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7 Principles for Kid-focused ESL Classes

7 Principles for Kid-focused ESL Classes
Admin - Dec 12 2015

Young students are generally curious and cooperative and as such, represent one of the best learner groups any ESL or TEFL educator would want to teach. However, curiosity can also divert kids away from focusing on lessons and their level of cooperation easily erodes when they are bored or disinterested.

Here are seven principles that should help teachers draw out the natural tendencies of kids to explore their environment and cooperate in a social group.

  1. Establish fair and consistent classroom rules. From the start, teachers should make the rules clear and strictly enforce them in order to instill discipline and order in the classroom dynamic. Be sure to formulate rules that are fair to teachers, parents and students in any given scenario and ensure their clear implementation once they have been set and explained.
  2. Create and maintain personal connections with your students. Use your students name and encourage students to know every one in the class to prevent introverted students from feeling left out. Use your students names while teaching different concepts and remember to adequately praise correct answers or conscious efforts.
  3. Establish your authority gently by demonstrating your knowledge of the subject matter while also drawing out trust by showing that you care about how your students feel, what they believe in, what excites them and how they are cognitively progressing in each lesson. However, delineate your role as teacher clearly by not acting like a parent. Be a fountain of useful information and guidance, not someone who always acts like a mother hen.
  4. Adopt and develop well-designed lesson plans that elicit a sense of balance, purpose and security among young learners.
  5. Use clear gestures of approval and clearly communicate disapproval as the need arises. Whenever possible, use eye contact to express praise, correction or chastisement. Show a pleasant approval when young learners take the initiative to explore lesson concepts further or when students participate well in class dynamics such as recitation, group works or discussions.
  6. Genuinely respect your students and show this clearly by listening to what they say (or do not say).
  7. Use English in building up your young students’ self-esteem in order for them to associate the language with positive emotions. This will likely drive them to learn English more.


Teaching kids a new language is one of the best experiences any educator can dream of, given young learners’ natural curiosity and the ease with which they can grasp and adopt linguistic concepts. Drawing out these innate traits will not only improve how ESL and TEFL educators conduct classes but also upscale the linguistic aptitude of students.

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