Top 10 TEYLT Tips
TEYLT is not an area of EFL I often touch on, but lately I have had a number of teachers ask me for advice on teaching younger learners.
Most new TEFL teachers land up teaching very young learners (2 – 4 years old or at primary schools) in Asia. Although the fundamentals of TEFL remain, teaching children is quite different from teaching adults and a fair amount of research is necessary. In my opinion, it’s an art.
In my quest to find resources, I didn’t just rely only on what the internet had to offer. Since I value the experience of my peers, I also picked the brains of specialist teachers, local and abroad.
A special shout out goes to two teachers, specialists in the instruction of young children – Shirley from Cape Town, an EFL teacher and specialist in TEYLT; and Giuliana from Italy, a passionate kindergarten teacher who has started English camps for young learners and has integrated English in the Italian foundation curriculum. Both made themselves available to answer my relentless questions.
After lengthy discussions and knowledge-sharing, I pinned down some have-to-knows about TEYLT.
THE TOP 10 TEYLT TIPS
- The approach you use to teach children will ultimately make or break your lesson. First things first – you have to amend the methodology you use with adults. Don’t even start without considering this.
- The favoured method appears to be TPR – Total Physical Response.
- Do a Multiple Intelligence self-test (Howard Gardener/Businessballs). You need to have a fairly high combination of Interpersonal, Visual, Auditory and Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligences. Why? Because you need to prepare lessons which are very interactive, musical and rhythmic, including lots of realia and colourful visual aids.
- You need to be crafty. Start stocking up on coloured cardboard, markers, glue, scissors, recyclables such as bottle tops, chopsticks and magazines.
- Put your inhibitions aside. You must be willing to be silly and have fun.
- Focus on classroom management. Prepare cards with short, simple phrases and point to them when you use them.
- Have a noise-maker of some kind. A bottle filled with pebbles will do.
- Be ultra-prepared. Have lots of flashcards and games ready in your bag of tricks.
- Follow R.E.A.P – Research, Edit, Ask and Prepare.
- Invest in good quality reference material for TEFL basics – Harmer’s The Practice of English Teaching, Scrivener’s, Learning Teaching.
Let me tell you, there are an overwhelming amount of resources available so there is no need to stress, but the best information you can get is from your colleagues.
Have fun teaching the little ones!