English Tutoring For Kids: 7 Tricks To Make English Learning More Fun And Engaging

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Mathematics isn’t the only subject dreaded by students. Mastering English can also be challenging for kids, non-native speakers, and most of all, kids who are non-native speakers of the language. Explaining grammar or syntax rules can be confusing for younger minds who don’t use the language on a daily basis.

With this, educators must use techniques that can help the students find interest in the subject matter so they can understand them better. And we’re sure that traditional, long lectures that are boring enough to make them yawn aren’t the best way to get their attention.

If you’re an English tutor, teacher, or parent trying out homeschooling, you could use some of these tricks to make English learning more exciting for kids.

1. Project your voice 

I’ve had an English teacher back in primary school who spoke so softly and lifelessly we couldn’t understand a thing. Just think about those calming podcasts intended to make you fall asleep. It was an afternoon class after lunch, and as expected, we could barely keep our eyes open throughout her lecture.

Especially in today’s virtual learning and socially-distanced setup due to the pandemic, projecting your voice is necessary to maintain connection and interest. Online English tutors need to be as lively as possible and speak loudly, and fluently to get their message across the screen and/or across the largely-spaced room.

Aside from having an energetic tone, you need to monitor your body language. Exaggerate your facial expressions and other gestures a little to keep the positive energy going.

2. Use fun visual aids

When it comes to visual aids, we can all agree that kids these days are much luckier than us, older generations. No need to have cut-outs from magazines and Cartolina papers, or use a mass-produced chart. We’re fortunate enough to use digital images and videos to make English learning more fun and easier to comprehend.

Use pictures, videos, and slideshows in your lectures and quizzes. You can also bring interactive flashcards, toys, indoor game materials, and even art to make your discussions more engaging.

3. Balance written lectures with games and other interactive activities

Long lectures might be okay if you’re teaching history to grown-up students. But if you’re teaching language to children, especially non-native speakers, they might experience poor lecture comprehension. That said, it’s advisable to combine short lectures with more interactive, hands-on training.

And what’s the best way to shake things up? Games, of course.

Here are a few games that require little to zero preparation:

  • Simon Says: A game that’s perfect for practicing listening skills. You can use it for teaching body parts (“Simon says touch your nose”) or prepositions (“Simon says put your palm on your desk”)
  • Mother May I: Here, students can use various adjectives to describe the types of steps they’d like to take as they race to the other side.
  • Memory: This game is perfect for enhancing kids’ vocabulary. You may try putting a vocabulary word on one card and an image showing the word on another. You can also put synonyms and antonyms on two different cards. Lay those cards and have your students remember where their matches are.
  • Animal figures and toys: Get play-sized items that represent those found in the real world, like small cars, animals, dollhouse furniture, etc. Collect the animal figures that show up in a book your class is reading (the characters in “The Lion King” for instance) and let students retell the story using those figures.
  • Mystery items: Put items in a brown bag and let students reach into the bag and describe what they’re touching without looking. You can also tap into other senses and allow the students to describe the mystery item based on what they hear, smell, and taste.
  • Jenga discussion: Write each question on a Jenga block and have them answer the question on the block they pulled.

4. Incorporate audio lessons and music

Some folks learn best when audio materials are involved. You can use music, inspiring talks, music videos, movies, and other auditory or audiovisual learning materials to bring English content to life. You may ask students to listen to audio or audiovisual content and set homework and tasks based on the perceived media,

Another way to incorporate music is through the use of musical instruments like rhythm sticks. When reviewing vocabulary, you may pass out the rhythm sticks and let them tap out the words in sentences, syllables in words, and rhymes.

5. Take your class outside

Learning shouldn’t be limited to the four walls of the classroom. When given the chance, take your lectures outside. You’ll be surprised at what they can learn in the great outdoors. You may try activities like a scavenger hunt, treasure hunt, and games where they need to answer a question before moving on to the next station until they reach a finish line.

6. Encourage peer collaboration

Whether it’s for casual games or academic activities, it’s necessary to include group works that foster social interaction and teamwork. If you’re teaching in-person, you may rearrange your students’ seats so they can get a different inspirational view from time to time. It also allows them to sit next to a student from a different culture, encouraging cross-cultural peer collaboration. You may also distribute non-native speakers in groups with native English speakers.

7. Change things up

Be creative with your plans. Kill the monotony by planning unexpected things from time to time. You may invite guest speakers, bring an interesting real-life object in class, give surprise quizzes, and rotate exercises from physical textbooks and online resources.

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a daytime writer for Inflow Education Tutoring Sydney, a tutoring organization in Sydney, specializing in Math and English Tutoring. She enjoys writing practical tips on education, parenting, family, and relationships. 

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