5 Easy Ways to Help Boys Learn English

1. Don’t force them to join the group!

2. Keep your voice bright and upbeat!

3. Include them with thumbs up and high-fives!

4. As soon as one catches your eye, draw him into the group.

5. Move quickly from each activity!

The above tips may help you when you are faced with a room full of boys! Some may say that all children are the same or there aren’t any differences. Well, I beg to differ! Our first session at Genki Kids had about 14 kids. Most of them were girls.  All of the girls stood in the front of the room. They listened and they tried to speak in English. Even the girls who were shy stayed in the front and gave it a go.  On the other hand, the boys were all crowded in the back of the room. Some were sliding around on the floor and others were hiding behind each other.

Now, I could have done a few things, I could have demanded that the boys stop fooling around and come to the front. I could have used a stern voice or frowned, but do you think any of those methods would have worked? I hope you are nodding no. Well, I used my voice for good and not evil. I never acknowledged the boys behavior, but focused on the girls and continued smiling and using my eyes to include everyone in the room.  When I saw a few of the boys standing and clapping, I included them with my eyes. I even  pointed to them during the song and gave them a thumbs up.  The boys still remained in the back of the room, but one by one they started coming around.

One thing to remember is that some of the boys may be thinking about going outside to play soccer or baseball.  The girls are more likely to stay indoors and play with one another. They aren’t distracted by the prospect of running around outside.  Try and bring an element of the outdoors inside your classroom.  I don’t mean opening up the windows, but I do mean keeping things fast paced and exciting.  The faster you move, the more they have to keep up.  This goes for all of the kids! If they know that you aren’t going to wait for them to be “shy”, they have a tendency to forget about their shyness!


About Michaela Chatman

Michaela Chatman is the founder of Camp Roadless Summer Visual and Performing Arts Summer Camp based in the Tokyo area. She has taught in Chicago, New York City, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. She has worked with children from ages 5-16. She is a dedicated fan and supporter of the arts. She performs locally in Tokyo with Kaguratei, a blues band. She is an active member in TELL:Exceptional Parents Group, Japan Affiliate of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum (JASCD), Tokyo Investment Group, and Pink Cow Connections Networking Group. For fun she organizes The Tokyo Lovers Pizza Meetup Group.
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