Interaction and Children's ESL Teaching
The main purpose of Children’s ESL teaching is to develop their early communication skills and the interesting of learning English.. Interaction is the key to teaching language for communication. This article starts from the definition of interaction, analyzes various types of interaction in ESL classroom, how to act and stresses the key importance of interaction in the process of teaching children’s English. This interactive teaching method is apt to the character of children.
Children’s ESL teaching; interaction teaching; interaction learning; communication
For years, many linguists and teaching experts have devoted great efforts to do researches in children’s language development and teaching methods. Books about children’s language written before the late 1950s often described children’s language acquisition as the ‘acquisition’ verbal habits. This reflects the ideas of behavioral psychologists like F. Skinner and his predecessors who viewed children’s language learning as a rather passive process of imitating the speech they heard from adults. Researches in the 1960s have changed the way we look at children’s language development and learning. Insights from psychology have led to the conception of the child as a hypothesis tester, a thinker who over time can unconsciously formulate the rules of language. Studies begun in the 1960s of children’s early utterances led us to seek descriptions of what children said. We no longer see the child as a passive responder who imitates whatever she or he hears. Instead, the child is able to actively discover how language works. Children’s knowledge about sounds, meanings and syntax is referred as linguistic competence. The knowledge of social and linguistic rules that enable us to speak and interact appropriately in different situations is called communicative competence. As Hymes broadly defined it. It is the child’s ability to participate in its society as not only a speaking, but also a communicating member. Children language researchers generally advocate that children acquire both linguistic and communicative competence through interaction with people and objects. According to a developmental perspective, communicative interaction begins at birth. The study of this pre-linguistic period yields detailed records of infant-caregiver interactions. From early time, linguists and educators have paid special attention to the interaction in language learning and teaching. In 1970s, Jean Piaget, along with Bloom put forward that child’s interaction with his environment leads to overall development. The interaction of the child’s perceptual and cognitive development with linguistic and nonlinguistic events in his environment. Vygotsky points out that learning a language is a socially mediated process. Most specialists agree with Halliday that language learning is the process whereby children, in interacting with others, construct the language system. Spada argues that ‘communicative’ classrooms with instruction plus opportunities for interaction were superior to ‘traditional’ instruction. Finocchiaro and Brumfit also see the significance of interaction: “Students are expected to interact with people, either in the flesh, through pair and group work, or in their writings.” Webb examined specific task-related verbal interactions that occur during small-group activities. He found that when students did not understand a teacher’s explanation, peers were often able to provide explanations in words that were more easily understood. Wilga M. Rivers describes the key importance “interaction in teaching language for...
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