Category Archives: In the Lesson: Kids

How to teach children to speak English

From the mouths of baby Germans

ThumbkinKnow what?  Know what?

Little kids have limited control over their impulses, and no understanding of timing or relevance.  They might tell you strange things at strange times during the English lesson, and you have to do your best to not overreact. Let them know that you heard them, respond a little bit, but don’t let it derail your song, story, game, or lesson plan.  This is yet another reason for you as an ESL teacher to learn the native language of the children you’re teaching: for example, the child could either be asking to use the bathroom, or he could be recounting the time his sister peed on the sofa. Continue reading


Teaching Kids: Discipline and Troubleshooting

Discipline cardsThis is one of the most important parts of classroom management, and I’m dedicating quite a bit of space to the topic.  Children behave in unpredictable ways, and it’s not always “bad behavior.”  They’re not acting up because they dislike you or because they’re naughty.  Some children are naturally louder or more spontaneous than others while some are more calculating and cunning, often flying under the radar until a classmate is in tears.  It will be up to you to determine which behavior is tolerated in the lesson, and only experience can teach you to identify rebellious or distracting behavior. Continue reading


Teaching Kids: Step-by-Step Lesson Plan

KidsLessonThe Language Playshop is a results-oriented course where learning is fun and automatic.  The children are given the tools to recall information on cue, and to review the information at home with the help of their picture dictionaries.  The words learned in the lesson are actively acquired, while phrases, sentences, and questions are learned through games, songs, and general interaction with the teacher.  Because chaos hinders learning, the lessons are fun yet highly structured, so classroom management is of the utmost importance.  Fairness and respect are valued, providing a positive learning experience.  This leaves the children with a better grasp of the language and a more motivated attitude toward learning English. Continue reading


The Hardest Kinds of Lessons

1.1-boredYou’d think that sitting around talking would be the easiest thing in the world, but it’s not.  Whether you’re teaching adults, teenagers, or little kids, there will come a time when you’ll wonder where your life went wrong.

The one-on-one tween:

This kid is failing English at school and his parents are punishing him with private tutoring once a week.  The parents are lovely people who paid the course fee without complaint, and everyone wants to see the kid’s grades improve.  Except the kid.  He doesn’t give two flicks about English or you or your brilliant activities.  He won’t open his mouth to save his life. Continue reading


Need worksheets?

Cover 1Teachers know that parents want to be part of their child’s learning experience, and many children like to collect things from their English lesson. This series of worksheets and flashcards are perfect for the ESL classroom. The flashcards are a vital part of the lesson, being introduced at the start of each hour, and used for games and quizzes. A short coloring activity is also a great way to calm the children and reinforce vocabulary. My little students took great pride in coloring their picture sheets and their parents were happy to have a way to practice what they’ve learned. When collected in a folder or binder, the Picture Dictionary can be a nice reference tool for young learners. Continue reading