This week we continue discussing teaching strategies to help our English Language Learners. Keep in mind that these strategies are a help to ALL children and are good ways to assist children who may not have background knowledge and school skills. These two strategies are different and may be used depending on your class and the topics you are presenting. They are Total Physical Response and The Silent Way.
Total Physical Response
Children can learn language when they listen to and follow along with an adult’s speech. The key is that the adult must use many gestures and facial expressions to talk with children. Children can merely watch and participate using their bodies, without any oral responses. This helps children feel less pressure to speak. They can respond in a physical way, which is so appropriate for preschoolers. An example of this might be to talk about elephants by using your arm as a trunk, your hands as ears, making an elephant sound, and showing pictures of foods elephants eat. Children can then pretend to be elephants, without any pressure to describe an elephant.
The Silent Way
When we give children a train of unifix cubes in a pattern, with a tub of cubes to continue this pattern, we can think of this as being an example of The Silent Way. Adults should give as little direction as possible and let children explore and discover new concepts on their own. Adults might use gestures and gestures, but little language is used. Children can experiment, without the need to process teacher direction. This helps children develop important concepts and encourages self-reliance.
NAEYC - 2.D.01 & 03.
Head Start - VIII.A. & B.