Children can learn any language most efficiently when they’re under the age of 10. This is something that schools try their best to take advantage of. The latest research into language learning shows that all the basic skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) all develop differently for children than for adults, due to their mind being a blank slate, primed for new learning.
Teachers aim to capture that window of opportunity in different stages. The younger ones (ages 3 and above) start by learning the building blocks of language. In the case of English that goes into phonics and phonemic awareness, which is the association of sounds that we speak to the characters of the alphabet.
The second building block is the memorization of high-frequency words, which are commonly known as sight words. This memorization, normally taught with flashcards and daily drills, represent words that do not follow generic rules of phonics.
English, being the complex language that it is, has a lot of exceptions. Sight words help children in two ways - reading faster, and the ability to read words that don’t fit phonics structures.
Moving on, a modern English class also incorporates a heavy amount of speaking practise. A good English teacher is marked by how well their lessons are designed to break down to the point that even the shyest of children have the help they need to say a few words. This is done through several structures (or habits) that teachers build into their classroom over the duration of the academic year:
Morning Meetings/Circle Time: The class starts the day by greeting each other, then reading the teacher’s message for the day, talking about a common topic (such as what they did the previous night) and finally ends with a small activity meant to pick up energy.
Print: This doesn’t mean lots of worksheets. It means covering the walls and other surfaces with colourful, picture-filled messages that impress students with simple messages. These range from the class rules, to the class agreement, sight words, prompts that show what to say when kids need help.
Positive Reinforcement: Children who learn English need to feel successful when they make progress. Encouraging them at the right moment, when they have made an effort to learn new things, goes a long way towards making learning exciting and memorable for them. A good primary English online tuition will focus on this because the tutors ensure their kids are encouraged whenever they reach milestones.
Constructivist Activities: This is a methodology that incorporates real-life situations into the classroom to make language learning as natural as possible. Students can learn the language in any of these situations they tend to make deeper connections that they remember well. PSLE English focuses more on real-time learning of the language, like writing letters of gratitude, emails, cover letters, and so on.
Parents and teachers can make use of audiobooks, newspapers, articles to instil the habit of reading and listening among the students. A lot of public speaking activities can help children learn how to communicate effectively without fear. Children learn from mistakes, it is the responsibility of a parent and a teacher to allow the students to learn from the mistakes they make.