ASSESSING YOUNG LANGUAGE LEARNERS PENNY MCKAY PDF

Who are the young language learners? According to Mckay 1 , Young Language learners are who learning a foreign or second language and who are doing so during the first six or seven years of formal schooling. In the education systems of most countries, young learners are children who are in primary or elementary school. In the other words, the young language learners are between the ages of five and twelve.

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Who are the young language learners? According to Mckay 1 , Young Language learners are who learning a foreign or second language and who are doing so during the first six or seven years of formal schooling. In the education systems of most countries, young learners are children who are in primary or elementary school.

In the other words, the young language learners are between the ages of five and twelve. In teaching language to young learners, language teachers must know about the characteristics of young learners and also about the way how they learn a language.

It will help them in developing materials and strategies in teaching language to young learners. As a result, there are several issues about young learners have explained by the first and second group. Those are the characteristics of young learners, the theory of Second Language Acquisition SLA and the strategies in teaching English to young learners.

Young learners have many characteristics, in which the teachers have to be aware on it and take into account in teaching. Scott and Ytreberg 1 state that there are many characteristics of young learners such as; their own understanding comes through hands and eyes and ears, they have a very short attention and concentration span, they love to play, they learn best when they are enjoying themselves, they rely on the spoken word as well as physical world to convey and understand meaning, they can understand direct human interaction, they are enthusiastic and positive about learning, they are able to work with others and learn from others.

That statement is also supported by Mckay. According to Mckay 6 , there the special characteristic of young learner; the attention span of young learners in the early years of schooling is short, as little as 10 to 15 minutes; they are easily diverted and distracted by other pupils, they may drop out of a task when they find it difficult, they are novices as they learn, with help from others, to become more expert in solving problems, in reading and in many more activities, they are continuing to learn from direct experience, they are still gaining understanding from direct experience — through objects and visual aids, they need for love, security, recognition and belonging accompanies a gradual shift from dependence on adults to peer group support and approval.

From those experts, the characteristics of the young learners are being able to learn and understand the meaning through what they see, what they hear and what they do; such as facial expression, body movement, intonation, action and circumstances.

They also have short attention and concentration span. Another is they are more comfortable and secure when they learn with peer. After knowing some characteristics of young learners, we also need to know the way how they acquire a language, especially acquiring a second language. Saville and troika 2 state that SLA refers both to the study of individuals and groups who are learning a language subsequent to learning their first one as young children, and to the process of learning that language.

The scope of SLA includes formal and informal second language learning. Formal second language learning that takes place in naturalistic context, while formal second language learning that takes place in classroom. The informal second language learning is also called as acquiring.

The outcome of informal second language learning is the students are able to master English successfully in understanding and acquiring like a native-speaker because they get a lot of exposure in high frequency and in unlimited time. In informal second language learning, children study from environment. So the environment takes a role as the teacher of them. While in formal second language learning, the children get a little exposure, the frequency of getting exposure is low and in the limited time.

Thus, the outcome of this case is failed. In addition, the success in acquiring a language is depends on the frequency of getting exposure. Knowing and understanding the characteristics of young learners and also the way how they acquire a language is the foundation in establishing the strategies to teach them.

There are some strategies are able to applied in teaching language to young learners. First, giving exposure as much as possible based on their ability because they already bring matters which support them in learning language when they join the class, such as; instincts, skills and characteristics. Use Target Language as much as possible because they learn from what see and hear.

The teachers should give the materials for them based on their capability because they may drop out of a task when they find it difficult. According to Scott and Ytreberg 5 using words or spoken in teaching for young learners are not enough, the teachers need to demonstrate object and picture in teaching for young learner because that activity should include movement and involve sense.

The spoken word is often accompanied by other clues to meaning, such as facial expression, movement. Giving appreciation to everything that they carried out in teaching learning process to keep their enthusiasm and feel successful from beginning.

The teachers need applying variety of activity, pace, organization, voice because their span of concentration and attention is short. And also they need to create an atmosphere of involvement and togetherness pair work or group work because they feel comfort and secure when they work with friends. They will catch the material easily if they learn through play and other activities which they find enjoyable.

As we know that they are able to achieve the understanding through direct experience, like through objects and visual aids. In conclusion, developing the strategies in teaching language for young learners, the teacher should consider about the characteristics of the young learners and the way how they acquire a language.

It will help the teacher to create and applied the strategies which are appropriate for them. The appropriate strategies will help the teacher in delivering the materials easily and the young leraners will be easy to gain the understanding of it. Thus, the teaching learning process which is not serious merely but also enjoying, comfortable, and also secure for them realized.

Reference Mckay, Penny. Assessing Young Language Learners. Singapore: Cambridge University Press. Scott, Wendy A. Teaching English to Children. New York: Longman Ltd. Saville, Muriela and Troile. Introducing Second Language Acquistion.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bagikan ini:.

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