English Learning Method for Young Learners
Sri Sunarti, M.Pd
English learning method for young learners is different from that to adults. It needs some methods to comprehend and consider by the teachers in applying the theories of language teaching – learning to young learners and language classroom management. Beside, the ability in teaching English, the teachers should be able to design the materials so that the teaching and learning process become enjoyable and interesting. This article discusses some methods for young learners in English learning.
Keywords: english learning method, young learners, enjoyable, interesting
English is one of the international languages used as means of communication in the international relationship and widely used in all branches of knowledge. In Indonesia, English is one of subjet in the school curriculum which is taught at schools. Based on the fact, it is appropriate that English is included in the local content of school-based curriculum in Elementary schools. Therefore, it is necessary to think system of teaching and learning English to young learners to gain an optimal result. To get it, English teachers in Elementary School should be creative in teaching, design the materials and to suggest what approaches, methods and techniques to be used. They should find the english learning methods for young learners (elementary schools’ students).
In teaching English to young learners, in this case, elementary school’s students, the teachers must comprehend the concept of acquisition and learning. Acquisition can be defined as a process of having language naturally or sub-consciously. On the other hand, learning is a process of having language consciously. In the teaching learning process, the English teachers must know the kinds of language learning resources for young learners, like additional materials for pleasure, learning resources for children must be appropriate for children’s aptitude, will, world and so forth, and there must be a clear distinction between technique and resources. In this article, will discuss some English learning methods for young learners.
- English Learning Method
English is one of subject which is taught in elementary schools. In learning of english, teachers needs to consider some methods to make the situation and condition interesting. Method is a procedure or process for attaining an object or a systematic plan followed in presenting material for instruction or a way, a technique or a process of or for doing something. While, English learning method is a method in english learning to make the teaching and learning process enjoyable and interesting.
- Young Learners
Young learners are supposed to be children from the first year of formal schooling (five or six years old) to eleven or twelve years of age. However, the age of chilren is not crucial for how mature they are. There are many factors that influence children’s maturity such as their culture, their culture, their environment (city or rural), their sex, the expectations of their peers and parents (Phillips, 1993). It means good teacher should be aware of these differences of their circustamces, attitudes, and interest rather than children’s physical age. In general, it is assumed that five to seven year old children are all the the same – beginner level. The eight to ten year olds may also be beginners or they may have been learning the foreign language for some time, so there are both level one and level two pupils in the eight to ten age groups.
Ytreberg mentions some basic characteristics of the young language learners are:
- Understand their perception of reality.
- Accompany children when they work or play
- Use language skills
- Play while learning
- Learn with gestures and body movements
- Give attention
- Use instruction
Philisps assumes that the younger children are the more holistic learners they will be. Younger learners respond to language according to what it does or what they can do with it, rather than treating it as an intellectual game or abstract system. As children grow and mature they bring more intellectual, motor and social skills to the classroom, as well as a wider knowledge of the world. The focus should continue to be on language as a vehicle of communication and not on the grammar, though the ability of older children to make logical links and deductions can be exploited. The teacher can provide such tasks for them in which they can discover simple grammatical rules, their attention can be focused on the structure of the language in order to help them formulate an ‘internal grammar’ of their own.
- English Learning Method for Young Learners
In English learning method, the teachers should know that young learners have some things should be considered. Here are some points to consider in english learning method for young learners:
- The activities should be simple to understand
- The task should be amusing and within children’s abilities
- The task should be stimulating and motivating for learners
- The written activities should be used only in a small amount
- The speaking activities should be prevailled
- The activities should be simple to do
The kinds of activities that work well are games and songs with actions, total physical response activities, tasks that involve colouring, cutting and sticking, simple, repetitive stories and simple, repetitive speaking activities that have an obvious communicative value.
In English learning method, there are some things can be done by english teachers in the class, such as:
- The arrangement of the desks and chairs should be considered. It is important for teachers to make the condition is enjoyable, moveable and changeable. The purpose is to have different classroom atmosphere by changing the arrangement of the desks and chairs so that the students do not get bored by any static situation and condition. The model of the arrangement of desks and chairs is adjusted to the intended purpose and situation to facilitate the teaching learning process. There are several models of arrangement of desks and chairs according to their purposes.
- Grouping the students should be considered to make the students socialize among themselves. In making groups, the students are not allowed to choose the members of their groups themselves because it takes a long time. The clever students are spread into all groups in order that they can help those who are not so clever. The members of each group are three to five students.
- Classroom language can make the students active and communicate each other. While the teachers are communicating with the students, it is necessary to use language chunks, i.e phrases having complete meaning (meaningful phrases) as what has been discussed above. The examples are “I’m sorry”, “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand” (Scott and Ytreberg, 1993).
- Need analysis needs to considered before teaching. It will help teachers make a number of planning decisions, group students, decide strategies, and activities, and capitalize on students’ strength and motivation.
To arrive the intended goal of the teaching and learning of English at elementary school, there are some several factors which need to be considered. Those factors are the english material (the task, the activity), the arrangements of desks and chairs, the grouping of students, classroom language and need analysis. Having knowing that, the teachers could be find the method of English learning which enjoyable and interesting. By this method, young learners (in this case elementary students) are able to understand abstract ideas, understand symbols (beginning with words), generalize and systematize.
Phillips, B, N. 1993. Educational and Psychological Perspectives on Stress in Students, Teachers and Parents. Brandon, VT: Clinical Psychology
Scott, W, A., & Ytreberg, L, H. 1993. Teaching English to Children. Longman.