Tutoring Information: Young Learners
The type of activities and topics that I use teaching young learners varies a lot. The approach depends on many factors, particularly the age of the child, their English problems, the way that the child likes to learn and the wishes of the parents.
It is very important that the child is happy and motivated by the lessons. A happy child is much more likely to learn than a bored one, and to motivate them it is important to use methods such as games where they can use English for real communication and have a real motivation to understand English. Children (particularly younger ones) do not learn languages through learning rules but through experience and they must be involved in the lessons in an active way.
One way to involve young learners is to involve them in creating something they are interested in. Putting together a project that can be displayed on the Internet can be a motivating activity. You can see some possible types of activity in the work that I did together with my stepson Ben while he was away from school because of the SARS outbreak in 2003. Click here to see some of the things we did together. Work with your child would be focused on his or her needs and interests. I particularly like the game (click here to see it) that focuses on the words that Ben had difficulty spelling as he can learn and have some fun. Your child could have the same chance.
Reading is very important to help young learners with their grammar and vocabulary and I try to work out a reading programme (or for younger learners a "being read to" programme) for all the children I have taught. I have a selection of graded reading books that I can use with the lessons.
What about school work?
Progress at school is obviously important. I am able to analyse your child's problems and the work that they are doing at school in order to integrate my lessons with their school work. However, as I am often seeing a child for a limited time each week and as the programme of study at school often goes too fast for the child, it is not usually possible to "do" everything that the school is trying to cover.
I will help with homework and help children to learn the material they need for school tests but, although I am happy to negotiate the content of the lessons with the parents, for me to best help the child there must be time for other activities.
It must be remembered that learning English is a long term process and the tests at school are unfortunately not usually a very good way of assessing progress. Children need to be interested in using the language or they will never do well in it.
Am I right for you?
I hope that you have gained some understanding of my teaching philosophy and methods from what I have written above. My approach is flexible but based on well researched teaching principles. I've had a lot of success with these types of methods and have a lot of experience on which to base them, but I know that this "holistic" fun approach is different from some other tutors' approaches. If you want your child to begin enjoying English, I look forward to meeting you and working with you.