Russian and English are two languages that have more differences than similarities. Some of these differences will be difficult for a child of either country to grasp. Thus, when it comes to teaching children a foreign language, you must go slow, demonstrate or act out all every concept before you write it on the blackboard, and use pictures extensively.
Teach the alphabet slowly. The English alphabet and the Russian alphabet have some similar letters. Some of these letters look the same and sound the same. Some of these letters look the same and sound completely different. For example, the English "y" makes an "oo" sound in Russian.
Use bright pictures when teaching the alphabet. For every letter you teach, have a picture of a word that begins with that letter. For example, for the letter "b" you can show the students pictures of balloons, boats, or bananas. Make sure that the English spelling is printed underneath the picture.
Start with greetings. Teach the children "hello" and "hi" by walking into the classroom and waving. Teach "good-bye" and "bye" by walking out of the classroom door and waving. Don't give them Russian equivalents.
Introduce the verb "to be." The Russian language doesn't have the verb "to be" in the present tense, so this might be a difficult concept for them to understand. Start by acting out simple concepts like "I am cold" or "I am tired" or "I am a teacher" or "You are a student" or "You are a boy" or "She is a girl."
Put the verb form of "to be" on the board just for the present tense, once you feel that the students understood the concepts you acted out in Step 4. Given them a short gap-fill exercise checking their understanding of this concept.
Teach them the questions "What are you?" and "What is that?" Put them into pairs and have them ask each other those questions using things they see around the room.
- "Teaching English to Children: Interactivity and Teaching Strategies;" Yvette Coyle, Mercedes Verdú, Marisol Valcárcel; 2002
Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."