Teaching very young children who don’t speak English when that’s all you speak can be challenging! It’s driven many an ESL teacher to tears of frustration!
I remember back to that very first year when I taught English in Korea to kindergarten kids. I thought it was going to be easy but I was dead wrong. It was certainly challenging, mostly due to the fact that I didn’t know how to manage the classes using routines and structure.
Establishing routines can be a helpful way to bring some order and calm to your classroom. It’s better for you, and it’s better for the children too.
Teaching English to Young Children: It’s All About Routine
When you’re teaching English to children, especially young ones, it can be really useful to have a routine to get your class started. They know what to expect so they can feel comfortable and secure. You also have a few minutes of your class that you don’t have to put thought and energy into planning in a detailed kind of way.
Young Children Love Repetition
Sure, it’s a bit boring to start every class off in the same way but for young children (and older ones too?!), it’s all about repetition and review. They seem to thrive on it.
You know how little kids love to read the same book over, and over, and over again? You can do some of the same things in your your young learner classes and have lots of success with that.
Consider Starting with Circle Time
My favourite routine is to have students sit in a circle and then we begin with a few questions. They are simple, easy to answer for the majority of the students and cover some key vocabulary terms.
Some Questions to Start Your Class off With
Hello, how are you today? (allow any answer besides, “I’m fine, thank you and you?”)
What day of the week is it today?
How about yesterday?
How about tomorrow?
What month is it?
What time is it now?
How did you get to school?
How’s the weather today? (more ideas here: ESL Weather Games)
What did you eat for breakfast?
How many _____? (hold up some fingers or objects)
What’s your favorite _____?
Review questions from the previous class.
A yes/no question of the day. Do you like _____?
Learn more about Using Routines for Very Young Students
Do you want to find out more about classroom management for very young learners? Then you’ll want to check out this video for all the tips and tricks you need to know:
Other Routines to Start your Classes Off With for Young Children
- Raising their hands when you put yours up. This can mean “please be quiet,” instead of having to yell above the noise!
- Taking attendance. This can be the perfect way to ensure that all the students are sitting in their seats and have quieted down before beginning anything else.
- A hello or good morning song of some kind.
- Ask everyone to get out their books and a pencil.
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Is there a Book to Help me With Classroom Management?
We’re happy that you asked! There most certainly is a book for teachers interested in how to set up routines in their classes. You can find: ESL Classroom Management over on Amazon.
Reduce Stress and Increase Learning in your English Classroom
It’s the book you need if you want to decrease the stress and increase the learning that’s going on in your classroom. Get everything under control, and learn how to make an enjoyable learning environment for your students and nice atmosphere for you.
What Can I Find in the Book?
You’ll learn about:
- Getting the entire class involved in your lessons
- How to plan a lesson
- Classroom organization
- Motivation and discipline strategies that work
- Working with co-teachers
- Some go-to activities for different situations
- And much, much more!
The Book is Available on Amazon in Both Digital and Print Formats
You can easily find the book on Amazon, in both digital and print formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office as a handy reference guide. Or, take a copy with you on your phone or tablet for lesson planning and inspiration on the go.
Check it out for yourself today, but only if you want a dose of ESL awesome in your life:
Have your Say about Classroom Routines for ESL Students!
Do you have any routines for starting off your English classes with children? Or, are you considering starting this up? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to share this on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other ESL teachers find this useful teaching resource.
Oh yeah, you may also want to check this out: ESL Kindergarten Games.