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How to Build Listening and Speaking Skills in Young Learners

How to Build Listening and Speaking Skills in Young Learners
Admin - Dec 03 2015

Teachers should remember that in teaching young learners, the students come with varied abilities, expectations and preferred learning dynamics. Teachers need to vary their approaches and offer as much opportunities for the class to grow and develop.

Young learners soak up knowledge like sponges. When they start learning a second language, children will often pick up everything a teacher says. It is important to have clear and correct pronunciation since young learners will often repeat everything they hear. Although repetition of phrases doesn’t mean that children are learning the language, it is still an important aspect of the learning process. Repetition prepares children for more meaningful conversation and it helps them get used to English. Repeating certain phrases also gives children the chance to practice the intonation pattern and boosts their confidence especially if the teacher praises them adequately for.

Nurturing Learners’ Listening Skills

Developing listening skills should include the use of a variety of listening activities. These activities should aim at fostering certain microskills such as short-term memory retention, recognition of English stress patterns, and the awareness of grammatical word classes, patterns and rules. Activities that support the development of these microskills include songs, charts, role playing and drama. These activities give learners the real world context that make language useful. Teachers should pick listening activities that are appropriate for the age of the learners.

listening-activitiesListening strategies can be developed by asking young learners to guess the context and reinforcing their listening comprehension through the use of visual aids and facial expressions. Using real life context that are of interest to the learner can make the lesson more effective. Songs are a great teaching tool since they give examples of everyday language and present the opportunity for meaningful repetition.


Speaking out

Teaching speaking skills to young children is relatively easier since kids are natural chatterboxes. They love to talk and look for chances to communicate meaningfully. Teachers should find the right balance between controlled activities and letting children talk naturally in the classroom. Teachers should take care that children talk accurately and correct their linguistic errors. However, no correction should be done when children are talking in free speaking activities. These types of activities help children achieve fluency and develop communicative competence.

talkYoung learners should get as many speaking and listening opportunities as possible in the classroom. Their speaking time should steadily increase as the teacher prepares them for various communication situations. Combining different approaches and using various methods and tools should give students plenty of opportunities to take part in communicative situations and help them internalize certain vocabulary terms or grammatical points.

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