Monday, January 23, 2017

Teaching English to Young Learners

Course Title: Teaching English to Young Learners Full marks: 100
Course No: Eng. Ed. 337 (Elective) Pass marks: 35
Nature of the course: Theory Periods per week: 6
Level: B.Ed. Time per period: 55 minutes Year: Third Total periods: 150  

1. Course Description
This is an introductory course on teaching English to young learners and very young learners. The course aims at equipping the students with required skills to deal with challenges of teaching English as foreign language to young and very young learners.  The course begins with the theoretical discussion on teaching young learners, offers practical suggestions on the type of classroom activities suitable for the young children, and provides ample classroom activities that the teachers can use. The course contains eleven units. The first unit deals with the fundamental concepts of teaching young learners whereas units two, three, four, five and six focus on developing language and literacy skills. Likewise, units seven, eight, nine, ten and eleven present the ways of teaching English through stories, theme-based teaching, making language choice, conducting assessment and preparation and use of resources for teaching English to young learners.

2. Course Objectives
The general objectives of the course are as follows:
  • To acquaint the students with the theoretical framework of learning English as a foreign language at young age.
  • To familiarise the students with the ways of how children learn through tasks and activities.
  • To offer the students strategies of teaching spoken language to the young learners.
  • To acquaint the students with the ways of teaching words to young learners.
  • To familiarise the students with the ways of teaching grammar to young learners.
  • To introduce the concept of literacy skills and its development among young learners in a foreign language.
  • To familiarise the students with the techniques of using stories in language classroom.
  • To encourage the students to use thematic approach in teaching English to young learners.
  • To help the students make appropriate choice of language while teaching the young learners.
  • To introduce different types of language assessment techniques.
  • To expose the students to the wide varieties of teaching aids and learning resources for teaching young learners.

3. Specific Objectives and Contents
Specific Objectives
  • Differentiate first and second language, and young and very young learners.
  • Describe theories of learning a foreign language.
  • Explain the attitudes and approaches to teaching young children.
  • Explain teaching sequence in young learners teaching classes.
Unit I: Teaching Young Learners                           (7)
  1. First language vs. second language
    1. Very young learners and young learners
    2. Attitudes and approaches to teaching children
    3. Young learners and foreign language learning
      1. Learning centred perspective
      2. Piaget
      3. Vygotsky
      4. Bruner
      5. Learning and language learning
    4. Starting lessons in a language course
    5. Building up a teaching sequence
  • Develop and design various tasks and activities for young learners.
  • Discuss the importance of tasks for young learners.
  • Introduce the stages of the task in the classroom.
  • Discuss the difference between task-as-plan and task-in-action.
Unit II: Learning Language Through Tasks and Activities                                                    (7)
2.1. Task as an environment for learning
2.2. Task demands and supports
2.3. The importance of language learning goals
2.4. Tasks for young learners’ classrooms
2.5. Stages in classroom tasks
2.6. Task-as-plan and task-in-action
  • Explain the principles of learning spoken language by the young learners.
  • Discuss the notion of discourse and its development in childhood.
  • Explain the easy to support young learnt for discourse development.  
Unit III: Learning the Spoken Language               (7)
3.1. Guiding principles
3.2. Discourse and discourse events
3.3. Discourse skills development in childhood
3.4. Analysis of a task-in-action
3.5. Supporting in the development of children's foreign language discourse skills
  • Explain the vocabulary development in children.
  • Discuss the approaches of teaching and learning of vocabulary.  
  • Discuss vocabulary learning strategies of children.  
Unit IV: Learning Words                                        (15)
4.1. Vocabulary development in children
4.2. Learning and teaching vocabulary
4.3. Children's vocabulary learning strategies
  • Discuss meaning and place of grammar in learning a foreign language by children.
  • Enumerate process of development of internal grammar and learning centred approach to teaching grammar.
  • Discuss the techniques and strategies for supporting grammar learning.
Unit V: Learning Grammar                                     (15)
5.1. Different meanings of grammar
5.2. A place for grammar
5.3. Development of the internal grammar
5.4. Learning centred approach to teaching grammar
5.5. Techniques and strategies for supporting grammar learning
  • Discuss literacy skills in children's language learning.
  • Explain factors affecting learning to read English as a foreign language.
  • Identify strategies to read and write English as foreign language.
  • Explain reading and writing as discourse skills.
Unit VI: Learning Literacy Skills                            (7)
6.1. Literacy skills in English
6.2. Factors affecting learning to read English as a foreign language
6.3. Strategies to read and write in English as foreign language
6.4. Developing reading and writing as discourse skills
  • Describe how stories can be used in children's language learning lessons.
  • Discuss discourse organisation and language use in stories.
  • Choose stories and use them for teaching English.
  • Explain how story telling can be used for comprehension and error correction.  
Unit VII: Learning Through Stories                      (15)
7.1. Stories and themes as holistic approaches to language teaching and learning
7.2. The discourse organisation of stories
7.3. Language use in stories
7.4. Choosing stories to promote language learning
7.5. Ways of using a story and tasks
7.6. Story telling, comprehension, and errors and their correction
  • Discuss issues of theme-based teaching.
  • Plan theme based lessons.
  • Teach English using themes.
Unit VIII: Theme-based Teaching and Learning    (15)
8.1. Issues around theme-based teaching of a foreign language
8.2. Planning theme-based teaching
8.3. Learning language through theme-based teaching
8.4. Increasing target language use in theme-based teaching
  • Describe the choice in child language learning.
  • Explain dynamics and responsibility in choice of language.
Unit IX: Language Choice and Language Learning  (8)
9.1. Patterns of first language use in foreign language classrooms
9.2. Dynamics of language choice and use                   
9.3. Taking responsibility and making choices
  • Discuss issues and principles in assessing children’s language.
  • Design assessment tools to assess the children's language.
  • Explain the teacher and self assessment and discuss the use of assessment.
Unit X: Assessment and Language Learning          (15)
10.1. Issues in assessing children's language learning
10.2. Principals for assessing children's language learning
10.3. Key concepts in assessment
10.4. Teacher assessment in language learning
10.5. Self assessment in learner autonomy
10.6. Use of assessment information
  • Discuss the importance of visual and other aids of teaching young learners.
  • Develop and use activities for children who are learning English as a foreign language.
Unit XI: Teaching Aids and Activities for Teaching English to Young Learners                    (40)
11.1. Visual and other teaching aids
11.2. Classroom language and activities for teaching English to young learners
Note: The figures in the parentheses indicate the approximate periods for the respective units.

4. Instructional Techniques
The instructional techniques for this course are divided into two groups. First group consists of general instructional techniques applicable to most of the units. The second group consists of specific instructional techniques applicable to specific units.

4.1. General Instructional Techniques
  • Lecture and discussion
  • Demonstration
4.2. Specific Instructional Techniques
Units II, III, IV, V, and VI:  Group work, Pair work, Project work and Presentation
Units VII, VIII, IX, and X: Dramatisation, Role play, Storytelling and Discussion techniques
Unit XI: Project work

5. Evaluation

Units Marks
I:  Teaching young learners
II: Learning language through tasks and activities                15
III: Learning the spoken language
IV :  Learning words
V:  Learning grammar             25
VI: Learning literacy skills
VII : Learning through stories
VIII: Theme-based teaching and learning 20
IX: Language choice and language learning             15
X:  Assessment and language learning
XI: Teaching aids and activities for teaching English to young learners        25

This is a theory course. Hence, the learning of the students will be assessed through annual examination held by the Office of Controller of Examinations. The types and number of questions in the annual examination are given in the following table:

Nature of questions
Total questions to be asked
Number of questions to be answered and marks allocated
Total marks
Group A: Multiple choice items
20 x1 mark
Group B: Short answer questions
8 with 3 ‘or’ questions
8 x 7 marks
Group C: Long answer questions
2 with 1 ‘or’ question
2 x 12 marks

6. Recommended Books and References

Recommended Books
Cameron, L. (2008). Teaching languages to young learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ( For units I - X)
McKay, P. & Guse, J. (2008). Five-minute activities for young learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (For unit XI)
Moon, J. (2005). Children learning English: A guidebook for English language teachers. Oxford: Macmillan. (For units I, II, III, VI, VIII, IX, X, and XI)
Slattery, M. & Willis, J. (2001). English for primary teachers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (For units I and  XI)
Vale, D. & Feunteun, A. (1996). Teaching children English. Cambridge: CUP. (For units I, VII, X and XI )

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