For three weeks, I was living in Cahors where I was working six days a week teaching two French children my native language. Whilst the eldest spoke good English but found it difficult to read, the youngest loved reading in English but had no confidence speaking. Therefore, I was always trying to think of new methods to get them both engaged and interested in learning English. We played many card and board games such as Monopoly which was a great way for them to improve counting and solving money problems.
However, out of all the games we played, the two following exercises proved to be the most effective for the children I was teaching who were aged seven and ten. Bear in mind the age of the child/ren when teaching a foreign language and take in account their individual interests.
Create a play
- Make a script
- Dress up
- Add music and sound effects
Be as creative as you wish; a skill that comes extremely natural to younger children. Let their imaginations wander. The little boy was wearing a black curly wig and 3D glasses whilst I was wearing a bonnet and shoulder pads. Luckily, the grandfather owned a piano so we used this instrument to create music and sound effects throughout the play. For example, when the evil witch arrived, the little boy would play a jaws-like soundtrack. Rehearsing the play is a great way for them to become more confident in speaking since they are devoid of social pressures and worrying about making mistakes. The little girl had the great idea of creating tickets to hand out to their family – a fun way for them to practice their writing skills. Gather all the family round to watch them perform – they will love seeing their children doing something so creative and pro-active.
- Find a kid friendly recipe on the internet
- Ask them to read out or write the recipe on a piece of paper so they can keep it for the future
- Encourage them to read each step out loud before they complete the action
The two children loved baking since it was such a practical way of learning English. They don’t just build up their vocabulary on food but baking gives an insight to our Great British baking culture. We baked numerous goodies from fairy cakes, a Victoria sponge cake, a chocolate fudge cake to biscuits and cookies.
I would love to read some of your tips for teaching a foreign language that you find effective since as of September, I will be a language assistant in Quebec.