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English First – Shijiazhuang China

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If you ever do teach English in China (or other Asian countries for that matter), it is highly likely that you will be teaching very young children. The following is a short introduction into the joys of teaching young children.

Why is the demand so huge for younger learners to learn English?

Well, the short and simple answer is competition. In the ever more competitive market for good middle and high school places, let alone increased competition for university places, parents are placing greater stress on language skills as a way to set their child apart from the rest. As such, parents the world over are placing greater emphasis on learning more at a younger age. Recent surveys have shown that some Asian families are willing to spend up to 30% of their disposable income on private education to get their child ahead or at least enable them to keep up with his or her peers.

Why then is teaching young children enjoyable?

students with teacher -400Young children look at the world around them and are easily fascinated by anything new. If you can use this fascination and wonder, teaching young children can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. It can be so much fun. In fact, you forget you are working and feel instead you are playing with and helping the children explore this strange language they may have never heard before. Having a child that may cry when they are left with you the first time may be a little daunting but the feeling of accomplishment for both yourself and the child when they can answer simple questions like “What’s your name?” or “How are you?” is truly rewarding and satisfying.

The rapport you can build with ten or so young children is also rewarding. Knowing that you are one of the first foreigners they will likely have met is a small honour in and of itself. After a short time, the children will likely scream your name as you walk towards the corridor to begin class or if they see you around the school. I’m sure anyone who has tried to connect with young children will recognize the happy feeling of having connected to a child. Ultimately, seeing a child develop both linguistically with what they can say and develop personally is a truly rewarding facet of the job that all teachers will doubtlessly mention if you ask them why they like teaching.

What do you teach a child aged 3-6?

Obviously younger learners are very different to teenagers or adults. They like to move around more and play games. Of course, you need to give them routines in class so that they understand what is required of them. Having said that, they also need a variety to their activities as they can get bored easily. Engaged students are usually well-behaved and receptive to whatever activity is being explained in the classroom. This is one of the challenges that former teachers will mention but with a little bit of training, experience and patience any classroom can be easily managed.

Most schools will have a heavy focus on phonics (the study of sounds and letters and how they can be put together to make words) in their programs. Therefore you will be helping a child learn to read and write after they have learnt how to recognize the individual letters and sounds of the alphabet. You will most definitely be using songs, dance and chants to help the children learn. The use of songs can help teach vocabulary or short phrases that can then be used in short role plays or dialogues that help reinforce what the children learn.

I hope this short introduction will help you understand better how rewarding teaching young children can be and has made you even more certain that it might be something for you.

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English First – Shijiazhuang China

This school is holding interviews for teaching jobs now, apply today!
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About the Author:

Iain Foreman
Iain Foreman is the Director of Studies at English First in Shijiazhuang.
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