Teaching English to Dutch school children
Thread poster: Olly Pekelharing

Olly Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:07
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
May 24, 2012

Hullo,

My kids go to a small country school which is threatened with closure (as are all small schools in the Netherlands). We (teachers and parents) are feverishly trying to think of ways to make the school more attractive to maintain or increase pupil numbers and one idea is to offer extracurricular English lessons. The idea was mine and I've offered to set up a series of lessons as a pilot, but now I'm wondering how to go about it. Does anyone have any suggestions or could you recommend a cheap or free programme? I'm thinking there must be useful extension programmes such as used in rural development. These are primary school children aged between 4 and 12 with no prior experience of English other than Dora the Explorer (with the exception of my kids!).

Thanks,

Olly


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:07
Hebrew to English
Some (perhaps useful, perhaps pointless) links May 24, 2012

I teach/taught adults so this isn't exactly my forté, but I'm attaching some links which may/may not be useful:

http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/
http://www.primarylanguages.org.uk/resources/qca_schemes_of_work.aspx

These are more generic links which might help you with ideas for a general scheme of work for any course you end up running.

In addition, you might want to look at what they do in China with "Disney English" which covers the age ranges you mention:

http://www.disneyenglish.com/en/

Hope this helps.


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Olly Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:07
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! May 24, 2012

learnenglishkids looks promising indeed, though I would have been slightly more confident if it had been called teachkidsenglish

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:07
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
teaching versus learning May 24, 2012

Hi Olly,

Hmm.. today's teachers are not supposed to teach. We're there to facilitate the learning process. The days of the teacher presenting material and the pupil/student listening and writing notes have gone.

I don't teach kids - perish the thought! However, I suggest you google CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning) and look at what the big publishing houses have on offer (MacMillan, Pearson, Richmond, OUP, CUP...). I certainly agree with the current trend to introduce English in conjunction with other learning. Much, much better than teacher standing in front of the class saying
"Quiet, children! Today, we(!) are going to learn the verb "to have"."

CLIL is taking topic areas (ideally, ones that the kids are working on in their main language) and doing related activities in English. If the school curriculum is fully topic-based, it works particularly well. An example (not a very good one, I know):
The kids are studying "weather" this term: in science it's about evaporation, etc, in geography it's drought in Africa..., in maths it's calculating average rainfall..., in art it's (well, I'm sure you get the picture)... and in English it's 0-50°C, rain/storm/shower, hotter/colder, it's going to rain....

Even very young kids can join in with weather-related English songs and games, colouring pictures for the various seasons, dressing up in suitable clothes (using English words, of course). I find it all very interesting in theory - just don't ask me to put it into practice! I really enjoyed enriching my own son's early learning experience but I'm not "good with kids" in general.

Good luck - it's a very worthwhile thing to be doing, and you will be helped enormously by the fact that Dutch kids have access to "original version" TV.

Sheila


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Olly Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:07
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
Topic based May 24, 2012

Bingo! Fact is, as part of this campaign to make the school more attractive we have been talking about school-wide topic-based activities which will be integrated in the curriculum to a degree (we don't have the clout to make any real curriculum changes, but topic-based learning, or CLIL, would definitely be high on my list). The plan for next year is to do a 'water' theme (this is Holland, after all) and a 'recycling/compost' type theme. Hadn't occurred to me yet, but of course I can use these themes in my English classes! My mind is whirring with ideas, but first I have to complete this deadline. Thanks very much.

Olly


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Lara Van der Zee  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:07
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Early Birds en school tv May 24, 2012

Hoi Olly,

Er bestaat een programma voor basisschool kinderen: Early Birds. Er zijn pilots uitgevoerd in de regio Rotterdam. Ik ken het omdat dit programma ook is gebruikt als basis voor schooltv engels. Dit heb ik gebruikt om mijn eigen kinderen Engels te leren. Deze uitzendingen met begeleidend materiaal zijn gratis te downloaden van de site van schooltv. Zoek op Engels met Raaf. Mijn kinderen (onderbouw basisschool) vonden dit erg leuk en we spelen nog regelmatig de spelletjes die we daar leerden.
Succes!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:07
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Best method! May 24, 2012

I was four when I started school more than 50 years ago in Bombay, as it was called then, we had very few lessons on the timetable that were actually called English.

There were some called Arithmetic, and some called Writing, where I, as the only left-handed child, was given special treatment. We did a certain amount of reading too. (Beacon Readers, I remember some of the stories to this day!!)

Other lessons were called Nature, Scripture (it was a mission school) and so on.
Whatver we did, we discussed it first, and soon progressed to writing a sentence or two about what we were going to do. (Plants grow from seeds. We will plant seeds and see them grow. My plant is a bean. Some children have peas...)

I loved school.
In fact every lesson was an English lesson, because we had to write correct sentences and spell, but the stories and exercises carried the interest. A few children did not speak much English at home, and needed a little help, but I don't remember any of them having problems with this method.

Best of luck with the project, and I hope you save the school!


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Olly Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:07
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks... May 25, 2012

for the encouragement Christine.

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Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:07
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My two cents May 25, 2012

Not long ago, I realised I started teaching (my youngest sister) when I was 8!

Being serious, I've been teaching in my own academy for nearly 30 years, though I didn't open an academy of English until 1998. I also taught in a bilingual school in Barcelona for two years.

I always say that I can't teach English to anyone - I can only help people to learn. Although I can't remember learning English, my mother tongue, I can remember exactly how I learnt Spanish, and I apply the same methods I used (I didn't do Spanish classes until I decided to go to university in Spain and by then, I had been speaking the language for over 20 years). To speak a foreign language you need a great dose of common sense and a high level of motivation. I always say Motivation = Memory, meaning people don't have any trouble remembering what interests them. Let's face it, we all remember things that are important for us.

You can't expect children to sit down and just listen to what you say, neither do you want to spend hours preparing activities so the children are kept amused while they repeat words and phrases over and over again. In my experience it's far better to create a sort of youth club, rather than a formal class.

If you're looking for text books I strongly recommend "Star Turn 1,2,3 and 4" by Oxford University Press and if you want visual aids for younger children, then I suggest "Peppa Pig" or "Big Muzzy". However, there's loads of material available (too much actually). Visit Amazon.co.uk and you'll see what I mean!

You'll find that OUP and other publishing companies will be more than willing to help you, though I find that a lot of the books available worry too much about grammar. Personally, I think it's far better to concentrate on helping the children acquire vocabulary. Both my pupils and I enjoy working with the books I've previously recommended.

I think you need to appreciate that although children can't speak English, it doesn't mean they are not intelligent. Maybe quite the opposite! They get bored doing basic level grammar exercises and they're happier doing what they do every day, but in a foreign language.

If you want any more help, please feel free to send me a private message!


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