It takes a lot of care and ingenuity to prepare children’s sponge minds to absorb the delights of English. If you’ve ever taken language classes as a youngster and as an adult, you know how different the lessons may be. It’s a completely different ballgame knowing how to teach English to young learners.

By its very nature, language is abstract and immaterial. In contrast to this, young learners are highly literal and concrete. This makes it difficult to teach children grammar or syntax rules. How do you teach a six year old about the conditional tense?

But don’t worry. Your students will succeed if you know these fundamental tactics for teaching English to children. Even if they are unable to define a first conditional. You should always remember to make the lesson fun such as playing games and including art, make it active to hold the children’s attention, and never put too much pressure on them (you remember that one teacher that ruined a certain subject for you, right?). 

Teaching English in Thailand with 5 most effective TEFL teaching methods

5 Effective TEFL Teaching Methods for Young Learners

With these 5 most effective methods, you can be assured that your classroom will be the one the students look forward to everyday! These are focused on kindergarten or preschool age, but they can definitely be adapted for a lot older.

>> Checkout: Accredited TEFL Teaching English Course for Young Learners

TEFL Teaching Method 1: Break up tedious lessons with games

Let’s face it. Sometimes lessons, any lessons, can be boring. Even if you love a subject, there will be classes that you just don’t want to do. Whether you like Math, but hate trigonometry or love History, but could do without the post-war / modern era. English is the same for children. We may not consider this, because we learned English naturally in our upbringing, but trust us, there are parts of the English language that some young learners may not be too enthused to learn. 

If you are writing a lesson plan and find it difficult to get through, chances are your students will feel the same. The best option is definitely to make the lesson more fun! The most effective way is to add activities and make it into a game. Get the children moving around the classroom. Make it into a competition with prizes such as stars. Use a game that is universally known. 

Play Hangman and use the category title for a certain tense. There are a lot of tenses in the English language and for non-native English speakers, it can be hard to wrap your head around. Playing hangman with the tenses can be a fun and effective way for the students to really think about which is which, rather than learning by memory. Understanding the tenses will also help with those annoying irregulars that will always pop up! 

5 most effective TEFL teaching methods for young learners

TEFL Teaching Method 2: Create a routine

As we all know, children need structure in their lives. This is also true in the classroom. Creating a routine means that your students know what they are going to be doing each day. Routines have lots of proven benefits, such as memory enhancement and good behaviour. 

The timing of the classroom is done for you by your principal or class manager. However, after this you are normally left to your own devices. Once you have created a class routine, you’ll see a huge improvement in your students’ learning, as well as their behaviour, making your teaching experience and classroom management a lot more enjoyable too!  

TEFL Teaching Method 3: Repeat your lessons in later classes 

Repetition. This is the most important method to include in your lesson plans. Children’s brains are like sponges and they will pick up new information a lot faster than adults. But this does not mean that this method can be ignored. 

We would also suggest repeating at different times throughout the curriculum. First, start each class by going over vocabulary from the previous lesson. Short-term repetition is a great way to get the students to listen and engage each class as they know these questions will be asked. Every few weeks, also hold revision classes where you’ll go over everything learned since that last revision class. This can be done through pop quizzes or a 20 questions type game. The method you choose will be based on the age of your students. For kindergarten age, we suggest the latter option for a bit more fun. 

TEFL Teaching Method 4: Turn lessons into songs or mnemonic rhymes

Do you ever think how you can remember the whole lyrics to a song from your childhood that you haven’t heard in years, yet trying to think of the dates of a certain period in history or that formula for algebra is just near to impossible? This is because songs provide a rhythm and rhyme and sometimes alliteration which helps to unlock that information with cues. We know that most of us still sing the alphabet song from time to time – let’s not lie to ourselves, it happens! 

A useful mnemonic for all levels of English learners is “-i before -e, except after c”. Although of course, we have exceptions to the rule, and exceptions to most rhymes and generalizations, it does work for 95% of spelling. 

Besides the obvious memory benefits that songs and rhymes give students, this can also be a nice method to spice things up and create a fun and energetic learning environment, grabbing the attention of young learners. 

Rhymes - effective TEFL teaching methods for young learners

TEFL Teaching Method 5: Adapt lessons to real life and get out of the classroom

If you’re just starting out with your TEFL teaching journey, sending students outside the classroom walls and into the vast, wide world may seem like a disaster waiting to happen. Take the kids for a walk if you’re teaching English to young learners in person and have permission to do so. The shift of landscape creates a whole new set of scenarios in which to practice new terminology in its natural setting. Learning a new language can be easier when you apply your new vocabulary to the real world. This is also a good idea when practising the repetition method and you can use field trips for the revision classes. 

If the school doesn’t allow field trips, don’t worry! You can also apply this method by creating role playing scenarios in the classroom. This can be just as effective. It can be simple to create a shopping mall in your classroom, and set a student up as a cashier and have other children buy things and ask for certain products.

Also Read >> TEFL Teaching in 2022, Online Edition


What is the best way to teach online?

Teaching online and teaching young learners can be hard as it’s normally one-on-one and the benefits of the classroom such as group activities and props cannot be implemented. There are different ways that the methods can be used in an online environment. You can still use song and rhyme, schedule repetition classes and use some online games by using PowerPoint and flash cards.  

Also Read >> Things to consider when travelling and teaching online

How can I teach English to non-English speaking children?

There are many ways that you can teach English to young learners, such as teaching English through games and fun learning. As long as you can make it fun, make it active and not put too much pressure on the children, then you are sure to excel in your career. 

How can I teach English creatively?

Teaching a classroom can be standard, following the curriculum and hitting all the marks you are supposed to. However, creating a unique lesson plan to make your classes effective is a whole other ballgame. Not adhering to the archaic teaching methods and pushing boundaries is the new way of teaching. There are also lots of different teacher forums and communities where teachers swap lesson plans and ideas. These can really help you teach English through fun classroom games. 

What are the five methods of teaching?

There are many sources and methodologies to follow when preparing your lessons for young learners. And comes with it is a lot of research. We have broken down what we feel are the best methods to go by. We have done the research for you and taken the experience of our own qualified team. 

Method #1. Break up tedious lessons with games 
Method #2. Create a routine
Method #3. Repeat your lessons in later classes
Method #4. Turn lessons into songs or mnemonic rhymes
Method #5. Adapt lessons to real life and get out of the classroom

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