Teaching children is very different from teaching adults. There are some reasons explaining this.
– No reason for learning English: For children, they may not understand what reason means or why they are learning the language, just they like teacher or the learning activities: games, song, gift, topic, color…. But for older learners, they have clear reasons for learning a language: use the internet, for jobs, pass an exam….
– Children’s ability to self regulate: Children are developing, they are learning how to regulate and manage their behavior and feelings. When they are angry or excited, they often lose control of behavior. When they are bored, they quickly let teachers know through their actions: they do other things instead of studying, distract other children. For adults, they may also feel bored with aspects of their language learning, they still have to try and hide their feelings. When working in pair-work or group-work, older learners understand this way is helpful for learning English, but children don’t understand why they have to do this.
– Children give more attention to meaning rather than form: When children watch a foreign cartoon, listen to a story in English… they will use physical or visual clues in the situation.
Ex: expression on people’s faces, the place, the time, people’s gestures…
They do not pay attention to the words which are being used by teacher.
Teaching children is different because they are still developing cognitively, linguistically, physically and emotionally. So the most important task is to motivate and create interest in the new language, teachers have to understand children’s characteristics, children will try new language.