Puppets are Your Friend: Using puppets for Young Learners

Kelly

Publicado por Kelly

Have a young learner that is shy? Will only use their L1? Then maybe it's time to bring in the puppets.

In my first year of teaching, I was offered a class with 12 four-year-olds. Since I was a desperate and very new teacher, I immediately took the job. Armed with my knowledge of teaching fresh in my mind from the TEFL course I took a month eariler, I set off to face the army of children. 

Of course, as all the teachers reading this now have probably already guessed, I knew nothing. I tried to implement all my training, however telling kids to "discuss animals in pairs" more often leads to chaos than an insightful conversation. On top of that, getting young learners to speak at all isnhalf the battle. Many students are shy or nervous about speaking English in front of their friends, and therefore you have to creatively "trick" them into speaking English. 

The most succesful way to do this in my experience is to bring out my favorite helper, Lola. Lola is an eccentric puppet who of course, only speaks English. Therefore, all my students have to talk to her in English, and generally, they do this without realizing. I bring out Lola for demonstrating a dialogue I want the children to practice, with shy students who are nervous speaking to a big adult, and for review practice when students tell Lola what they have learned that day. 

There are plenty of activities to try with puppets, and you can use any stuffed animal or teddy if you don't want to fork out lots of money on a traditional puppet. Don't have any stuffed animal's lying around? Make your own! There's simple ways to make puppets out of paper that you can do with your students. (Link to an example below) Once they have made their own puppets, students can have a 'party' where all their puppets mingle and talk about whatever you've learned that day.

All in all, just try it out! My students love Lola and can't wait to tell her what they've learned! 

https://crafts.tutsplus.com/tutorials/kids-craft-how-to-make-your-own-paper-hand-puppets--cms-21857

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Kelly

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