Teach Children English

When you teach children English there are so many things you can do! Children are so receptive and flexible compared to adults. I have had adults tell me they don`t want to play any games.

This is unfortunate as often I feel, we learn more from playing a game about what we wish to learn, then the old textbook study method.

Children are open to games, arts and crafts and more. They are great! And we should all try as teachers and care givers, to keep the child in us alive.

ESL Activities Children

When you teach in Japan, the bigger your repertoire of activies you know, the better. This of course comes from experience, reading, and attending workshops and seminars. See some of our recommendations recommendations.


"Everyone Can be Creative," is their motto. I am color blind myself, and my brother (a great artist, is too!). I found out when I drew Mauro Grespan with a green face. Everyone laughed in my grade one class, thinking I was being funny. I was just drawing what I saw! A light green crayon looked light brown to me!

At kidswonderart.com they offer free craft templates and strive to help parents and children communicate, teach and have fun together.

Michele states: "By using color and art we can make a difference in every child`s life, whether or not they have challenges."

Check out their website for ideas you can use when you teach children English and free craft materials.

Teach children English, Catherine Cheetham talks about teaching children, university students and her life in Japan. Cheetham is a mother of two girls married to a Japanese.

Teach Children English

Please tell us about yourself as a teacher (where, why, how long you've been teaching etc.).

What kind of teaching did you do in Japan?

I started teaching right after I graduated from university. I thought it would be a great way to travel and save money for grad school. I worked at various language schools for almost 2 years in South Korea. I really pity my first students, as I honestly didn't know what or how to teach. I was literally handed a textbook and thrown into a classroom. I'm sure at the time I thought I had all the right answers. Unfortunately, many language institutions in Korea as in Japan are in the business of making money and not education. In Korea, I learnt that my students needed more than just a "foreigner" who spoke English, but a real teacher.

It was not until I came to Japan, that my teaching style evolved and I took my profession more seriously. In Japan, I had more opportunities to interact and learn with other teachers. I first worked as an AET at a private high school in Kanagawa-ken. At times I felt like a tape recorder and had little authority in the classroom. I resented the situation somewhat because after all, I had so much prior teaching "experience." But I soon understood that it was the Japanese English teacher who was ultimately responsible for the class. Depending on the Japanese English teacher, I became more involved in the classroom and was able to contribute or prepare the lesson. I really feel that this was my true training period as I was able to observe a variety of teaching styles from old grammarians/ drill sergeants to tasked-based/ communicative approaches.

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Spacious Cottage near Hakone

Minamiashigara shi, Kanagawa, Japan
Is located near the Kari River, across the street from a supermarket, and 3 minutes walk from Iiwahara Station (Daiyuzan Line). It is near a pleasant river walk with nearby rice fields and Iiwahara...

Teach Children English

Later, I started working as an AET for a local school board in Kanagawa. Here I met my biggest challenge to develop the curriculum for both the kindergartens and elementary schools. I would visit both the kindergartens and elementary schools once a week and spend three days at the junior high schools. It was quite a juggle and a lot of work, but I loved it especially planning the curriculum as I found I had a real passion for teaching. With the lessons, I was really able to fill the classes with creativity. I felt my students were really learning and that was exciting. Most importantly, I realized that I needed to ignite an interest in learning English that would germinate outside the classroom.

For about 4 years, I took some time off from teaching to start a family, plus pursue my Masters in TESL/TEFL with Birmingham University. I really wanted to have credentials as I felt that was important not only in ensuring future and permanent employment, but also in order to become a better teacher.

I am now employed as a lecturer at a Japanese university. My classes incorporate a variety of communicative techniques, but are in no way structured under one system. I strongly believe that a class must evolve to the needs of the student. I like to instill the desire to learn and continue learning within my students even after my class has finished. I like to remind students that English is a living language. It is always evolving and that means they need to always study. That is why my job is not only to teach English, but also to create and stimulate interest.

Teach Children English What are some of the highs and lows of teaching English?

I think for the most part, I have been really lucky and had some great students to work with. Of course there have been the few unruly and uninterested students, but a good sense of humor is important.

What are some of the highs and lows of living in Japan?

Sometimes I get quite frustrated living in Japan. It is difficult to get a straight or clear answer. You really have to learn to be patient as few exceptions are made. Even though I have lived here for 12 years, I am always reminded that I am a foreigner and to some degree a guest. I don't have the same rights as Japanese citizens, even though my husband and children are Japanese, I pay taxes, contribute, and abide by the laws of Japan. To some extent the endless restrictions imposed on foreigners whether it be in the work place (for example the lack of full-time employment opportunities within government educational institutions), separate registration and re-enter permit requirements, lack of legal property rights, and not to mention the inability to vote all deeply affect me personally.

These are basic rights that I have taken for granted in my own country and being denied them in Japan has put me on an emotional roller coaster of sorts. But it is important to keep these issues in perspective, as I have chosen to live in Japan. Of course there have been times when I have wanted to pack it all in and just leave. But then I would have missed out on so many great opportunities and experiences. Living in Japan provides a less than ordinary life. I am challenged daily in most everything I do. The secret is knowing how to separate the legal oddities of Japan from that of living. For me this is a work in progress, but by focusing on the positive rather than the negative things makes life look a whole lot brighter. Plus not reading the English newspapers in Japan tends to help.

What advice would you give to someone interested in teaching English?

Note that your students (or parents) are paying a lot of money to learn English. Your job needs to be taken seriously. Coming to Japan is a great opportunity to learn and experience another culture, but it is important to keep that in perspective. Too often teachers do not complete their contract obligations leaving students and institutions in the lurch. This gives foreigners living in Japan a bad reputation and a good reason why many institutions are hesitant in treating foreign colleagues as equals. I don't think it is wrong to teach in Japan for alternative motives, such as to experience another country, earn money, or travel, but you need to be professional and honour your commitment to your students.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a more successful teacher of English?

Observe your students. No class or student is the same. Take time to know your students and how you can assist them. Your teaching style needs to reflect your students.

Don't rely solely on the textbook. Supplement with ice-breakers/ warm-up activities and communicative activities that build class dynamics to really get your students talking and moving. Be part of those activities and interact with the class.

Be ready to change. To be a good teacher requires that the teacher is in fact motivated. It is impossible to motivate students, if the teacher is not motivated. If you have been using the same materials and textbook class after class it is time for a change.

From teach children English to TEFL Young Children

From teach children English to How to teach English in Japan (home)

Teach Children English

When you teach children English what are your favourite resources? I bet you can`t top mine! Think you can?

What are my favourite textbooks to teach children English?

I`d have to say David Paul`s Finding Out series and the English Land series which features Disney characters. Both are great textbook series!

Find out more about good books to teach children English at our ESL Books page.