Senin, 17 Desember 2012

Aspects to Consider in Teaching English to Young Learners

What are the delights and difficulties of teaching English to young learners?
What are kids generally likes?
  • Physically active
  • Enthusiastic
  • Short span of concentration
  • Imaginative
  • Get bored easily
  • Egocentric
  • Musical (chant)
  • Great capacity of learning

Cognitive Development
Primary components of Jean Piaget's 4-Stage Model:
  • Sensorimotor 0-2 years
  • Preoperational 2-7 years
  • Concrete Operations 7-11 years
  • Formal Operations 12+ years

Sensorimotor Stage (0-2 years)
  • Infant's world consists of the immediate environment
  • Interact and learn by sensory input (hearing, feeling, seeing) with motor capabilities (= holistic learning)
  • Gradually learn to control their own bodies as well as objects in the external world.
  • The ultimate task at this stage is to achieve the sense that objects go on existing even when we cannot see them (Object Constancy/Permanence). 

Preoperational Stage (2-7 years)
  • Developing ability to employ images and symbols, especially language
  • Play becomes key in learning. Begin to see use of symbolism ini pretend play (e.g. Use a broomstick as a "horse")
  • Child's view of the world is egocentric
  • Logical organization of thoughts remains undeveloped (e.g. unable to apply principles yet)

Concrete Operations (7-12 years)
  • Perform logical operations, but only in relation to concrete objects, not abstract ideas.
  • Basic math skills developed (counting, addition, subtraction) as well as an understanding of conservation. 
  • Can sort items into categories, reverse the direction of their thinking, and think about two concepts simultaneously. 
  • Able to understand a situation from another person’s perspective.

Formal Operations (12+ years)
  • Begin to think logically and abstractly, including speculations about what might happen in the future. 
  • Theoretical, philosophical,  and scientific reasoning becomes possible
  • Abstract concepts and moral values become as important as concrete objects.
  • With these newly developed thinking abilities, adolescents begin to reinterpret and revise their knowledge base. 

The Implications
  • Classroom habits
  • Teacher talk
  • What are the activities like?
  • What are the materials like?

Classroom Habits: How?
  • Building up teachers' confidence and self-esteem
  • Building up learners' self-esteem
  • Creating a positive classroom atmosphere
  • Building up class rules and procedures

Teachers' Talk
  • Use English to teach English
  • Teacher as a model
  • Teacher as a caretaker
  • Characteristics:
    1. Simple
    2. Slow
    3. Repeating, recasting, reacting positively
    4. Exaggerated pronunciation
    5. Language accompanying actions

What are the activities like?
  • Varied: stir and settle
  • Fun
  • Hands-on/practical
  • Lively-paced/dynamic
  • Involve interaction

What are the materials like?
  • Realistic
  • One thing at a time
  • Integrated
  • Allow learners to get involved
  • Recycle (reinforced in other parts)

A good textbook is ...
  • Objectives explicitly lain out in the introduction and implemented in the material
  • Content clearly organized and graded (Principles = Krashen's comprehensible input)
  • Interesting and varied topics and tasks
  • Fluently practice in all four skills
  • Periodic review and test section
  • Clelar, attractive lay out; print easy to read
  • Adequate guidance for the teacher
  • Audio cassettes

How do we assess (very) young learners?
  1. Portfolio assessment
  2. Structured assessment activities/tasks
  3. Observation
  4. Traditional tests

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