2 GENERAL OVERVIEWIn this course you will :learn about teaching English as a foreign or additional language to young learners from three to 12 years oldconsider how young learners develop cognitively, how they learn languages, and how your understanding of these two areas can help guide you in your role as a teacher of young learners and a teacher of languagecombine theory with practice and be provided with examples that will help illustrate how you can teach language to young learners in your classroombe introduced to ways of teaching the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), as well as techniques for using stories, songs and rhymes, games and role-play in your classroomconsider the role of assessment and evaluation in teachingEnglish to young learners
3 An Approach to TEYLTeaching English to young learners (TEYL), including children within the 3-12 age range, in a meaningful and memorable way requires a person to understand how children learn and how they learn languages.The following diagram shows how a number of building blocks (each representing a different part of language learning and teaching) can be placed together to create a structure that can represent our approach to TEYL.By stacking these blocks one on top of the other, we can consider how each is crucial for the support and development of the following tower of understanding.
4 Building blocks of understanding in teaching English to young learners
5 Characteristics of YLs VYLs (under 7)YLs (7-12)acquire through hearing and experiencing lots of English, in much the same way they acquire L1learn things through playing; they are not consciously trying to learn new words or phrases – for them it’s incidentallove playing with language sounds, imitating, and making funny noisesare not able to organize their learningnot able to read or write in L1; important to recycle language through talk and playtheir grammar will develop gradually on its own when exposed to lots of English in contextare learning to read and write inL1are developing as thinkersunderstand the differencebetween the real and theimaginarycan plan and organize how best to carry out an activitycan work with others and learn from otherscan be reliable and take responsibility for class activities and routinesFor more information, see: Slatterly, M., & Willis, J. (2001). English for primary teachers. Oxford: Oxford University Press
6 Piaget (one of the best-known theorists in developmental psychology)“tried to work out how children thought and developed cognitively”children actively construct knowledge from their experiencesfrom birth, children try to make sense of the world through their actions
7 Developmental stages of children Sensori-Motor Stage (from months) children seem to learn through interaction with the world around them, and through the use of their senses. Children are particularly egocentric, able to think about things in terms of how they interact and link with themselves.Pre-operational stage (from 18 months - 7 years) children are developing towards the next stage, start using some aspects of the concrete world around them, begin to internalize information in a very basic way through the use of their imagination and memory.
8 Concrete Operational Stage (from years) able to operate and learn through their interactions with the concrete world around them, moving towards the final stage which would involve more abstract thinking.Formal Operational Stage (from approximately 11 years of age to adulthood) able to develop more abstract thought and understanding in this final stage of cognitive development Coincides with puberty and the development into adulthood.
9 Influential findings in Piaget's work Identified how children could assimilate (add new knowledge to support old knowledge already established by them ) and accommodate (change their present understanding of something based on the new experience they have had), and how they might develop their cognition and understanding using both.Believed the stages were fairly fixed in age and children went through them in this particular sequential order - children could only move onto the next stage when they had completed the stage before and were ready to do so.“Children should be given thinking time when faced with an experience or problem that they are trying to solve.”
10 Issues with Piaget's work Margaret Donaldson recreated many of Piaget’s experiments and found that:Piaget’s observations and measurements didn’treally reflect the way children were actually able to think.Piaget didn’t consider the role of language to bean important catalyst in the cognitive development of the child.Children were able to achieve and understand more than Piaget believed they could.Piaget had not taken into account what sense children were making of the type of adult questioning that was used in the experiments he carried out, or the fact that the experiments were taking place in very unnatural and child-unfriendly settings, such as science laboratories.
11 Lasting importance of Piaget's work Established the idea of the child as a lone scientist who was actively seeking answersSuggested that children had the need for thinking timeThought about the child as an individual who developed and thought as an individual rather than a small version of an adult or a passive and empty vessel waiting for adults to fill his or her mind with informationWas the first step in gaining understanding of the cognitive development of children
12 Language is Central to Child Development Lev Vygotsky (1978) & Jerome Bruner (1987)believed, in contrast to Piaget that:language was central to the cognitive development of childrenit was instruction (provided by an adult, a teacher, or a more able peer) that helped children to learn and develop
13 Vygotsky and Bruner believed that the act of internalization for children (moving thought from something that was spoken out loud to thought that was in their heads) was helped and supported when another more knowledgeable person talked the 'thinking' process through with children and instructed or guided them along as they did so.
14 Guiding the 'thinking' process Now let's find all the pieces with the straight edges and put them over here.And where are the four corner pieces?Oh, yes. Here they are.Let's take all the pieces out of the box and turn them over.
15 Piaget’s views Vygotsky’s views Piaget talked of children working through different stages of learning on their own.Vygotsky (1978) described the difference between:what children could achieve (and how they could develop) on their ownand what children could achieve (and how they could develop) when an adult was able to work with them as the zone of proximal development
16 Encouraging development and growth Do you think it would sink if you put it in water?How could we put the stones together so that they would make a wall?Is it heavy?Do you think the big ones should be at the top or the bottom?How does the stone feel?With scaffolding, children could develop and grow because the adult would give support to their thinking and encourage them to think in ways that would develop their own ability to think through situations.
17 Making sense of experiences Donaldson believed that children were able to cognitively develop by trying to make sense of the experiences that they had, and by asking questions and trying things out, or hypothesizingThe child creates a hypothesis and searches for meaning and patterns by using his /her own knowledge of communicationThe child uses this gathered feedback to establish his/her own rules and then internalize these rules and remember themThe child looks for clues and uses anything around him/her to support the hypothesisThe child then tests this hypothesis by listening, questioning and trialing. The child then adjusts the hypothesis according to the feedback received
18 How Do We Think Children Learn Languages? Language learning – innate and universal?Critical period for language learning?Noam Chomsky believed that:learning was innate – ithappened to all individualsthere was an innate languagecapacity in all of us which hecalled the LanguageAcquisition Device (LAD).This ability to acquirelanguage was later referredto as Universal Grammar(UG).Lenneberg thought that:there was a critical period, up tothe age of eleven, in which childrenwere able to learn languageif language was introduced tochildren after this age, it wasextremely difficult for them tolearn it. “This hypothesis is one ofthe main reasons for starting theteaching of foreign or second languages early in a child's schooling.”Bruner feels that there is a Language Acquisition Support System (LASS) supplied by adults, or more able mentors, that helps children to develop such a language acquisition device and that this input and support is crucial to the success of language acquisition in children.
19 Multiple Intelligences Linked closely with the three types of learning styles is the work of Howard Gardner (1993) who suggested that there are a lot of different learning styles or intelligences, as he called them, that we all have at our disposal.Children with Linguistic Intelligence:favor reading, as well as the creative use of words (such as doing crossword puzzles)enjoy listening and telling storieshave good memories for names, places, datesand triviaChildren with Logical-Mathematical Intelligence:favor sorting, ordering, classifying, ranking and sequencingenjoy research and organizationhave the ability to reason deductively and can recognizeand manipulate abstract patterns or relationships
20 Children with Spatial Intelligence: favor the use of diagrams, maps, charts, plans, pictures and seeing howthings fit togetherfavor the ability to create visual-spatial representations and betransferred mentally or concretelyneed a mental or physical "picture" to understandthe information being presentedChildren with Kinesthetic Intelligence:lean toward the physical, and favor interaction with and manipulation ofthemselves and objectsuse their bodies to solve problems, or convey ideas and emotionsuse physical activities, good hand-eye coordination andhave a tendency to move around a lot while expressingthemselvesMusical Intelligence The use of rhythm, music and song is particularly important to this intelligence. Songwriters, singers and musicians would use this intelligence much more than others
21 Children with Interpersonal Intelligence: interact and relate well with otherswork effectively in a group and understand and recognize thegoals, motivations and intentions of othersare skilled at communicating, mediating andnegotiatingChildren with Intrapersonal Intelligence:have the ability to understand their own emotions, goals andmotivations.have good instincts about their strengths andabilitieshave personal thoughts about what is happening toindividuals and the world around them
22 How Do We Think Children Learn a Foreign or Second Language? Jim Cummins (1979), suggests two types of language that can be acquired:Proficiency Cognitive Academic Language (CALP).Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS)everyday social interactive language used when interacting from a very early agelanguage heard when listening to children their own age playinglanguage used when learning about and discussing content in an academic classlanguage used by a ten-year-old when studying topics like the characteristics of the sun in a science classWe need to prepare our students to use and understand both types of language.