Mido’s Thoughts on Teaching Children

Many of you have become fans of Mido Farid’s games, and Mido has just sent in this piece on thoughts about teaching children.  What do you think?

Teaching children

We all know that teaching English as a second language can be very hard.  But teaching children can be really very hard. So I want to give you some of my experience.  Hope you think about these words……….

  • Don’t stress.relax and enjoy-…. teaching young children can be frustrating and stressful, don’t beat yourself up just because the children can’t get a grasp of all of your lesson. Just relax and enjoy their spontaneity and candor.
  • Don’t punish..do reward..use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior, if you use punishment to correct bad behavior ,the child will only turn against you.
  • Don’t get mad; do understand – instead of getting angry at a child for an inappropriate behavior, try to understand why the child acted a certain way.  It may help you to find a solution to keep it from re-occurring.
  • Don’t teach; do inspire – teach is what you do with a classroom of tired, middle-age businessmen. Be an inspiration to young children to learn and think for themselves. Who knows? You may have the future in your class..
  • Don’t correct; encourage – if a child makes a mistake, instead of saying ‘ that’s wrong’ ,try saying ‘ that was good,but let’s try it this way ‘
  • Don’t  frown ; smile – frown and the word frowns at you, smile and the word smiles with you..

Some words about children

  • Children tell their parents everything . Make sure that the children only have reasons to tell good things to their parents about you.
  • Children imitate adults. Always show your best for them to imitate. There is no such thing as a ‘ problem child ‘ a child’s bad behavior is always  learned from watching an adult, especially a teacher. Children don’t know any better. Don’t blame or punish them for something that they probably don’t know is wrong or bad..
  • Treat every child equally. Children notice favoritism, no matter how minimal.  Try to make everyone feel that they are all equally important.
  • Treat the children as if each child was your own. You shouldn’t want your child being taught by someone grumpy and indifferent . Unlike adults, young children do not want much from them. All they want is your love and attention.  Give it to them unconditionally.  And who knows? You may not only be making him or her a better person,but you may also be making this crazy world of ours a better place to live..

I hope you like this.

Mido Farid

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Richard Graham

I'm on a mission to make education Genki—fun, exciting, and full of life! Genki English has now been researched by Harvard University and licensed by the British Council around the world. The results have been magical! Now I'm here to help you teach amazing lessons, with all the materials prepared for you, and to double your teaching income so you can sustainably help many more students in the future!

17 Responses to “Mido’s Thoughts on Teaching Children”

  1. SeeSaw Sallie

    I agree with ALL of this.

  2. Liza

    A timely reminder and something I’ve had to remind myself to focus on recently, especially with some difficulties in one particular class.

  3. Resther

    I agree with all of this too. Children love singing and dancing. I´m a Spanish English teacher and I try to motivate my pupils with songs.

  4. Liesl

    I teach both children and adults, including tired middle-aged businessmen, and I think Midos’s rules can apply to both!! I’m going to paste his rules on my wall to remember them everyday!

  5. Nathalie

    This is all SO VERY TRUE! Inspiring, that’s what we’re doing! My youngest student are only 3 years old, but they learn so quickly. They especially repeat the things I say, lik Clap your hands! or Turn around!
    I really LOVE teaching ESL with the younger ones!

  6. Emmanuelle


    I just wanted to say that teaching might be a way to earn one’s life, but great teaching is when you do it almost as a leisure, meaning : something you do for the fun of it.
    I do have troubles though.
    I am not quite convinced yet what the best behaviour is with ” challenging ” kids.
    I have a little group of 4 kids, one is most of the time messing around. He is 6 yo. He yells instead of singing, runs or becomes silly when miming or dancing, doesn’t focuse much…
    So sometimes i try to praise him when he behaves. WHich I don’t do much for the 3 others.
    I try to congratulate him and ask him to help me. But then, what about those with positive behaviour?
    Something that I hate doing but works with them is counting/ deleting points depending on their behaviour. At the end of class, they get to fish 1/2/3 cards depending on their points( kids love some “collector” cards!)
    It works but i don’t like it too much. Plus i don’t have that much money to spend on items. Now that i don’t have those cards anymore they beg me to do this fishing game again…
    Around Halloween they could get lollipops or candies if they behaved. But really, I can’t do that all the time. What do you think?

  7. sussie

    Wonderful! It sums everything up in a great way and it’s so important to remember, especially when you’re having problems with a class or a specific child, that it’s not their fault!
    Thanks Mido and Richard for sharing.

  8. Gumby

    Mido, this was very inspirational and really underscores the importance of seeing and accepting the children for who they are and helping them see who they can become! Thank you very much for sharing.

  9. mido farid

    all these ideas i got during my teaching for 8 years in china.im trying to give what i know to help all the teachers
    i hope they are useful

  10. Heike

    Thanks for the thoughts. Teaching children is not my favourite thing to do, but the comments inspired me to be less frustrated and angry. I’ll try to be more positive and give the kids reasons to talk well about me. There’s ALWAYS room for improvement 🙂 Thanks again.

  11. mido

    hi teachers
    i hope any one read my games leave a comment
    coz i still have lots of ideas im going to send them to genkienglish
    hope to hear from u soon

  12. Zwina

    Thank you Mr Mido We need your advice

  13. Susan K

    Wonderful advice! Thanks for sharing your experiences, Mido. I must remember to give lots of praise for doing homework, otherwise it starts to slide.

    When I’m doing games, the children often make suggestions and I allow them to have input in the lesson and ask which activities they liked and didn’t like. I think they feel more positive about lessons because of this.

  14. Annika

    I started teaching adults and teenagers which was fine, especially hearing their ideas about life etc. But then the school needed a temp for kindergarten and grade one class… Now I don’t want to teach adults at all: with kids I get to play, sing and dance all day!

    I have two classes of 2.5 to 5 year olds, and one class of 5-7 year olds. Because I am in any one class only one period, my job is but teach the kids the alphabet and a bit of blending with the older ones. You might think that is boring, but it is actually fun. And of course, I do break up the lesson with other games and activities.

    I don’t believe in learning to write letters, tracing them, before a child can pick up the pen and hold it without using the whole fist, so I never give them anything that involves pen and paper for the younger ones. I do ‘air writing’ though, using ‘writing fingers’ (the three fingers that we use to hold the pen) or they can trace letters with their “writing fingers” or “magic fingers”. Kids often like doing that. I reward those kids who try, no matter what the result is, by stamping their hand. The trouble is that some kids are so proud having a stamp that they don’t wash their hands even at home! when they see me taking the stamp out, suddenly even the least interested kid wants to join in.

    Even with the older children I use cardboard cutouts I have printed on paper and then glued on the inside of serial box for blending practice: this way the child does not have to struggle with the reading bit but can concentrate on the reading / choosing the right letters for spelling activity.

    When they get a bit wild or after doing an activity and I want them to focus of me, I start chanting “One, two, buckle my shoe…” and I’ve got them. They don’t all join in straight away, but there is always one kid that starts shouting the rhime and then the others join – by the end they are all chanting it. But if I think the kids’attention isn’t there 100% I ask them to do it again. All I do is to put up the number of fingers, to pace them and the kids do the rest, or I might do the actions to show I’m with them and reinforcement.

    For me this rhyme works best of the ones I’ve tried. New class usually remembers it very quickly, possibly because it has such a strong chanting rhythm, even if they haven’t got a clue what all the words are.

    I think that very young children should learn to speak first and learning to read and write should be saved for when they can speak about everyday things in their world: just like native children can speak quite a complex language and use simple grammar, before they go to school. Ideally it would be like that at any age, but realistically speaking, I think the time to bring in text is when the child has had a year of two at school.

    What do you think? At what age we should start teaching reading and writing to kids learning English as a foreign language?

    To me, learning to write or spell by writing this way is a waste of time and I see how kids handwriting deteriorates after after a few repetitions into unintelligible scribble because their hand gets tired and their mind starts to wonder They very soon learn to “rationalise” their work into a mindless automation. For example, instead of writing the word “cat” six times, the students write 6 x C, then 6 X a after C and finally 6 x t at the end of the string: the student hasn’t once thought of the word cat, or had any mental image and if you stop her middle of the exercise what is the word they are writing, you get blank looks: she hasn’t any idea.

    Do you think tracing pages and pages of letters or words has any merit? Is there a better way?

    What about giving homework? I think that giving too much homework kills the fun from learning but some parents complain if the child has no homework every day or that only one page or whatever isn’t enough. What do you do/say?

  15. Richard

    Hi Annika,

    I’m sure Mido will get to you with his thoughts too, and here are mine for the time being!

    What do you think? At what age we should start teaching reading and writing to kids learning English as a foreign language?

    Just like you say, when they can speak about everyday things first!

    Do you think tracing pages and pages of letters or words has any merit? Is there a better way?

    No merit! 🙂 And the better way is a good phonics programme, for example you can see the Genki one here: http://genkiphonics.com

    What about giving homework? I think that giving too much homework kills the fun from learning but some parents complain if the child has no homework every day or that only one page or whatever isn’t enough. What do you do/say?

    As long as it’s as fun, and as educational, as the main lessons then go for it. Interactive homework is always better than paper for the kids, although it’s always good to have some paper just so the parents can see what the kids have been studying! But yes, too much homework, or too boring homework kills everything!

  16. haneen

    you are right…the children learn from the teacher and we should be a role model to him.

    your ideas touch the reality and it`s happen in the class.

    thanks for sharing us your thoughts…it is really work

  17. Adriana

    Excellent suggestions, awesome games…thank you so mucho Mido!

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