Monday, 20 December 2010

Teaching English for Young Learners

In response to the needs of developing human resources, the teaching of English as a foreign language has been extended to reach the elementary school level. This means that students learn English much earlier as they are young learners. The hope is that students will get more exposure to English and as consequence; the expectation to get a better learning is more open. According to the Internet TESL Journal, Vol. III, No. 10, October 1997 By J. Doug McGlothlin jdmcglothlin says that,

God has given young children a magical ability to learn new languages. This ability slowly disappears, and is completely gone by the time an adult begins the task of learning a new language. This theory is attractive for two reasons. First, it explains the phenomenon. Children learn a new language easily and adults do not because, according to the theory, the magic is limited to childhood. And second, this theory helps adult learners to accept their fate. With the magic gone, they find it a little easier to buckle down to their difficult studies, knowing that now there is no other way for them to learn a new language.

To make the expectation become realized, some new efforts of developing human resources through teaching English to young learners are needed. Several things that we need to concern are the teachers, the methods of teaching, and the media of teaching. Consequently, the young learners will improve their skills, knowledge, and confidence by learning English.
The first thing is that the teacher could have a great responsibility to make the progress of the young generations’ quality. As we may know, all children learn about something by listening what the teachers say and seeing what the teachers do. Then, the children imitate and use something which is new things in their life. Actually, teachers are the students’ parents at their school. Based on many scientists’ research, the research tells us that the children learn language best when their parents or people around their environment play with them while pointing and naming several items or actions. The activities of a child in learning language by seeing an object, hearing his or her parents name it, and then saying it the name back to his or her parents are the important part of a child’s development in learning language ( is why the teachers are the most important thing to determine the expectation about a better learning. For instance, the teachers make media from used paper to make several masks as media to tell a story, the teachers can make pop art from used paper to read some poetry, or the teachers could make games from used paper which is dealing with the topic. Not only that, the capacity of a teacher in teaching is also needed, such as the capacity of making methods in teaching.
The following thing is about methods in teaching itself. To make a student have skills, knowledge, and confidence, the teachers should concern the proficiency and the character of each student to decide the best strategy in teaching, for example, small discussions, games, telling stories, making some rules, etc. for the example, you can watch one of TV programme in Metro TV, ”Super Nanny”. Furthermore, we can say the teachers have the same duty as babysitter “taking care of the students at school.” A parent, babysitter, or teacher should figure out the problems of each child. In addition, we have to remember that children just play and no work. It means that the teacher has to make the students feel happy in learning English as if they play games (the Internet TESL Journal, Vol. III, No. 10, October 1997 By J. Doug McGlothlin jdmcglothlin). In addition, the teachers can give rewards to the students by saying “thank you”, “you are so kind”, or other expression which can make the students happy. Not only have that, to make the students feel like that, the teacher needs media.
The last part is about making the media for teaching. Many media are implemented for teaching young learners, for instance, by pop art, picture, snake and ladder, puppet, etc. Mrs. Emalia Iragiliati who is one of lectures in English department and one of tim pembelajaran terpadu said that the teacher of elementary level should be creative to make media for teaching. It is good to keep the students’ mood to learn English language. Not only that, she also suggested to all her students to be good, creative, and smart teacher by utilizing things in the environment become media of teaching. Take for examples of utilizing some used papers, dried and wet leaves, plastics, out of order things in the environment. In these ways, teachers do not spend much money to buy those kinds of stuffs. Still, they can be very innovative in teaching English for children.
The teaching of English for young learners actually has many aspects to concern more than these mentioned above. It is true that the teacher can influence the students in learning English. It is also connected to the methods in teaching English language for young learners. Even, it can also be supported in teaching by several media to make it complete. Considering the hope of having a profeciency to that language as an effort in developing human resources then the government should pick out the competent teachers, make seminar or training related to the good strategy and media in teaching.


http://www.the Internet TESL
Written by
Restu Maulidianto

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