Teaching EFL in a KindergartenTeaching EFL in a kindergarten – the thought strikes fear in some people and in others (such as myself) it screams life, fun, energy, excitement, games, joy and a rewarding job!
In the following essay, I will draw on my personal work experience to argue the pros and cons of ‘Teaching EFL in a Kindergarten.’ Let’s begin by taking a step inside a Korean Kindergarten Hagwon or english academy with monolingual students. Students at a Kindergarten are usually young and lively (energetic), with short attention spans (never been in a classroom setting and/or have never been to school before), and sometimes exhibit poor behavior/s (from either boredom or a diagnosed mental illness or learning disability). Picture 8-12 smiling adorable faces (students age 4-6 years old) sitting at desks (usually too big for them), ready for the day ahead.
Firstly – it’s fun! That is, teachers and students’ should have fun learning everyday. Some fun activities I have experienced when teaching EFL in a Kindergarten are: field trips, festivals and the opportunity to teach english in different contexts (for example, cooking). Thus, teachers are required to draw upon their creative lesson planning skills in order to make learning english fun.
As a teacher I think it is important to acknowledge the different learning styles (i.e. visual, auditory and kinesthetic) of students, however, when teaching very young students I often find the more kinesthetic your lessons are, the better. For example, young children
love to touch things, move around and hear their own voices. Good ways of doing this in the classroom are by singing and chanting (auditory learning style), dancing and games or activities that require physical movement (kinesthetic learning style). This is not to say that the materials used in the activities aren’t eye-catching (visual learning style). Importantly, one of the best things about most young learners’ is that they are usually uninhibited (not self-conscious) when learning at this age and will usually participate in most if not all activities/games if they are well planned and address the different learning styles.
Other knowledge and skills I think teachers need in order to teach EFL in a Kindergarten are: good time and classroom management skills; and a TEFL course. A TEFL course can help teachers know how to teach EFL in a Kindergarten re: receptive skills (reading and listening) and productive skills (speaking and writing); pronunciation and phonics; grammar; educational games/activities; lesson planning; and assessment.
Some cons to the job (of teaching EFL in a Kindergarten) are: long work hours (as a teacher you often have classes after normal Kindergarten classes finish, for example, elementary school age students); picky parents (although depending on what they’re being picky about, it may be something you overlooked as a teacher); it’s a business (at the end of the day, the institute has to turn a profit, so you have to be at your best at all times, which can sometimes be exhausting). Which leads me to my final con of teaching EFL in a Kindergarten – energy, as a teacher you have to approach every class (and sometimes you may have 10 classes a day) like it’s your first, that is, with energy and enthusiasm even if it’s your last class of the day.
So, in my experience I would argue that teaching EFL in a Kindergarten is a very enjoyable job because it’s fun! Also because your students are uninhibited learner’s and thus they learn english as a Foreign Language easily, without worrying about making mistakes.
Lastly, I also think teaching EFL in a Kindergarten (and or any language institute – children or adults), is a great way to see the world (experience different cultures), make a difference in the world (through education), and earn a living, usually all at the same time.