Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Teachers' Beliefs in Teaching English for Kids at a Kindergarten: A Case Study of Students from the Department of Applied English

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Teachers' Beliefs in Teaching English for Kids at a Kindergarten: A Case Study of Students from the Department of Applied English

Article excerpt

Abstract

The main purpose of this study was to explore the changes in teachers' beliefs before and after teachings among four students from the Department of Applied English at Hungkuang University, who were conducting English teaching at a kindergarten. Teacher's beliefs included four aspects in terms of English teaching, teacher-student interaction in class, curriculum planning and English learning.

The study results revealed that before and after teachings, there were no significant differences in teachers' beliefs between the aspects of English teaching (e.g. teaching resources and the preparation of lesson plan) and English learning (e.g. understanding of the kids' learning conditions). Inconsistent viewpoints in the beliefs of teacher-student interaction in class and curriculum planning were reported.

Constructive suggestions to the curriculum plans for Module of Teaching Children English at the Department of Applied English were proposed for assisting students interested in teaching children English and undertaking further research on this topic.

Keywords: teachers' beliefs, English teaching for kids, department of applied English

1. Introduction

1.1 Research Background and Motivation

A kindergarten or a nursery school is a place for kids or children to develop infinitely and exert themselves heartily. Children from different family background lead to different growing process. A close relationship with family members, school teachers or learning environment all deeply affects their growth, as children are good imitators from what adults behave in daily life (Feng, 2001). Therefore, how to use positive guidelines and attitude to educate kids/children is considered as an important topic.

Because of globalization development in Taiwan nowadays, bilingual kindergartens or English cram schools for kids/children have been growing ubiquitously. Learning English at an early age has become significantly important for children. Parents all desperately wish their children starting English learning as early as possible in order to possess fluent English speaking skills and global views, which could benefit their achievement in their future.

With the progress of the times, parents provide different expectation on kindergarten teachers. How to make early English education more professional and pursue more qualified teachers in teaching becomes the essential topic of education reform. Tang (1996) pointed that it was imperative to enhance teachers' quality and professional competence. Teachers should hoist their capacity in editing lesson plans through their reflection (Hung, 2000), which was exceptionally beneficial to the children's education.

How to select English teaching materials, plan curriculum, conduct class management and initiate children's learning motivation are core issues to be considered in teaching children English. According to Chang (2004), instmctors needed to design lesson plans and edit their teaching contents in a clear and understandable way. Lu (2008) addressed that how to effectively use teaching materials, develop teaching contents and show vivid and interesting body language in the well-planned curriculum was a big challenge for most of the kindergarten teachers. If teaching based on theme-based, team-based and contest-based scenarios, children would report better learning effects than the regular teaching.

1.2 Importance of the Study

Instructors in this study were students from the Department of Applied English, at Hungkuang University (HKU). Although they were not formal English teachers in this study, they showed strong interests in teaching English for children. All of them retained high motivation to become competent English teachers in the future.

There have been few studies focusing on exploring the differences of instructors' beliefs before and after teachings in the field of teaching children English. This study was expected to reveal the comparative results (teacher's beliefs before and after teachings) through the instructor's self-reflection and teaching experience sharing. …

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