Children have short attention span. This fact makes the first 5 to 10 minutes very crucial. Depending on the schedule of classes, some children may feel tired listening to the teacher. Classes held at night or late afternoon may be counterproductive for both the child and the teacher. In as much as we want to set the class at the time when children are most active, schedule of classes is always dependent on the child’s other activities and parent availability.
Here are 5 tips on how to make a child talk in class.
1. Present a Song and Video
Most children are amazed at videos. Their senses light up upon hearing tunes. Notice that children readily identify a famous jingle just by listening to the first few notes.
Children’s songs are sung more clearly and slower. This enables them to hear exactly how the words should be pronounced.
In teaching pronunciation, showing videos on phonetics and mouth movement will be very helpful. Sound and word retention are best when presented through a song or video.
2. Teach Basic Expressions
You can ask the children to repeat after you. After some repetitions, ask the children to greet their seat mates and classmates.
Saying a simple “hi”, “good morning” and “excuse me” means a lot. Children may not respond immediately but trust that their minds are already processing the information fed. These expressions are high- frequency phrases and the children will always have many occasions to use them. The time will come when you’ll just be surprised at how they use these expressions automatically without you telling them.
3. Find the Child’s Interests
Children, like adults, have various interests. It is, however, difficult to find exactly what an adult is interested in due to some factors like biases and experiences.
Luckily, children have more or less common interests. For instance, 3-,4- and 5-year-olds find interests on music and art, like working at tables and need opportunities to pretend.
You may prepare some role- play cards featuring common professions known to children like teacher, doctor, nurse, shop clerk and a lot more. Group them in pairs of two taking turns in portraying characters. Before this activity, you may first ask them to describe the work of each professional.
As teachers, we could provide more relevant and tailor- fit classroom activities if we are aware of their interests, psychological and social needs.
4. Show Pictures
Indeed, “a picture paints a thousand words”. Ask the children to look at the picture closely. Let them identify some familiar objects in the picture.
For younger learners whose vocabulary is very limited, you may want to name the object in the picture, point your finger to it and let them repeat the new word. Show them another picture that has the same object you previously taught them. By this, we connect their auditory and verbal skills.
If you are showing a photo of children playing at the beach, you may want to talk about their own experience. Most kids would love to share.
5. Ask the Child to Read Aloud
Children may not at all understand what they are reading when they read aloud. Nevertheless, reading aloud is still widely recognized as the single most important activity leading to language development. Reading aloud builds word-sound awareness which is very important in achieving reading success.
You may ask the child to repeat reading some keywords that you want to emphasize. It is imperative to point out the meaning of the word, have them read the word again including the whole sentence which contains that word.