When students don’t understand instructions:
One of the biggest challenges of teaching elementary students lies in setting up activities. As students know barely any English, giving instructions becomes a difficult task! When planning it’s important to plan what you need to say and how you’ll say it. You’ll need to anticipate what vocabulary your students don’t know and what grammar structures they can use/understand – after all there’s no point in using the present perfect, if they don’t even understand the past simple! You may find you need to pre-teach some vocabulary before you begin. First lessons are a great opportunity to teach instructional language ‘turn to page ___’, ‘work in pairs’ ,‘spell_____’ etc.
It’s a good idea to demonstrate activities with one pair/group first(choose strong students to do this).Also getting the students to repeat directions back to you is a good way of checking students’ understanding
One of the best ways to assess what your students need and what they understand is by walking around the classroom and listening to your students.
Teacher talk time:
Think of ways to reduce teacher talk time and increase student talk time! Students learn from doing.
How to stop students from speaking their own language:
At an elementary level, students will of course need to use some of their own language in the classroom in general. Students may need to discuss their comprehension of grammar,vocabulary and instructions together and this will be helpful to them as they process their understanding of English.However, in controlled practice activities and freer practice activities, students should be using only English. You will therefore need to make it clear to students that in these activities they must only use English. It is a good idea here to implement the points systemwhereby students can lose points for their team if they don’t use English (you could appoint some monitors to help you catch naughty students out!). (more…)