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THE YOUNG
LANGUAGE LEARNERS

The content of the Subject


Characteristics of young language
learners
Class management
Teaching English skills to the children

Characteristics of the children

Young language learners


Do not come to class empty-handed

Bring well-established set of instinct,


skills, and characteristics which help
them learning new language.

For example:
Already good at interpreting meaning without
necessarily understanding individual words
Already have great skills in using limited language
creatively
Frequently learn indirectly than directly
Take great pleasure in creating fun in what they do
Have a ready imagination
Take great delight in talking

Characteristics of 5-7 years old

They can talk about what they are doing


They can tell you about what they have done or heard
They can plan activities
They can argue for something and tell the arguments
They can use logical reasoning
They can use their vivid imagination
They can use a wide range of intonation patterns in the
mother tongue
They can understand direct human interaction

Other Characteristics of young


language learners (1)

They know that the world is governed by rules.


They understand situations more quickly than the language
used.
They use language skills long before they aware of them.
Their own understanding comes through the hands, eyes, and
ears.
They are very logical
They have very short attention and concentration span.
They have difficulty in knowing the fact and fiction.

Other Characteristics of young


language learners (2)

They are often happy playing and working alone but in the
company of others.
Their world is not the same as adults
They seldom admit that they dont know something either.
They cant decide for themselves what to learn
They love to play and learn best when they are enjoying
themselves.
They are enthusiastic and positive about learning.

General Characteristics of
8 10 years old

Their basic concept are formed. They have very decided views of
the world.
They can tell the difference of fact and fiction.
They ask questions all the time.
They rely on spoken word as well as physical world to convey and
understand meaning.
They are able to make some decision about their own learning.
They have definite views about what they like and dont.
They have developed sense of fairness
They are able to work with others and learn from others.

Language development
8-10 y.o. children are competent users of the mother
tongue.
By the age of 10, they are:
Understand abstracts
Understand symbols
Generalize and systematize
Most of 8-10 yo children have language awareness and
readiness for SL

English as a Lingua Franca


Emergence of English as a World Language due to
British colonialism
US power
Advent technology
About a billion people engaged in studying English as a
Second (ESL) or Foreign (EFL) Language: Only about
300,000 million L1 English speakers (British Council, 2004;
Crystal, 2000)

Young Learners of English

Widespread

Language
prestige

Parental
pressure:
social
mobility

The younger
the better
regardless
of research
findings

How Young is Young?


Home
environment:

School:

birth
Foreign language teaching in the US12
Europe: varies: often 9-10 (or earlier)
Cambridge Young Learners test: 7-12
Israel and other expanding countries
The younger the better move to lower
age. Currently: grade one
Sometimes kindergarten

What Knowledge-Base is required for


teaching EFL to young learners
Knowledge of the language
Knowledge about the language
Knowledge how to teach the language
Knowledge about teaching young children
Knowledge about teaching the language to
young children

How to teach them

Do not rely on spoken words only because words are not enough
Play with the language.
Spoken words should be accompanied by other clues to meaning.
Create varieties in the classroom.
Have system & routines. Organize and plan your lesson
Encourage cooperation, not competition
Note the structure, function, and grammar items you want them to
learn.
Write their progress and encourage self-assessment.

Key principles in teaching them