The observation of what children do during lessons, their activities and interests is important. It helps the teacher to make sure their learners are progressing in their language learning. The teacher needs "eagle eyes" to watch how each child is attending, understanding and participating. But children are not just learners; they are daughters or sons, brothers or sisters, with their own personalities and interests. The teacher needs all information about his pupils. All this information can then be used by the teacher to meet the learning needs of the child.
We can help children want to use English in the classroom. Children will automatically use their first language because it is easier for them, and because it feels natural. Using English or another foreign language will not feel natural but we can encourage use of foreign language by providing both the language and the need to use it. The teacher also needs to remind children about speaking English because they may forget in the excitement of doing activities and switch back into the first language.
Children love to learn something new about their world. Even though their world may not stretch far beyond their daily life, there are things to explore that will engage their attention. Learning a language is enhanced when teachers bring the child`s world into language lesson because children are eager to know about their world. Activities where children revise or develop concepts from their other lesson (for example, from geography, science) are often called content-based activities.
Over time, different activities or games on the same topic help to reinforce both the language and the concepts. For example, natural sciences content-based activities might include a chart listing the features of selected animals; a report about what the animal eat; and reading a story about an animal. And for this I have some games and activities.
For example, you can either use your own voice or a recording but choose a situation where there is expression in the speaker`s voice, such as surprise or happiness. The idea is that the children repeat the sentences they hear, matching the natural speed and intonation. You can tell children that for two minutes.
They are going to be like parrots, copying everything you say and the way that you say it. Let the children imitate you phrase by phrase following your voice very closely. Try to make this as fast as natural speech and use natural intonation, so that it is more like "shadowing" than like choral repetition. The children will probably exaggerate but that is fine; it is about them becoming aware of the rhythms and intonations of English or another foreign language.
Another way of encouraging children to speak English is to create a situation in which they want to tell you something. An example of this is "Find the butterfly".
In order to do this activity you should cut out a butterfly from coloured paper. Each day, before the children come into the room, stick the butterfly in a different place. The children have to find where the butterfly has landed. You will need to ask some questions:
- Where is the butterfly?
- Is it under the cupboard?
- Is it on the table.
The children will enjoy the challenge of looking for the butterfly and the activity will give them reason to practice and improve prepositions and classroom furniture vocabulary in foreign language. If you want to help your learners with vocabulary, you could stick labels on parts of the room and on classroom furniture for them to see.
Moreover, here is one, in hopes it inspires you to think of the things that activities or games have in common circle drill:
- Students work in groups: ten or twelve is a good number;
- The first person says a sentence. The second repeats and adds another. The nomination of the next speaker belongs to the students. I usually bring a ball or a wadded-up ball of newspaper. The speaker throws the ball to the next speaker;
- This works with almost any structure. Here is an example using frequency adverbs: I am Ulug`bek and I always go shopping on Sundays. He is Ulug`bek and he always goes shopping on Sundays. I am Lola and I never eat fish.
- This can be a whole — class activity;
- Students write information about themselves on slips of paper. The teacher collects the slips and redistributes them. Students try to find someone for whom that is true. It does not have to be the original writer;
- To get started, dictate four stem sentences like I enjoy — ing, I want — to. Again many structures can be used.
As students find someone who, they go on to another slip of paper. You can either give out all four at once, and the winner is the one who gets rid of all four first, or you can simply ask the students to come and get a new slip each time one is needed, and award one point for each.
I have to say that focused observations of the child`s level of participations and emotional well — being help teachers to attend to the child`s emotional and attitudinal needs, and parent interviews help teachers to understand each child`s experiences, interests and attitudes. And these things help to teacher to teach their students easily.