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.