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7 Ways To Teach English To Young Learners

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While teaching English to children can be rewarding, it also has its challenges. Young learners tend to have short attention spans (or none at all) – that’s normal. Though, you don’t have to succumb to these challenges. Just take a deep breath, and take things slow and easy. Just like how you’ve learned English in your early school days, the same is true for ESL learners.

Here are 7 tips for teaching English to young children:

Have Spontaneous And Consistent Conversation During Lessons

“Kick off every class with expected questions, so that students can be familiar with the correct responses,” says Terry Vega, an educator at Writemyx and 1day2write. “This repetition of natural dialogue can get them to think about what they’ll say long before the class starts. And, it introduces them to everyday vocabulary that’s relevant to their own lives and interests.”

Side conversations can also help students get to know the vocabulary. Ask casual questions like:

  • How was lunch?
  • How was the game last night?
  • How are you doing today?

2. Memorize Grammar Rules With Mnemonics

A popular mnemonic device to consider is “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” or PEMDAS. This helps students recall the order of operations in math. So, when teaching English to children, memory aids like PEMDAS make it easier to remember hard-to-spell words or complex grammar points.

You can implement mnemonic devices by:

  • Creating a mnemonic device in students’ native languages, AND OR
  • Breaking a mnemonic down into simpler English words

3. Play Fun Games

What child doesn’t like to play games? In fact, ESL education would be nothing without games, since they open doors to effective teaching methods for young learners. In other words, kids are able to learn English vocabulary without realizing it.

Some ideal games include:

  • Hangman
  • 20 Questions
  • I Spy
  • Simon Says

4. Role Play

Want to take vocabulary a step further? Then look to role playing! Role playing is like taking a theater class. In this case, you’ll transform your classroom into a theater class with an ESL twist.

Now, when establishing roles, make them friendly and easy for students to understand. Avoid complicated or intimidating roles like a police officer or elderly neighbor.

Also, have fun with props and costumes to give your role playing more pizzazz. By doing so, you’re more likely to gain your students’ attention, and then they can role play with you too. By stepping into character, not only will students present a dialogue based on what they’ve learned so far, but they’ll also learn from the entire experience and gain future inspiration from it.

5. Have Repetitive Lessons

As students complete a lesson, understand that that lesson is never over. In fact, students must be able to utilize what they’ve learned in the world.

Therefore, repetition is essential for ESL learners. Since young children won’t retain as much information as adults, repetition should be considered. This not only preps them for future quizzes, but it also helps them use vocabulary and grammar points all together rather than depend on the same example sentences and templates they’ve learned from isolated lessons.

6. Go Outside

“With the right attitude and tools, you may be able to take your students outside to learn English in the ‘big world,’” says Georgine Sherwood, a teacher at Origin writings and Brit student. “Whether it’s a field trip, or just a simple stroll, the change in scenery paves the way for new situations and new vocabulary opportunities in their natural habitat.”

7. Use Creative Visuals

Finally, creativity is key when teaching English to young children. And, what better way to get creative is there than through visuals. Visual devices put a face to things, while having students absorb what the new words they’re learning will look like.

Here are some visuals that you can use:

  • Highlighting
  • Underlining, AND
  • Circling

Such visuals are used to recall snippets of information. Plus visual diagrams can help learners identify vocabularies, while making said vocabulary more easy to locate by looking at distinct colors and illustrations among a sea of folders filled with papers.


Just because language is abstract, and children learners can be complexed human beings, doesn’t mean that you should struggle when teaching them ESL. But don’t worry! As you implement all 7 tips above, not only will your students succeed in learning ESL, but also have you teach ESL effectively and fun.  So, go ahead and teach!

Kendra Beckley is a writer and editor at Write my assignment and Custom coursework. She is also a contributing writer for Phd kingdom. As a business analyst, she helps companies enter a new market and build long-term relationships with partners.

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