in: Teaching English to Young Learners an activity based guide for prospective teachers, Gürsoy,E. ve Arıkan Arda, Editor, Eğiten Kitap, Ankara, pp.1-20, 2011
Teaching children anything requires some expertise and special education. Therefore, in contrast to laymen’s thinking, teaching children is not a child’s play. In fact, understanding what is happening during the process of any child’s play demands a good understanding of child development.
That is, teachers and teacher candidates should have an in depth knowledge about child development. Here the term child development refers to child’s cognitive, intellectual, psychological, linguistic and physiological development. As language teachers, we cannot ignore factors related to non-linguistic development. We need to adopt a holistic view of child development. In this vein, a teacher education programme is required to include courses which are expected to foster student teachers’ (STs) understanding of how children think and learn.
Within the programme, these courses are expected to complement to one another. In some cases, topics they cover may overlap. However, ultimately they aim one thing: qualifying STs to teach English to young learners. In Turkey, English Language Teaching departments do not specifically prepare teacher candidates to teach a particular age group. For this reason, the course called Teaching English to Young Learners is the only one which could be taught with a specific age group in focus.