JoLIE 9:1/2016


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Zhivka Ilieva

Shumen University, Bulgaria





When educating student teachers it is a good idea to apply approaches applicable with their future audience. The students are introduced to communicative approach through information gap activities, discussions, role plays. They have the opportunities to see that more effective communicative activities happen during or as a result of project work which leads us to task-based learning. Another post-communicative approach is the lexical approach. Students are introduced to phrases. They are taught to pay attention to the context and co-text and not to learn or teach words in isolation. Since they are going to teach children we use colourful mind maps and invent lexical activities that will be attractive for young learners. Work on the lexical approach is connected to computer assisted language learning. The students are taught to check the readability indices through various free on-line instruments, one of which suggests the phrases that have to be simplified or substituted in order to make the text easier.

This way the future young learners’ teachers learn to adapt texts for their classroom. Extensive reading is another approach useful for the teachers of young learners. Our students have the task to read at least 15 children’s books, to keep a diary and to be able to discuss this activity, the books, and possible activities for young learners based on these books. This variation of extensive reading gives them books ready to be used in the classroom and when the team work in the group is successful they exchange books and ideas and enlarge their bank of materials and activities.

Storytelling is widely used in children’s native language development. Stories set a familiar context in which we can introduce new words and structures, reinforce, practice or summarise material. Stories can be presented or acted out in various ways activating different types of memory and intelligence. Stories and picture books provide opportunities for cross-curricular links which is very important in the young learners’ classroom. So stories are a way of realizing the cross-curricular or integrative approach.

Last but not least, children like movement and action. They love action songs, rhymes and stories which are an instrument in TPR. Therefore young learners’ teachers have to be introduced to such materials. And although they do not have a short attention span, we have to do short activities from time to time paying attention to the fact that children need them and encouraging the student teachers to invent their own variations of these activities. Using this mixture of activities and approaches we teach them to apply creativity with young learners.

The presentation suggests approbated activities for teacher training and ideas applicable with young learners.


Key words: Communicative approach; Context and co-text; Computer assisted language learning; Storytelling.





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How to cite this article: Ilieva, Zh. (2016). Approaches in the education of young learners’ foreign language teachers. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 9(1), 47-64. DOI:



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[1] This article is published with funding from project RD-08-143/08.02.2016, Scientific Research Fund of Shumen University, Bulgaria.