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Using an Activity-Based Curriculum in Teaching Young Learners

Using an Activity-Based Curriculum in Teaching Young Learners
Admin - Nov 15 2015

When formulating a curriculum that is activity-based, it is important to remember the characteristics of young learners. Children tend to be enthusiastic about the learning process and they need physical movements and activity to stimulate their thinking. They usually have short attention spans and are very spontaneous, making the activity approach through games and role-play a highly recommended teaching method.

girl_playing_doctorThe principle behind the activity approach is based on the premise that children will seek to learn a new language because they need it and will remember new terms through repeated usage in realistic or immersive situations. Activity-based learning acknowledges that young children are physical beings that love to use all their senses. This approach aims to teach language and address a child’s linguistic intelligence. Encouraging the learning of English through investigation, creativity or problem solving, the activity-based curriculum places children in scenarios wherein they will likely see a real and immediate purpose to learn a second language.

The activity-based English teaching approach involves the use of tasks or assignments that is enjoyable to the child and can be linked to a particular topic or vocabulary. It uses authentic tasks and situations that children can easily relate to. The teacher should focus on the meaning and form of English but should always remember that the activity is driven by the interest of the child.

An activity or task should focus on three characteristics:

  1. curiosity
  2. collaboration
  3. creativity

Children are capable of longer periods of attention if the task they are assigned is interesting. Curiosity will drive a child to find out how something works or find out the reason behind any activity. Children are in a continual cycle of discovery and they are full of an innate curiosity about the world.

Children are creative. They like to make things and they are far more creative than most would believe. Children also take pride in what they create and they view their creations to be worth it. Teachers should provide young learners with the necessary materials, like glue, cards, strings, and scissors even though it might take time at the end of the day to tidy up. Children should also be allowed to bring home their creations as this will allow young learners to share them with family and friends, using newly-learned vocabulary and language syntax to describe their creations.

Activity-based learning can cater to both the individual and the group. Tasks can be performed by groups and are often collaborative, building both linguistic and social skills.

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