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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    The best way to teach ESL to kids

    I've been illegally volunteering in Lamphun for the last 6 months. Just a session or 2 a week, outside school hours, but arranged by the school. I was approached, via mrs 9, by government employees and asked if I was interested. It's a local school in the same community I live and do business.

    There is apparently a wealth of english teaching know how amongst the TD crew, and I'd be interested to hear how those that do this for a living approach it.

    I wouldn't accept the job if I was not going to take it seriously. But I have no real qualifications. Whether or not that is important is up for debate, and can be debated elsewhere. What I'm interested in are the theories and concepts behind teaching English to young (4 - 8 year old) kids. I have a little experience and some thoughts of my own. Would like to hear yours.

    Right now I have 3 principles:

    1 - No bongs before class (teachers and students)

    2 - English only, no Thai

    3 - Keep it interesting

    The (2) is hard to enforce.

    All they want from me is to spend time playing around and speaking english with them. They were pretty adamant about it not being a teaching role. I'm technically just looking after a bunch of kids. But I would like it to be more than that, and starting to see some promising results. Well, was until I had to go away 7 weeks ago, but back into it next week.

  2. #2
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    Albert Shagnastier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    1 - No bongs before class (teachers and students) 2 - English only, no Thai 3 - Keep it interesting
    Mate, 2 and 3 are excellent ideas.

    However, the more bongs you all smoke before class the better, the herb connects us all with the higher power

  3. #3
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    Far be it from me to claim expertise where I have none, but

    Quote Originally Posted by 9999 View Post
    2 - English only, no Thai
    I thought this whole tough love immersion method was discredited decades ago?

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Not really tough love. I'm not harsh or anything. Would just prefer as much english as possible. So I make a weak english only rule.

    The toughest part about that is the Thai women / mothers that hang around speaking Thai when I'm trying to do an English speaking session.

    I try not to embarrass myself and all falangs by not using my pidgin Thai in front of them.

    *edit: Also, the teachers / govt people asked for me not to speak Thai and encourage as much english as possible.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly
    Far be it from me to claim expertise where I have none, but
    All banter aside you are a professional Willy and your thoughts are appreciated.

  6. #6
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    9999, I had an interesting experience. I don't know if I posted it here before.

    I was visiting a friend in the S. part of Isaan and she's a teacher. Her fields are math and science, but somehow in getting her master's degree she also learned to read and write English very well. The problem is that she learned from a Thai teacher and she doesn't know how the words sound.

    Because they've never had an NES teacher in that village school, no one was learning to speak. My friend is teaching English because she's the best they have.

    Because I was visiting for a few days, I was invited to do basically what it sounds as if you'll be doing. I agreed but I had no idea how to do it. I also had no prep time.

    I walked up to the front of the class and saw some pens and pencils in various colors so I picked them up. I went to the chalkboard and wrote the words pen, and then pencil. Then I held up a hand full of pens, pointed to the written word (which the kids knew) and said it. Then I got them to repeat it. Then I switched to the pencils and repeated.

    The kids saw the word, saw the item, and heard it spoken. Then they did their best to mimic my sound.

    When we got that pretty much down, I started in on colors. I wrote the word yellow, then grabbed all of the yellow pens and pencils, and said "yellow." Then I walked around the room looking for other yellow things. Soon they understood what I meant by "yellow." Then I did other colors until class time was up.

    I tried to stay animated by moving around, writing, pointing, holding things up, and so on.

    At the end of a couple of days I still had time to do a short sentence. "This is a pencil." "This is a pen." "This is red." "This is yellow."

    In short, I think you can do it. Just be creative and animated. I've never had any training and I made quite a bit of progress in a couple of sessions.

    Real teachers may eat my lunch here, and I'm open to learn anything, but I had a really good time.

  7. #7
    Member WilliamBlake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    All they want from me is to spend time playing around and speaking english with them.
    Repetition is your friend. Get them learning a few phrases like you did when you started learning Thai. e.g. "Hello. How are you? What's your name? Have you had lunch yet? What did you have? I had rice. I have to go now, bye."

    Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

  8. #8
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    flash cards.

  9. #9
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    See and say method.....especially for the younger set.

    They absorb and remember readily.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Cheers for your thoughts fellas. Haven't seen them in a few months, start up again next wednesday. Looking forward to it!

  11. #11
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    Most of the methods above seem to relay on the 'teacher as font of all knowledge' method, which may well be the only possible way. However, I'd be trying to get some sort of group learning and/or inquiry going.

    Flash cards sounds good, why not try gettting them going on a few small games of snap, except they have to say the name on the card first?

    Or have groups create flash cards for the other groups, make it a game, they win points for words they can sang in English that the others cannot.

    Have you tried Dave's ESL cafe? I reckon that'd have a 1,000 ideas for you.
    Last edited by kingwilly; 25-06-2013 at 08:43 PM.

  12. #12
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    "I'm technically just looking after a bunch of kids."

    That's what I did as a teacher. I guess it's a normal government school.

    Fifty minutes a week with classes over 35 students won't get anyone far. The best classes ( the smaller classes of mostly rich kids) often get twice as much time as the rest. If you know Thai schools well you can only conclude that the government of Thailand doesn't care about students and is willing to sacrifice most all the poor kids so long as the children of civil servants and the wealthy get better education.

    If you don't actually present any language to them then there's not much to it. Just use simple language and try to get them to use what they know. Be fun and funny. Ask names and ages. Speak slowly and repeat yourself. Pronounce things clearly if you have a strong accent. Make friends. Talk to the teachers. They probably need your help most. If they can improve their English (and get off their asses to use in many cases), all the students will benefit.

  13. #13
    The Pikey Hunter
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamBlake
    Repetition is your friend.
    Works with my parrot, but then it is rather more intelligent than the average local.

  14. #14
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  15. #15
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    4 to 8 year olds.

    I missed the level. False beginners?

    Some games may work well.

    Snap!

    Tic tac toe.

    Heart, Gun, Bomb

    Tyhoon

    Songs are great.

    Vocab categories.

    Flash cards, color photos

    Competition (games and team above).

    Young Learners absorb L2 quite well.

    Google and you tube "esl games."

    I am not all about games, but it involves kinesthetic learning and Sanook.
    ............

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat Jesus Jones's Avatar
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    Depending on their age, be a character and not a teacher.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus Jones
    Depending on their age, be a character and not a teacher.
    That's pretty much what's been asked of me (from the Thai overlords) ... since it's not officially a teaching role. They just want me to play with them and speak english. The feedback (and common sense) suggest that's the best way to teach them anyway.

    Are there any bad practises I should be avoiding? I'd hate to mess these kids up and scare them for life.

  18. #18
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    Movement.

    A combination of stirrers and settlers at all times.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly View Post
    Most of the methods above seem to relay on the 'teacher as font of all knowledge' method, which may well be the only possible way. However,I'd be trying to get some sort of group learning and/or inquiry going.

    Flash cards sounds good, why not try gettting them going on a few small games of snap, except they have to say the name on the card first?

    Or have groups create flash cards for the other groups, make it a game, they win points for words they can sang in English that the others cannot.

    Have you tried Dave's ESL cafe? I reckon that'd have a 1,000 ideas for you.
    All good ideas.

    If Ts are concerned about the amount of L1 in class, this can be easily rectified by a points system that can be extended to include all sorts of bonuses/forfeits.

    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamBlake View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    All they want from me is to spend time playing around and speaking english with them.
    Repetition is your friend. Get them learning a few phrases like you did when you started learning Thai. e.g. "Hello. How are you? What's your name? Have you had lunch yet? What did you have? I had rice. I have to go now, bye."

    Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
    Repetition is the key with any level. Do you think YLs will be happy to sit there chanting/repeating dialogues again and again though? You're gonna need to shake that up a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Balance View Post
    "

    If you don't actually present any language to them then there's not much to it. Just use simple language and try to get them to use what they know. Be fun and funny. Ask names and ages. Speak slowly and repeat yourself. Pronounce things clearly if you have a strong accent. Make friends. Talk to the teachers. They probably need your help most. t.
    How can they improve if you're not presenting any new language?

    Loads of websites out there to help teachers with virtually any area of teaching, but make sure you've got the students active.
    Last edited by hallelujah; 04-09-2015 at 12:48 PM.

  19. #19
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    Ensure you are using flash cards, charts, and make the discussion very lively so kids can relate. Also, encourage them not to speak their native language so you can gauge their speaking skills.

  20. #20
    Member Door Knob's Avatar
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    There are a few sources on YouTube. Just type 'how to teach English'.




  • #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baanguru View Post
    Ensure you are using flash cards, charts, and make the discussion very lively so kids can relate. Also, encourage them not to speak their native language so you can gauge their speaking skills.
    remember about games and warm ups

  • #22
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    Welcome to TD klikakli.

    Where do you come from?
    What do you do?

    We're pleased to greet you.
    Embrace you into our community.

    Welcome.

  • #23
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    Repeat,repeat. repeat, and keep it interesting and fun

    Never seen an English only classes be fun or productive. I'm taking language classes now, alot of information is shared between us students in our native languages. If I wasn't allowed to use my English I would have quit a long time ago.

    A high level course for adults or older students that sign up for an "Only English class' could work. Even then you can't be a nazi about it.
    fred

  • #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999 View Post
    I've been illegally volunteering in Lamphun for the last 6 months. Just a session or 2 a week, outside school hours, but arranged by the school. I was approached, via mrs 9, by government employees and asked if I was interested. It's a local school in the same community I live and do business.

    There is apparently a wealth of english teaching know how amongst the TD crew, and I'd be interested to hear how those that do this for a living approach it.

    I wouldn't accept the job if I was not going to take it seriously. But I have no real qualifications. Whether or not that is important is up for debate, and can be debated elsewhere. What I'm interested in are the theories and concepts behind teaching English to young (4 - 8 year old) kids. I have a little experience and some thoughts of my own. Would like to hear yours.

    2 - English only, no Thai


    I am aware of what lies behind such edicts the
    "immersive" (I'll call it immersive as I don't know the actual terminology) approach to learning a childwashed ashore the only surrviving hand of an Arab slaver's ship will learn and achieve native like fluency with seamingly no academic study.

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