speaks English then they will always want to communicate with you as much as possible in English. Discipline can be easily understood by young children through your facial expressions and smiley/cross faces drawn on the board. Feedback can also be understood clearly when you use your face to help express whether or not you are pleased with the work they produce. c. Using a song Prepare the learners before they listen to anything. Show them pictures of characters from the song. If it’s a song about teddy bears then bring in some teddy bears to show them. If the teddy bears sing sections of the song then use them as puppets and make them actually sing the song. Use actions as much as possible to accompany songs so that the children can participate. This will help build their confidence, increase their enjoyment and give them extra clues as to the meaning of the words they are listening to. They should predict, ‘imagine’, what they are going to hear. Again, sticking with the teddy bears, ask them if they think the teddy bear is happy or sad.


ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

When they are listening they should always have something to do. They need a reason for listening. You could allocate part of the song to a small cluster of children so they have to listen out for their part and sing along to that part only. Use the same song again and again. Listening is a difficult skill so building their confidence is vital at all stages of language learning. If they recognize the words they will be much more motivated. This is valid not only from a language point of view but also from a logical point of view. Listening to a song you know and like is always an enjoyable experience. Familiarity helps children feel secure. Teaching speaking Things to be considered when teaching speaking are: a. Songs and chants Using songs and chants in class gives the children a chance to listen and reproduce the language they hear. They are working on the sounds, rhythm and intonation. Remember when you speak or sing keep it simple but very importantly, natural so that when they copy what you say they can have a chance of sounding natural. b. Whole class chorus drills If you have a large class make sure the language they produce is not just confined to stilted whole class repetitions of sentences produced by you. If the class tries to speak at the same time they automatically slow down and the intonation and rhythm are lost. Whole class repetition does of course have its advantages as it allows weaker students to build confidence with speaking without being in the limelight. Do chorus drills as described above but limit them and always move on to letting individuals speak.

c. Real language As with listening, make sure they always have a valid reason for speaking. The more realistic the need for communication, the more effective an activity will be. In other words get them to ask their neighbour ‘Do you prefer chocolate or strawberry ice-cream?’ rather than saying; ‘What’s my favourite food?' This last question is just asking the

ELT for Young Learner Final Examination-2010

children to guess rather than think. Avoid getting them to repeat sentences such as; ‘What is my name?’ or ‘Is this a book?’ Not only do you know it’s a book, so the interaction isn’t very interesting, unless the book is hidden in a bag and they are having to work out the contents, but also the response is limited to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Closed questions are ok to lead onto something more with low level learners but be aware of not using them too often. Young learners in the communicative classroom should get as many speaking opportunities as possible and their speaking time should slowly but steadily rise so as to prepare them for various communicative situations. Keeping in mind that each classroom offers a wide range of learners differing in their abilities, knowledge, confidence, motivation and learning styles, a teacher should provide them with a proper environment that would help them develop their skills, independent of their basic characteristics and diversity. A teacher must be able to vary the types of speaking and listening activities he/she does. Keep the students interested by introducing new approaches to speaking in class. This could mean talking to different people, talking to different numbers of people, speaking as a whole class, half a class or in small groups. For different levels in the same class the teacher can ask the learners to listen for different things. Ask the weaker ones to tell how many teddy bears there are in the song and the stronger ones to tell what the teddy bears are doing in the song. To make one activity suit all levels ask the learners to practice saying between five and ten sentences. This way the quick finishers have more to do and the weaker pupils still feel they have achieved the task if they have practised only a few sentences.


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