One of the biggest challenges teachers can ever face is teaching young learners. It requires a totally different approach, and teaching as a form of art appears as an undeniable necessity working with a group of students with no motivation.
Teachers need to devise fun lessons with a lot of competitions or games trying to involve as many of the students as possible, and they should always retain patience and dedication in order to motivate young learners. However, it will not suffice in most cases because such learners have a very short attention span which will oblige teachers to change the activities very often and introduce many others for even one lesson hour.
This being the fact, it is absolutely important to plan every stage of lessons in more details than is done with adult learners. Also, teachers have to consider the cognitive ability of young learners, thus being extra careful about not going beyond what their students can already do in their L1.
Activities to stir (songs, chants) and to settle (stories, poster preparation, drawing) can always facilitate teaching, yet variety is a point to remember as young learners come with incredible amount of energy that needs channeling effectively.
Moreover, a lot of repetition on the work done is a must because students will never care about error correction when teachers intend to give feedback on their language use. A way to do that can, for example, be including spelling competitions or sentence correction games to be able to get them to deal with problem areas without realizing.
Apart from these, teachers should focus on social skills of their young students. First, they need to be taught the significance of sharing and how to do that. Secondly, they need to be aware of the necessity of apologizing, which will help them to learn to respect each other. Most importantly, teachers should never forget that young learners need a teacher, not a friend, and they should act accordingly.
It is obvious that teaching young learners is no easy task, and it depends on the teacher whether to get them to learn or not. Therefore, it will always be matter of giving rewards, establishing routines, being consistent, and working in co-operation with parents if teachers really wish to produce the outcome in mind as Marie Willoughby suggested on the 19th day of the CELTA course.