Is it effective to have just one class a week?
If your students are coming once a week for an hour or so, that’s a very small amount of English input each week. Therefore, it’s really important to find ways for them to be exposed to English outside of class. Music can be one of your most effective tools. Songs will stick in students’ heads, bouncing around for days. And listening to CDs at home is an easy way for students to continue to get language input. As students get older, they may be a little reluctant to sing in the classroom, but you can still make music a part of your lessons.
Students aren’t going to “master” a second language with once a week classes alone, but they can learn a lot and form an interest in the language that will carry them far as they continue in their studies. That’s why it’s crucial that English class be FUN and engaging! When planning your classes, start by thinking of activities that the kids enjoy and then figuring out how to fit English into that, rather than thinking about the English you want to teach and then trying to figure out an activity. It may seem like a small difference, but it’s really a completely different way of thinking about how to plan classes. And it can make all the difference to young learners in how they feel about English class.
When seeing students in class only once a week, it’s difficult for the teachers to be their models, so ask their parents to be involved. Suggest that they read to their kids in English regularly. Some parents may be nervous about their pronunciation, or level of understanding, but stress to them that the most important thing is their children seeing them use English.
Review is key when you only see the kids once a week, but it can be tough when you don’t have much time. This is another way in which songs are very effective. Singing songs allows you to quickly review language from previous lessons without it even feeling like a review. Music is one of the few language learning tools where repetition is fun.
English is a means of communication, not just a school subject. It’s really important that students not think of English as just another thing they need to learn. Instead, look at it as a way to communicate. Avoid focusing on errors and always speaking “correctly” and praise all of their efforts at communication.