Kiev Pre-Conference – in Video! – Teaching English to Kids

The full Kiev workshop was two days on Saturday & Sunday, ย and then on the evening before, just for the very special people who came (or flew!) in early, ย we did a special one hour pre-conference bonus mini workshop.

And as luck would have it, Viktor very kindly videoed it and we have it on Youtube for you!

Super Ninja Tip: ย Always video your own lessons, ย you’ll see how many mistakes you’re making – just like I did today! ๐Ÿ™‚ ย ย Oh, and just ignore my big belly after all that Italian and Slovak food! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

It’s an hour long, so grab a coffee and I’m sure you’ll find a multitude of little teaching gems to help your lessons – especially the discipline techniques at the beginning!

(Plus check out the teachers who were brand new to Genki English looking completely shocked! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Here’s some of what we did:
– Be a role model

– Get control of the class with the Disco Warm Up discipline.

– Why Genki English songs are different.

– Genki English homework withย Left & Rightย 

– Why teachers are not normal people. ๐Ÿ™‚

– Vocal warm up for teachers – how not to lose your voice (19 mins)

(+ How to be Genki *and* quiet)

– Basic Lesson Plan: Songs for Input & Games for Output (23 mins)

– Example with Where is Baby Monkey?

+ Pronunciation\Different intonations comes from computer (great for adults).

– Gestures come from the kids – so they own it.

* Ninja Tip: ย Normally I’d ask kids to guess what rooms are in the house, and not just introduce them in order. ย Plus of course you always ask the kids what they think each word means! ย But just for today I just wanted to run through them so the teachers all had the same gestures.

– Oops, looks like Viktor mixed up the order, normally we do the song *before* the game! ๐Ÿ™‚

– Then the I like everything game (with theย Where is Baby Monkey? words)

– Don’t talk like a robot! ๐Ÿ™‚

– We need some adrenaline, a goal – especially for older kids.

– How long do you take compared with other English schools? ย 3days or 2 years?

– Get as good as possible, as fast as possible.

– Plus don’t assume everyone knows the rules of the game!

– @42mins, ย we mixed these files up, ย the song comes *before* the class game! ๐Ÿ™‚

– Always add claps to end of songs ( or even verses if you can get the timing right!)

– ย Then we did the needs analysisย (and I think we got the videos mixed up a touch!) ๐Ÿ™‚

– Beautiful & Gorgeous vs. ย A and B groups! ๐Ÿ™‚

– If I could wave a magic wand …..

– Ninja Tip: ย  Speak a foreign language occasionally so the kids don’t just mechanically repeat “OK!” whenever you say “OK?” ๐Ÿ™‚

– Plus a quick look around the bookstore & Kiev city center!

 

And we went through all the problems in the next two days!

Would you like more?

I hoped you liked the video, please do let me us know in the comments if you did and we might be able to upload some more for you.

Thanks everyone for an amazing pre-conference, and especially Nataly for organising everything, you were all fantastic!

And if any of you would like to join my next workshops, check out my upcoming schedule!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

17 Responses to “Kiev Pre-Conference – in Video! – Teaching English to Kids”

  1. Margit

    Wow! What a packed full one hour! Amazing~!!!

    Now, one thing I’d love to see more (but probably difficult with adults) is that kids react in a very different way often, than the adult teachers in your workshops, and It would be great to see how you deal with this.

    As an example:
    The warm up:
    when you do the stand up sit down, and you make clear to them that mistakes are essential to improve, you will have a few students in each class of 30 kids who NOW make the mistakes ON PURPOSE, which can easily lead to a discipline problem in few classes.

    with the software, even with good speakers, in big classes some kids get the s and f sound confused. So looking at them repeating “fly” the are doing “sly” or something in between.
    So here, what I do is teach them by modeling~ what would you do?

    Also kids get much more excited when watching the software for each first lesson, so there is a lot of “positive” noise going on, which I know, some teachers find distracting, so they decide to NOT teach with the software.
    I was confused about this for the first year in ES as well, but now I am doing fine, I think.

    However, this is also one point that doesn’t come out with “well behaving teachers” in teacher workshops.

    My request would be videos of you teaching kids (not 100s of kids or 1000s, but rather around 20-30.)

    What do you think?

  2. Martin

    Always fun to watch and try to add this stuff in more and more!

  3. Susan K

    Another great teacher-training video!

  4. Richard

    Funnily enough we covered all these in the kids exhibition class, let me see if we can get the video up!

  5. gumby

    Please do! I am struggling with this myself. I’ve noticed there is a very different tolerance level. I am OK with positive noise as Margit put it, but the HRTs insist on students sitting straight and quiet and always on topic.

    I may be too lenient, but I also don’t think a quiet class is an ideal class. I pick up on comments from students even if they are a bit off topic as long as they are related.

    It would be interesting to see what others regard as acceptable behavior.

    do students need to sit in straight rows with their backs straight?

    Do you stop a class if for example they sleep on the floor when you teach the word sleep?

    If they start talking about different crazy pets they have, do you insist they talk about dogs and cats?

    What kind of ‘noise’ do you tolerate in you classes?

  6. Richard

    do students need to sit in straight rows with their backs straight?

    Good posture is something I always do insist on, or rather keep bringing kids back to, if the kids have bad posture then it is physiologically impossible to be genki. Similarly if you have good posture then it’s impossible to feel depressed! It’s a key life skill.

    Ninja Tip: It’s also the reason I have the “s” and “p” gesture like that in the phonics, it fixes their posture straight away!

    But …. sitting in straight rows, not necessarily the best, that’s usually used as a crutch for teachers who don’t have good class control! Curves and semi circles are much better, if you can handle them, which I know you can Gumby!

    Do you stop a class if for example they sleep on the floor when you teach the word sleep?

    Not at all, that’s the best gesture! ๐Ÿ™‚

    If they start talking about different crazy pets they have, do you insist they talk about dogs and cats?

    Definitely, definitely not. The grammar/structure should be the aim of the lesson, not the vocab. So the good teacher will always incorporate the crazy stuff the kids talk about and bring it round so they do it using today’s structure.

    Plus kids love to see the picture of my pet lion, and of course baby monkey has a funky pet too!

    What kind of โ€˜noiseโ€™ do you tolerate in you classes?

    Anything that is respectful and gives you an insight into what the kids are thinking i.e. usually noise in class is when the kids aren’t understanding something and so are asking their friends. If the friends are helping, I let it go – I actually just did this in the video above – but if it then breaks down into general chatting, that’s when you bring the focus back to the lesson.

    Positive chatter I always let go, the kids laughing their heads off at badminton carrot is really cool, as is the confused look when the superhero never stops climbing!

    In any case, the “Sit down, shut up” classroom is firmly something of the economies of the past, unless the teachers don’t care about getting their old age pensions! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Margit

    oh~~~kids videos. Please!!!!!

    gumby, thanks for picking this up.

    Yeah! Straight backs is something I am suffering with myself, but thanks god I’m getting better and better and a good posture helps tons!
    And for kids it is amazing, if you tell them about their spine and the head on top being pulled like a thread ~ the classroom changes.

    But no rows.

    It is hard if their are desks~not to say annoying.

    So, this year, I got my own room, I put in chairs (this school’s kids hate to sit on the floor)
    and I set up a semicircle of 30 kids.

    Now, I and thought it wouldn’t work well, as it is just fitting in. But “Just” is “just” so PERFECT.

    You can see everyone’s eyes at all times. everyone can see your eyes at all times and the digital whiteboard as well. In the middle there is a lot of space to move during games. The chairs pull a barrier and clear line as to where the kids may move.
    No more hiding or pushing themselves into corners or behind the teacher’s desk. Lot’s of TOGETHERNESS!

    Now, last week I was surprised doing the leapfrog game. so far I always put the cards on the board, 2 kids came to the front, etc etc. Because of the desk there was not much space for more. To involve everyone I had the kids in class answer as a chorus, or do the question part. But it is easy to just shout it out, without being actively there.

    So, now, what happened this time:

    I put the cards on the floor, the first two kids from the edges of the semi circle came and played until the first lost the RPS, sat down and the next sitting kid came.
    It is FAST, no “who wants to volunteer?”taking time, EVERYONE is involved all the time (they really want their side to win), and so on.

  8. Martin

    I would definitely like to see a video of kids doing the Genki lesson – young kids (4-7 years old) and older kids (7 and up). I’m still having a hard time with discipline (especially during the song where it descends into chaos and just dancing around but no output from the kids).

    I’m also struggling to get the kids to correctly say sentences (pronunciation, etc). For example, I did the “How did you get here?” lesson. The kids for the most part are quite fluent and accurate with the question but flub up the answer. Then in “What time is it?” the kids flub up both the question and the answer and just can’t seem to be able to slow down and clean up their speaking saying things like “What time it?” “What time it is?”

    I’m also having a hard time explaining games clearly. Even when I provide an examples, the kids have a hard time doing games correctly. For example, the “I like everything” game requires kids to walk around and engage in a short “conversation” with other students. Again this descends into chaos of kids running up to each other and shouting the question but then running away before getting the answer or letting the other person ask them to complete the “conversation”.

    Obviously, the point of practice and the games is to use the English and to identify where kids need work, but I keep finding that they establish their personal ways of saying a sentence and then it is impossible to change for some reason. Even a repeat after me or the song, they don’t actually repeat. “I want a burger.” turns into “I like burger.” one second after I say it.

  9. Martin

    And, HOW do you get a kid who is hell-bent on refusing to participate in ANYTHING. I had a show class yesterday and this one girl refused to participate in any songs or games, much to the embarassment of my TA, her father, and me.

  10. Richard

    Hello,

    Iโ€™m still having a hard time with discipline (especially during the song where it descends into chaos and just dancing around but no output from the kids).

    In that you case you just stop the song! There’s an agreement in place that you do fun stuff, but they have to do their part too. So just stop the song part way through, do a disappointed face and ask them if they thought it was good enough and get them to try again. Yep, you do need the local language support – but you can just say it and get them to translate what you say line by line. But fixing this right from the start will fix nearly all the other problems too!
    Remember, zero tolerance on things like this! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Iโ€™m also struggling to get the kids to correctly say sentences (pronunciation, etc). For example, I did the โ€œHow did you get here?โ€ lesson. The kids for the most part are quite fluent and accurate with the question but flub up the answer. Then in โ€œWhat time is it?โ€ the kids flub up both the question and the answer and just canโ€™t seem to be able to slow down and clean up their speaking saying things like โ€œWhat time it?โ€ โ€œWhat time it is?โ€

    This one don’t worry too much with the younger ones, after all native speaker kids don’t say it “perfectly” either. But do be strict on not allowing first language interference. One trick for when they mess up the grammar is to do it in realllllyyyy reaaaallllllyyyy sloowwwww motttttioooon. That way there is no where to hide and everyone has to say every syllable – plus it’s lots of fun! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Iโ€™m also having a hard time explaining games clearly. Even when I provide an examples, the kids have a hard time doing games correctly. For example, the โ€œI like everythingโ€ game requires kids to walk around and engage in a short โ€œconversationโ€ with other students. Again this descends into chaos of kids running up to each other and shouting the question but then running away before getting the answer or letting the other person ask them to complete the โ€œconversationโ€.

    If you notice in the video here, not all the teachers understood it and we had the same thing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Ninja Trick 1: Video your explanation. You’ll very often find that what you thought was super clear in your head was actually a real jumble when you actually spoke it out loud (this happens to me all the time! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) – so naturally the kids are confused!

    Ninja Trick 2: Start with some simpler games, ones the kids get the hang of them, then move to the more complex ones. It doesn’t really matter which game you use for which lesson as long as the English you need to practice is there. In fact some teachers do the whole curriculum with just one or two games!

    Ninja Trick 3: If you have a good relationship with the kids keep telling them “Nope, that wasn’t right!” until they figure out what they are doing wrong!

    Obviously, the point of practice and the games is to use the English and to identify where kids need work, but I keep finding that they establish their personal ways of saying a sentence and then it is impossible to change for some reason. Even a repeat after me or the song, they donโ€™t actually repeat. โ€œI want a burger.โ€ turns into โ€œI like burger.โ€ one second after I say it.

    Yes indeed, and this is why they need a strong teacher to correct them. It’s just like people who go to the gym and lift weights with bad form, they think they’re doing it right, but from outside we can see that they aren’t! So do keep correcting them and foster an atmosphere where they are wanting you to correct them.


    And, HOW do you get a kid who is hell-bent on refusing to participate in ANYTHING. I had a show class yesterday and this one girl refused to participate in any songs or games, much to the embarassment of my TA, her father, and me.

    We have to find out the reason why. Sometimes it can be wanting to be cool, or being ill or tired, but in the vast, vast majority of cases it is because they aren’t understanding something, either the target English or what you are expecting of them. Pull back a touch, get eye contact and give the explanation again, and really figure out when it is that they are losing the understanding.

    And you know what, pretty much all these problems we all have in every new class, and it’s just practice, practice and lots of failing and trying again – so keep going!!

  11. Margit

    Hi Martin,

    ~game explanation:
    Try to make it as simple and visible as possible.
    Forgive yourself mistakes!

    Meanwhile I’ve been doing the I like everything game I think about 2000 !(!)times, and you can imagine that NOW I feel pretty professional here. In the beginning it took time, every time we played I got better pointing out important things I hadn’t before, in my explanation, but every time there was something new to detect.
    This is an amazing activity, and even after 2000 times, I am finding new things; but they are easy dealing with now.

    However last week I tried a few new games, and whenever I do this it gets a bit messy;
    for example I did the game that was here on the blog, where two kids sit on chairs and their peers ask a question and they have to answer.

    I made the horrible mistake of not telling them the goal of the game (first group sitting is the winner), hell knows WHY I hadn’t?!
    and just played~well, I now know never ever to do an activity anymore without letting them know the goal.

    now;:

    And, HOW do you get a kid who is hell-bent on refusing to participate in ANYTHING. I had a show class yesterday and this one girl refused to participate in any songs or games, much to the embarassment of my TA, her father, and me.

    How old?
    I also had this situation several times last week~ with 11, 12 year olds, I usually handle it by being slightly pushy if they are offensively NOT taking part. But in many cases in this age they don’T even notice they are not taking part. Some kids are feeling so uncomfortable in big groups, that being there takes up a whole lot of what they can bare, so they are so into “just being there” that they don’T even notice they are not moving their mouth or not gesturing, so what I do is I get eye contact and gesture very big. Or sometimes I even tell them “Hi, join us!” in a natural friendly way.

    I know though that I need to keep an eye on these certain kids again and again, the offensive type is much easier to deal with, even though it might seem harder on first sight.

    FOR LITTLE ONES ( 5 OR SO)
    I have a new boy, who seems really challenging!!!Welcome !!!
    So, last week I managed to get him really highly involved keeping his pushes by himself for 40 minutes, but then he just couldn’t concentrate anymore~ (this is a 3rd lesson of 5 year olds)
    He kept running outside (which of course is dangerous.
    So I took him back fixed him on my lap and went on teaching, but of course he would try to escape again and again, and I didn’t want to get him into the feeling that he can control my lesson.
    I had just just introduced “How are you”,
    so I told them we were going to play “How are you 1, 2, 3” and the boy is the “superhero”, so today they have to win against him.

    He forgot about his mom, forgot about escaping, and was the best superhero to have.

    Hope this helps.

  12. Martin

    The girl is probably 5 or 6 years old and has been in this class for about a year and a half now, though I’ve only been teaching the class for the past two months.

    Yeah, I’m definitely trying to remember that it will take time with any new games, especially ones where they are a little more free like in the I like everything game. I also keep trying new games and haven’t really repeated any yet, but I’m realizing and remembering Richard’s advice that the NEW English is what makes the game new and exciting everytime…at least I hope so!

    I’m still trying to find the right level of expectation for the young kids (5-7 year olds who have been learning at the school for nearly 2 years). I’m really pushing them to remember all that old stuff they learned from the past teacher (and I really think they just didn’t have enough review or something – a common problem in classes I’ve taken over).

    I think I need to step back and slow down class overall.

    On the other hand, most of these young kids are doing an excellent job with their phonics. The stories are a little hard for them to comprehend at this point, but a number of them can read pretty well. Yesterday, when we did the “a” page, the kids didn’t even sound out each letter to blend, they just instantly blended the sounds together to form the words naturally. I was blown away. Even the slower kids are getting it, though I need to sort of hover over them when we are doing the dictation part to give them confidence to do what they already know.

    My little kid classes are where the great experiment is really happening. I’ve nearly rewritten the classes’ lesson plans to really include Genki lessons which are close to what the books are teaching (which is usually quite vague). In my Coconut class which is leading the charge through my revamped Y4 class, we spent one lesson on “I am, You are, He is, etc.” and now I don’t hear anymore of that “You is” or “I am” when the kids clearly mean to be saying “He/she is” or “You are”, etc. Next lesson I think we did “I have a question…Is it (adjective)?” since in 3 units in the book introduce 12 adjectives and 12 verbs. So first, focusing on the new adjectives and old adjectives we have already learned to ask questions like “Is it …” and then even extending it to “Are you? Is he/she?”

    The next lesson we worked in the song from the course itself “Who is (strong)?” Chopped that up to use the adjectives we’ve been learning.

    The next three lessons, I’m planning on reviewing (while introducing “Superhero”) “I can” and extending to include “You can, She can, etc.” and “Can you?” so we can use the 12 new verbs being taught in the book. The second lesson, we will do the “What do you want to do?” This something they never learn in the Y-level course at DDDragon, but like most stuff in Genki, it is something they WANT/NEED to say often. Again, using learned verbs and the new verbs from the last three BOOK units. Last I’ll review “What are you doing?” and get the kids to change the base verbs (where possible) into Present Progressive -ing.

  13. Dacha

    Hi,
    Yes it would be great to see some demo classes with kids!!
    I’ve noticed that I had a tendency to think that “Genki” means being CONSTANTLY excited and generally jumping up and down. You’ve mentioned this, Richard, saying that we can get a wrong impression from some of your videos, where you’re always so full of ” energy”:)
    Anyhow what works for me with discipline problems is to get some “quiet ” time in in the beginning of the class. I teach after-school classes and the kids arrive quite tired and over excited as a result. So BEFORE the warm up we all sit down together on the floor, the kids in semi-circle in front of me. Each kid says in turn something ” beautiful, memorable, magic” that happened to them that day. It can be anything. One kid told us the last time that he saw a snail and her baby ๐Ÿ™‚ in the garden, another- that he played soccer… I tell my ” magic moment” as well. They say it in French, but we use all the english words we know and the kids are very impressed now at the end of the year- that they can say so much in English!!! Everyone settles down and this “ritual” instaures a positive mood. Then we get on with music and dancing!
    Oh, this “quiet” time is an occasion for every one to drink some water!
    Next year I’m thinking about giving each kid a Happy Moments Jar!So every time they tell their Magic Moment they glue a star shaped sticker on the jar. In the end of the year we will put a small led light in the jar and they get to take home a beautiful glowing jar full of wonderful memories.
    This quiet time has helped a lot to settle down the “excited” kids and the “shy” ones get an opportunity to speak as well!!

  14. Beatriz

    excellente conference, love it. <thanks

  15. Elizabeth okafor

    Wow Richy! It is awesome! I cant wait to be a Genki English Teacher
    I never noticed any mistake. You were full of energy while teaching and demostrating.
    Perfect one Richard . Please, keep the flag flying.
    I bless God for your sake.
    Thanks.

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