The techniques used to teach children, need to be fun and entertaining. Children have vast imaginations, a lot of energy, and relatively short attention spans. Add the three of these characteristics together and get a nightmare for anyone who is not prepared.
Bottom line: when teaching children, be prepared and be ready to act like a kid again. Children love teachers who are as energetic and as imaginative as they are, so use teaching methods that incorporate energy and imagination. It’s also essential that you have a lot of patients.
This article will give you some great ideas that you can use to teach any pretty much any subject to children. For the purposes of this article, we will use the subject of English. The main thing to remember when teaching children is that you need to be flexible. You must be willing to change gears the instant things aren’t working out. Remember, children have limited attention spans. Therefore, make sure your backup plans have backup plans and be ready to use them.
A method that you can use that will encourage children to think and use their imaginations is making up lines of a story and acting them out. Be prepared for some crazy lines and try not to get too frustrated if kids get off topic. This is a time for them to use their English vocabulary and imagination. It will encourage them to imagine the possibilities and take the story wherever they want it to go, as well as allowing them to move around as they “storm castles” and “fight the bad guys”.
Another great activity is building with blocks, Legos, chairs and blankets, or anything else that can make a structure. Children can create their own miniature world and play with little people or they can create a life-sized fort and be the characters themselves. As long as the teacher is incorporating the lesson into the activity then anything is possible.
Activities such as these will help keep students engaged. They will be moving, imagining, and playing. As you know, children could play for hours but the instant they have to sit down and learn something they become bored. Therefore, if you incorporate learning into playing then they will hopefully be able to keep going.
Less Energetic Activities
Some less energy based techniques that will still appeal to children and maintain their attention would be reading them a story. Children love to listen to teachers read to them. It is especially entertaining if the teacher uses different voices for the characters and is very animated when reading the story. Therefore, be prepared to do a little acting as well as vocalizing.
You could also listen to an audiobook or a podcast of a story. Oftentimes, you can find recordings where they have different voices for the different characters. Some narrators will even do different voices themselves! As long as it is interesting and animated the children will be engaged.
These methods get their imaginations going and allow them to go on an adventure without ever leaving their seats. In addition to listening to stories, children can also watch films and movies that engage them in a story. As long as the film selection is age appropriate they will pay attention.
If movies are not an option, perhaps the teacher can engage the students in drawing the events of the story on the board. The children could even tell the story as the teacher draws it sort of like a game of charades. The possibilities are endless!
These techniques, along with an infinite amount of others, are great for teaching English, or any other subject, to children. As long as the teacher knows what he or she is doing the children will follow his or her lead. The important thing is not to get flustered. Be prepared to have your plans ruined and don’t become frustrated or angry when it happens.
Always appear to have everything be happening according to plan. If you maintain your composure the children will follow. You may also receive some assistance from the “good” kids in the class. Basically, if the activities are fun and entertaining it is pretty easy for the children to have a great learning experience.