Why I Love Teaching Early Language Learners

Do you have a favorite grade to teach? I'm sure you do. It is natural to have a preference for a certain age or grade. Most of my colleagues have preferred the more advanced language learners ~ lucky for me because that means I don't have any competition for my favorite ~ the early language learners! Whether they are in Kindergarten or 12th grade, I just love the beginners. Here is why:

Making lessons comprehensible
1. I teach entirely in the target language and I love the challenge to make my lessons comprehensible. Choosing the words they'll be more likely to understand, using photos, images, and props, creating simplified stories, building on previously learned vocabulary and grammar ... I get such a feeling of success when they get it!

Risk Taking
2. Often, at the beginning of the school year, the students seem uncomfortable. Kind of like I feel when I visit another country for the first time. A bit unsure of how everything works, what I should do, what I should say. Just totally out of my comfort zone. I love to watch that wall come down as the students get more comfortable and I love to see my students start to take risks.

A Peek Outside of your Country
3. I once had a college professor tell a story about how she had a student ask "Why do I need to learn another language if I'm never going to leave Ohio?" She responded "That's exactly why!" In class I "take" my students to other countries through stories, photos, cooking projects, virtual field trips ... These lessons may be the only chance they'll ever have to "visit" somewhere other than their own country.

Going from 0 to Speaking
4. And then there is that moment when your students connect A and B and they put together words to form a sentence on their own ~ maybe the sentence isn't complete, or maybe there is a mistake, but WOW!! ... They did it! They've gone from 0 to speaking the language!

What is your favorite level or grade to teach? Leave a comment below :)

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