Long gone are the days when English for children was taught only as part of the school curriculum, and the level of language proficiency was determined only by a teacher or a teacher of higher education, which displayed a grade in a diary, report card or report card. Just a few decades ago, few people in our country had to use their knowledge in practice in the natural language environment. Most of them were content with checking their schoolchildren’s homework or laughing with an important look at the KVN joke about “London is the capital of Great Britain”. Gone are the days when a person met with a native English speaker, experienced a cultural shock of the fact that the verbal understanding with a person, alas, does not occur.
Nowadays a good knowledge of English is a proof of education and a guarantee of success. Very often basic or spoken English is a prerequisite for enrollment in a prestigious educational institution or when applying for a specialized job. For most foreign nationals of different nationalities, English is one of the six official working languages of the United Nations, and is the second or third language. Open borders and the ability to travel across countries and continents has become for our compatriots an obvious confirmation of the relevance of a language that is understood almost anywhere in the world.
The importance and status of the most common language – a universal means of communication around the world and on the global Internet in particular – is unquestionably high – this is a fact. Also there is no doubt that English for children is a vital necessity, a pledge of future professional demand, career growth of a person. However most often parents and experts discuss the question of when to begin teaching children?
At what age to begin learning English
Advocates of early learning believe that English for children should be present in their life almost from the very first day. The second group of parents believe that the foreign language should be taught only in the natural environment, because they make every effort to provide a child with the appropriate conditions: frequent trips, temporary residence in a foreign country, or postpone classes indefinitely. Some parents are convinced that English classes should begin only when the child grows up, shows interest or independently understand the relevance of knowledge.
In most cases, any position of the parents is not only due to inner beliefs or pretensions, as well as life situation and circumstances that determine the need, goals, level and timing of language acquisition. Experts are convinced that it is possible to begin learning English at any age, the main thing is to do it correctly, taking into account external factors and the individual characteristics of the child. In order to increase the efficiency of learning each individual case should be considered separately, sometimes an individual program for a particular child may be needed.
According to professional educators who teach English for children in the courses and schools, dating and learning a foreign language is desirable to start with 3-5 years. At this age, children are keenly interested in everything new and unusual, especially since they have already formed a linguistic perception and an adequate understanding of the environment. Children have mastered the basic concepts, have the necessary vocabulary, so they can easily perceive and remember the alternative names in English without further explanation of the meaning of a word or concept.
Memory and thinking in children of middle preschool age is actively developing, thanks to which the teacher with the help of special techniques and methods can already concentrate and hold their attention on the subject for some time. Visual-imaginative thinking of preschool children stipulates their involvement in the process. Involving imagination and fantasy can be a significant success in the acquisition of a foreign language preschooler. An important condition is the ability of five-year-olds to primitive manifestations of discipline and self-control, which is good for the organization of the optimal conditions for the assimilation of new knowledge.
Principles and methods of teaching English
Currently there are many more or less effective programs designed for the mastery of English by children of different ages. The effectiveness of different methods is determined by many objective and subjective factors, and the difference between them lies in the use of different approaches. For a start we must decide what form of language learning will suit a small polyglot: individual or group.
It is noteworthy that the effectiveness of individual home schooling increases, if the English language for children is taught by a governess or a visiting specialist, and not the parents (even well versed in the foreign language). When choosing a group form of education parents should pay attention not only to the qualifications of the teacher, you should also take into account his contact with the child, the form of lessons, the method used.
For example, for the very young, the development of Glenn Doman is used. In this program, the main emphasis is on the visual memory of the child. Early English for Children by Helen Doron begins at 3 months of age. Game method is one of the most productive, any of the game techniques can be adapted for any age from 1 year to 10 years.
For three-year-olds, the Zaitsev method is suitable, and slightly older children will be interested in the project method. Creativity and fine (applied) art – this is another activity that combines well with the study of a foreign language. Mixed methods, in which different activities alternate, also provide excellent results.