Teaching English to Young Learners

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Teaching English to Young Learners By: Inés Torres de Muñoz Ecuador

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Teaching English to Young Learners. Connecting Content with Language and Culture Content-Related Instruction: New teaching initiatives . By : Inés Torres de Muñoz Ecuador. Content -Related Programs for Young Learners:. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Teaching English to Young Learners


Ins Torres de MuozEcuadorConnecting Content with Language and CultureContent-Related Instruction:New teaching initiatives

Content-Related Programs for Young Learners:

Use the regular curriculum as vehicle for making language activities more cognitively engaging.


Integrating Language and Content

Provides learners with the skills and the practice needed to acquire information in the target language.Connects English language curriculum with other parts of learners academic lives.Integrates language development with content learning.Enriches concepts learned in other content areas with the unique experiences and insights available through language study.


Relation between Language Teaching and Content Teaching.

According to Bernard Mohan (1986) :Language teaching by content teaching in which the focus is on content, and the language competences develop almost incidentally.

Language Teaching with Content Teaching in where the focus is on teaching both language and content.

Language Teaching for Content Teaching in which students learn the specific language needed for success in various subjects as quickly as possible.4

Reasons for Content-Related Instructions

Communicative Competence can be develop as students feel the need to exchange information with one another or with the teacher in real communicative settings.Provides a meaningful context for language use, and encourages language use for interesting and engaging purposes.Fills the need for comprehensive input as described by Krashen. The language used is supported by contextual cues, often in the form of visuals or concrete objects.Supports what we know about how the brain makes connections and how learning takes place.Students are actively engaged in constructing meaning and making sense of the interesting world presented to them through the vehicle of English.


Curricular areas with potential for Content-Related Instruction

Curriculum areas such as physical education, family and customer education, health, art and music have potential for contend-related instructions.In TEYL specifically areas such as the social studies, mathematics, and science are potential for content-related instructions.These areas deal with highly experiential, often very visual learning, the use of second language in communicating the concepts can be natural and successful alternative for instructions.


Social Sciences

Topics:HomeFamilyCommunity patternscultures


Many of the techniques and resources used for the teaching of social sciences are appropriate for presenting concepts in another language .


Potential for a great deal of language and vocabulary use in topic areas that are closely related to the languages and culture curriculum.


There may be more vocabulary and language proficiency required for the content and process studies than novice level language students can adequately develop.




MeasurementArithmeticGraphing activities


Learn to measure.Identify standard measures.Read, interpret and construct graphs.Tell, read and write numbers Make simple calculations.


Concepts of shape and size are simple are easily communicated in English, and primary schools language teachers have long used simple computation as mean of practicing number concepts.


Conceptual mathematics explanations at higher levels of mathematics instruction may pose difficulties, but computation and concrete problem solving situations can be very useful in content-related instruction.






Formulating hypothesis and reformulating them when the outcomes vary are important opportunities for the exchange of real information.Science instructions incorporates the use of many graphics and charts that can contribute to understanding.


Hands on activities involve many opportunities for interaction and meaningful exchange of language.Students develop ands experiment and predict the result they expect , thus investing personality in both the problem and the solution.


Other curricular areas are suitable for making connections with language.


Physical education


Family and consumer education



Planning for Content-Related Instruction. Factors:

The content area skills and concepts that can interrelate most effectively with the language goals.

The language competences needed to work with the content selected.

The cognitive skills necessary to perform the task in the lesson.

The potential for integration with language goals and culture concepts and goals.



Consideration #1 Curriculum ResourcesThe best sources are the curriculum documents for the subject areas at the primary school level.

Consideration #2Teach-ability through EnglishTeacher look for concepts that lend themselves specially well to the kind of concrete, hands-on, activity-oriented teaching that is necessary in the early language classroom.


Consideration # 3Content-Compatible Language draw from the language curriculum, is that language for which the curriculum concept or information provides a convenient context.

Content-Obligatory Language is the language that must be taught in order to teach or reinforce the curriculum concept ,draw from content curriculum.


Consideration #4

Availability of Relevant Materials.Early in the planning process it is important to identify the instructional materials teacher will use. According to Echeverria and Graves (2007) the following techniques can be useful for adapting materials:Using graphic depictionOutlining the text Rewriting the textUsing audiotapesProviding live demonstrationsUse alternate books


Consideration #5

Using Active, Hands-On teaching Strategies for Helping Students to Understand Concepts .These strategies should not demand heavy verbal involvement of students but should focus on receptive language.Total Physical Response and Natural Approach activities can help to provide the meaningful context necessary in content based classes.


Consideration # 6Challenges In integrating Language and Content.

Not enough attention will be paid to the other crucial elements involved in programs for young learners-language and culture. Incorporating content alone does not insure that effective language learning will take place.English teachers who are attempting content-based instruction for the first time often lack a strong professional preparation in specific content areas.The possibility that some of the problematic practices from first language teaching will be carried over into second language acquisition.

Solutions: Design a systematic plan for language development; providing purposeful, theme based activities that give the student opportunities for students to engage frequently in extended discourse thorough cooperative learning and interactive tasks.


Total Physical Response :TPR in Content-Related Instruction.Adapted by Curtain Helena and Carol Ann Dahlberg (2010)


Uses movement to help establish meaning an set a purpose for language use.It was developed by the psychologist James Asher in the late 1960s.It has become a common and effective means of introducing children and adults to a new language, through listening and physical movement. Many teachers find it to be an especial engaging and effective way of introducing new vocabulary.


Teachers interact with students by delivering commands, and students demonstrate comprehension through physical response. The following sequence is recommended by Betty Segal (no date)Commands involving the entire body, large motor skills.TPRCommands involving interaction with concrete materials and manipulative, beginning with classroom objectsCommands relating to pictures , maps, numbers and other indirect materials.Point to your ear.Put your left hand on your head and turn three times.Take the red circle and place it in the waste basket.

Go to the picture of the bathroom and (pretend to) brush your teeth.



Total Physical Response StorytellingIt is an approach to combining language with actions and story.It is based on TPR and Natural Approach.It embeds new vocabulary and structures and structures as functional chunks in a story line and provides extensive listening practice before students are expected to speak. Clearly moves from the interpersonal mode of communication into a limited experience with presentational communication, both oral and written.


Variations:Teachers have adapted TPRS according to their own philosophies and practice. Stories with Gestures Janet Glass approach is specially appealing. Glass notes that her stories are always embedded in a thematic unit with a culture focus, and she never finds it necessary to use translation.Like Janet Glass teachers can devise their own stories and illustrations based on the following model :



Story Telling Step 1 The process is to identify the key vocabulary in the story, draw or find pictures, and assign a motion for each item.For folktale or fairly tale, it is best to break the story into short segments and present them one at time.

Each of the segments should functions as mini-story, with a clear beginning, middle, and end, in order to sustain interest.

Teach a few items from the first segment using variations of TPR.



Story Telling Step 2 Students work in pairs or groups to say the vocabulary words to teach each other and see whether or not they can do the actions. Then the process can be reversed, and the students do the actions for each other to prompt the words.Steps 1 and 2 can be repeated until all the key vocabulary has been introduced with actions and with many opportunities to practice combinations of words.



Story Telling Step 3 The process is to use the vocabulary in a story.Teacher can uses pictures, puppets, or student actors to tell a mini-story using the key vocabulary words.

Teacher retells the story several times while students do gestures, embellishing it in different ways each time, but the basic story stays the same.

Each story should provide an opportunity for student to participate and for teacher to check for understanding.



Story Telling Step 4 Teacher elicits students volunteers to tell or act the story.

Other students may act out the story in from of the class as their peers narrate it.

Teacher may ask students to write or order the story.



Story Telling Step 5 The mini-story is revised in this step. The following procedures can be useful:

Teacher covers up the last frame of the story and ask the students to come with their new own ending .

Have students retell the story adding new characters or new vocabulary.

Teacher and students review the mini-story.



Natural ApproachAdapted by Curtain Helena and Carol Ann Dahlberg (2010) Curriculum and activities are designed to be compatible with the stages to be compatible with the stages of language acquisition as follows:

Natural ApproachComprehension(preproduction) Early speech production Speech emerges Student Stage #1TPRDescription of pictures and persons.Student Stage #2Yes-No questions.Either-or questionsSingle/two words answers.Open ended sentencesOpen dialoguesInterviews Student Stage #1Games and recreational activities.Content activities.Humanistic-affective activities.Information-problem-solving activities.26

Lesson Plan Title of the Unit : Nature

Lesson Plan Title: Animals in danger.

Level: Pre-intermediate students.

Time duration: 2 hours.

The students proficiency level is intermediate and the age range is from 10-11 years old.


Animals in dangerStudents previous knowledge:Students should have bought some knowledge information about animals in danger in Ecuador and some knowledge about present and past simple verb forms for this lesson.

Skills to be emphasized:Extensive reading skillsSpeaking skill

Content :Students will be able to communicate information, ideas, and opinions through a text that built students awareness of endangered birds in Ecuador.


Animals in dangerObjectives:

To develop extensive reading skills

To develop speaking skills and practice asking for and giving information.

To build students awareness of birds which are endangered in Ecuador


Animals in dangerMaterials:

Posters, pictures, board, BookPencilColor pencilsComputerIn-focusboard


Animals in dangerSource:

Our World Through English Book 3. New Edition. This book is used to teach English as Foreign Language in all public schools of Ecuador.


Animals in dangerWarm up:Teacher asks students to see a YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SawTH5w2eR8&feature=related Then she asks them to comment about what they have seemed in the video. Finally, Teacher encourages students to say what they know about condor bird.


Animals in danger Task 1: Predicting informationTeacher focuses students attention on the poster and asks them some question in order to conduct a brief classroom discussion (The poster is about awareness endangered birds in Ecuador).


Animals in danger Task 2: Reading and completing information

Teacher asks students to read the task instructions and check the understanding, and then, teacher divides the classroom into three groups As, Bs and Cs. As read about condors, Bs read about Yumbos, Cs read about Macaws. Teacher ensures they understand that they only have to read one text. Then, teacher gives students enough time to read silently and to complete the table. While students are working, draw a similar table on the board. Do not write the answers in the table. Do not check the task with the whole group, but help students as monitor if necessary.


Animals in danger Task: 3 SpeakingAsk students to read the task instructions. Check their comprehension on the topic. Then organize students into groups of three give them a passage to read. Tell them to ask each other about the birds passages they didnt have the opportunity to read in order to complete the information on the table. Teacher demonstrates the task, and then, teacher asks one group to come up to the board. Encourage B and C groups to ask A group one question about condors and fill in a space in their tables on the board.Encourage A to ask B and C a question and fill in the corresponding space in his or her table on the board.


Animals in danger Guided students practice: Bring the students together in small groups. Small group practice activity:In groups students will read the passage information. Next, tell them to ask each other students some questions about the bird passages they didnt have the opportunity to read in order to complete the information in the table.


Animals in danger Evaluation :

Students will be assessed in groups. They will ask and answer each other questions about the topic they have read.


Animals in danger Follow up: Encourage students from group A to ask B and C a question and fill in the corresponding space in his or her table on the board. As this class is the last class of unit six. Teacher asks students to see a YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvYvLD_BVJ0 and then she asks them to comment about what they have seemed in the video. Teacher encourages students to recognize the wild animals, insect, and birds that they have studied in this unit.


Knowing is not enough; we must apply.Willing is not enough; we must do.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe