Teaching Very Young Learners

Teaching very young learners, those considered to be between three and five years old, may be a challenge because of many reasons. To start with, it is usually very hard to keep these learners 100% concentrated. They may easily feel bored and you will have to find a way to keep them focused.  In addition, an EFL or ESL teacher will find it daunting teaching a language to very young learners in the same way older learners are taught.

Characteristics of very young learners

  • They need to feel safe.
  • They have short concentration span.
  • They need concrete experiences in order to understand.
  • Their first language is still developing.
  • Their writing and reading skills are still rudimentary.
  • They are readily engaged in play.

Tips to teach very young learners

  • Young learners need a lot of recycling and repetition.
  • They cannot comprehend abstract ideas, so go for concrete examples, practical instances of language in use to be able to understand them and reproduce them.
  • Younger learners need to be taught meaningful English.
  • It is useless to teach them grammar since they still struggle with grammar in their mother tongue.
  • It is preferable to help very young learners to memorize whole chunks rather than go into detailed descriptions of structures.
  • Teaching chunks of language in context may be a great idea.
  • Using songs, games, fairy tales, stories, short conversations, dance, play… provide good exposure to language.
  • Using a lot of visual aids, colors and music can be fun and enhance retention.
  • Focus must be on fluency rather on accuracy.
  • Very young learners need to learn by doing.  Use of their motor skills to cut out shapes and glue them might be fun and helpful to L2 acquisition.

1 thought on “Teaching Very Young Learners”

  1. in my opinion for very young learner in FLT, it is very essentioal learners listen to the whole chunks for second or third ones in original sources facilities like CD….,then teachers repetet and sing songs mor and more to forbid them from egrigious mistaks in pronunciatons,THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXCELLENT TIPS

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