Everyone tells you that kindergarten English is the most challenging course of your entire teaching career. It’s hard to imagine anything more complicated than teaching five-year-olds, but this is it.
But if that’s true, why should we teach kindergarten at all? The answer is that they need us to. And not just because they need someone to take care of them and show them how to read and write but also because the kindergartners are our future: the English kindergarten professionals that will come in for those jobs in a few years when we retire. What we teach them now will determine – or limit – the type of future they have.
I’m not going to give you a stern lecture on the importance of teaching English in Kindergarten because you should already know that. Instead, I’m going to provide you with some tips on how to teach kindergarten kids good English.
Like any job, knowing what to do and how to do it is often more important than having a lot of natural talent. That’s why I’m going to share the strategies that have worked for me over the years: simple but effective strategies. Whatever mistakes your students make, you can be sure they aren’t making them because they lack intellect or talent.
When you teach English in kindergarten, it’s important not to treat your students like babies. Instead, it would be best if you reminded them that they are able to think and read for themselves already. They might have a hard time with the grammar and some words, but they know what other words mean!
Also, don’t expect them to understand everything you say. There’s no doubt that they know everything you say less than even a high school student. But they will understand things better if you are loud or have a friendly voice. Sometimes they don’t know what you mean, so repeat yourself as often as necessary.
Finally, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all Koreans are stupid. Many aren’t stupid – many are very bright – but only if you speak to them in their native language can you prove this to yourself. You cannot prove this to them by speaking English to them. They know that English is not their native language, so they cannot appreciate what you are trying to convey. Once you have learned enough Korean and are confident in your ability, you can start having some confidence in the students.
It helps to see the kids as grown-ups – not as younger versions of themselves. If you start treating them as adults, you won’t be wasting your time on things that adults don’t need help with. And when adults have something important or difficult to learn, they will be more likely to work hard and stay motivated if adults show interest in helping them.
In conclusion, you are here to learn the secrets of teaching kindergarten English. The secrets are simple, and I’ve told you all of them. Now, go out there and practice these secrets!