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Teaching English to Young Learners

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move from topic to task. how to utilize the topic. the topic provide the inspiration for variety of task. task is structured activity involving learners in some form.

communicative task: for the purpose of fluency. a piece of classroom work to scaffold comprehension of the foreign language. Learners attention is principally focused on meaning rather than form. it resembles activities with learners everyday life activities.

enabling task (objective : accuracy through focus on form). it is a language- oriented activity designed to provide students with necessary linguistics tools to carry out a communication task. the reason is that because young learners do not normally have that prior knowledge.

TBL (Talk of task based). many teacher quaite reluctant to accept TBL on its own is the only way to go (Nunan)

big books are important. just reading it is not enough. there has to be focus on sight vocabulary. that make learners understand the words. word attack skill (repeating, going back to previous sentences, relating word different subject.

Taking a learning-centered perspective

Teaching young learners is not the same as adult. Children are not afraid of making mistakes. They are more enthusiastic to learn new things, even though they also “loose interest easily and less able to keep themselves motivated on tasks they find difficult” (Cameron, 2001:1).

It is important to know the psychological and social development of young learners to give them successful learning experience. However, undeniable the scaffolding is crucial for children, but it should be kept in mind that good scaffolding is tuned on what child need and adjust as a child more competence. Good teaching does not mean always be ready to come to next text book unit or finish a unit in time as curriculum stated for it, or worst considering effective teaching and scaffolding based on the interest of the teachers themselves.

Piaget and Vygotsky are two psychologists whose ideas influence teaching widely. Piaget considers children as active learner. This is because Piaget sees children can function in the world that surround them,and sees how the world influences their mental development. A child’s thinking develops as gradual growth of knowledge and intellectual skills towards a final stage of formal, logical thinking. It means that the child’s action and knowledge adapt to the new possibility and something new is created.  The development  through activity can be in form of assimilation or accommodation. Assimilation happens when action takes place without any change to the child; accommodation involves the child adjusting to features of the environment in some way. This dimension of children’s lives seems to neglect the social. The world of their own that concerns Piaget rather than the child in communication with adult and other children.

The implication of Piagetian to language learning in the point of ‘the child as sense-maker’.  Since the child is an active learner and thinker, constructing his or her own knowledge from working with objects or ideas, it infers that children are actively try to make sense of the world. The environment provides the setting for development through the opportunities it offers the child for action. Transferring this idea to the abstract world of learning and ideas, we can think of classroom and classroom activities as creating and offering opportunities to learners for learning. This view coincides with ‘ecological’ thinking that sees events and activities as offering affordance or opportunities for use and interaction that depend on who is involved (Gibson, 1979).

On the other side, Vygotsky considers children as social. They produce what so called private speech, inner speech and social speech.  That’s why the development is called sociocultural theory. Underlying Vygotskyan theory is the central observation that development and learning take place in a social context; on in other words, the world full of other people, who interact with the child from birth onwards. With the help of adults children can do and understand much more than they can on their own. This will create a shift from thinking aloud and talking aloud through what is being done, to thinking inside the head, is called internalization.

The implication of Vygotskyan theory for language learning is putting the ‘words’ as unit and ‘meaning’  to a new language. By maximize the ZPD children can transform and internalize  the language skill.


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