The peak of growth and development of children falls between the age of 3 and 9. At 3, children have rich imaginations and love to play physical games. And when they approach the age of 9, they become more independent and confident about exploring new things. Therefore, this period is good for learning something new, especially learning spoken English.
Adults may find it hard to master a foreign language, but children between 3 and 9 have a higher capacity for learning language. It might actually be easier for them to learn how to speak English fluently in a shorter amount of time.
But it’s also important for English teachers to choose a correct approach to conveying their knowledge. One of such approaches is to learn English at home in a one-on-one setting. For adults it’s also possible to learn English at home for free without a teacher, but children will need someone to show them the ropes.
How Different Learner Types Learn English
Before we proceed to learning spoken English tips for kids, it’s important to understand which learner type your student belongs to. This has been covered in greater depth in a previous post, but the most common learner types are as follows:
When you know what kind of learner type a child is, it becomes easier for you to find out how he or she can learn English at home. It’s important to note that these are not rigid categories and children can learn English through a more multifaceted approach. Here are a few ideas for each learner type:
- For visual types, you can use pictures, presentations, graphics, and other similar methods to convey information. You can also encourage encourage children to draw.
- For verbal types, you can prepare reading or writing tasks as well as short multiple choice quizzes.
- Kinesthetic types would enjoy playing active games and moving around as much as possible. For example, Oxford University developed a special exercise program for children. It appeared that this program helped the kids to absorb information better. The reason is that the exercise draws blood to the brain, generating new connections between neurons.
- As for auditory types, you can read aloud to children, have them listen to audiobooks, play pronunciation games, or sing songs together. Encourage them to discuss what they heard.
Teaching Styles For Children Learning English at Home
In addition to learner types, it’s also important to consider the teaching styles, or the approaches that teachers use to pass over information to students. There is, of course, a lot of variation, buts styles usually fall within one of these three categories:
- Teacher-focused style. This style is used mostly by college professors when giving lectures to students and it’s less suitable for younger children. To learn to speak in English, kids typically need more interaction with their tutors.
- Learner-focused style. This style gives more freedom to learners, while a teacher acts more as a coach. However, it is questionable whether this approach can be used to learn English step by step.
- Content-focused style. This style is most effective when teaching languages, because it is centered around the learning material, the English language in our case. To learn basic English speaking, children can describe things that interest them most by using a maximum number of English words.
How Kids Learn Can Learn English Best
Classroom learning differs from other approaches kids use to learn spoken English at home. And of course it’s more difficult to work with several kids with different learning styles than with one child. We’ll give you some tips that may help if your child wants to know how to learn English easily at home.
- Get the most out of the surroundings. For example, you can ask the kid to name several surrounding items in English, or stick a post-it note with a written name of the item.
- Pay attention to timing. When children learn the English language at home, they might get tired very quickly. Therefore, classes for kids under 10 should be shorter than for adults, i.e. 30 minutes instead of 1 hour.
- Practice more. If your young students are non-native English speakers, it’s important that they speak as much as possible to train their language skills. Plan as much interaction as possible, as it will be both interesting and useful for a child.
- Consider your students’ interests. Encourage them to speak in English about something that is interesting to them.
- Reward your students. Turn your lessons into exciting games with prizes that will motivate the kids to learn English quickly at home. For example, you can give them bonus points, maybe even in the form of physical items, such as small toys or treats.
- Use computer technology. Computer technology is especially useful when you teach children from home by using Skype. For example, Cambridge University developed a computer program that teaches children to pronounce various sounds in English. As a result, the kids learn to recognize which sounds are produced by certain combinations of letters.
- Break down the material into small chunks. In such a way, it would be easier for your young students to process the information.
Now you have an understanding of how children can learn to speak English fluently at home. We hope that the use of this information and these tips will help your students to learn English speaking step by step.