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My top 10 tips for Teaching English to French Kids

Introducing a child to a new language may seem complicated but it doesn’t have to be. By creating a fun and enthusiastic environment, and applying tailored techniques, you can help children fall in love with the English language and benefit from all the advantages that it has to offer.

Ever wondered how to make the most out of a teaching session? We asked one of our English sisters to let us in on some of her secrets...

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Hi, I'm Joey. I'm a native English speaker from the United States and have been working with children for over five years. I spent the past three years teaching English to French children here in Lyon, both with private families and through My English Sister.

I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, in the heart of the Midwest, and have always been interested in learning and teaching languages. When I’m not working, I am a student at University Lyon 2 in the English literature and translation department.

Without any further ado, here are my top tips for teaching English to French children.

Use the child's personal interests to engage them

Just like adults, children are individually different and have their own specific interests and passions. By finding out those interests, you can create a personal connection with your student that will encourage them to communicate.

If the child likes superheroes, try to incorporate that into the lesson. For example you can read a book about superheroes and identify the verbs that are used or use pictures of superheroes to work on describing physical characteristics.

Use French to explain games & activities

Games and activities are a great way to create a fun atmosphere when teaching a language. It is key, however, to appreciate that the children you teach are typically beginners in English and will need guidance in French in order to understand the rules and instructions.

You can ensure that the child will be able to follow along by preparing yourself before the session by researching terms and vocabulary in French.

Start each lesson with a fun game or activity

Games and activities are fun tools that can be useful for both adults and children alike, when learning a language. By creating challenges and setting goals, games and activities help kids stay motivated to learn and allows them to be proud of their accomplishments.

By starting a lesson with a game or activity, you are both setting a routine and reinforcing the child’s enthusiasm to learn.

Stay positive with jokes & banter

One of the elements that the children I work with enjoy the most, is when I joke around and keep things light-hearted.

Learning English should be a positive experience. For example I once explained to a student how, when I was learning French I often got the words serviette and assiette mixed up, we both laughed about it and it allowed them to see that making mistakes is a normal part of learning a language.

Know how to adapt your teaching methods

There is no “right way” to learn a language. Acquiring a language is a process that involves figuring out the teaching style that best suits the individual and is not a one-size-fits-all format.

Some people are visual learners while others might be verbal, physical or social. There are several different types of learners and it’s important to introduce a variety of methods in order to help your student improve their knowledge and gain confidence.

Encourage creativity

Use a variety of materials and mediums in your lessons.

Work with your student to make activities creative and fun so that the lesson will be both memorable and entertaining.

Come prepared

It's better to have too much material than too little.

While we never want to overload a child with too much work, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. You may be surprised to find that a lesson that was supposed to last a few hours is sometimes wrapped up ahead of time.

Take breaks when needed

It’s natural for anyone to become overwhelmed when learning something new, and children are no exception to that.

Be patient and be understanding of the child’s limits. If they seem too tired or are unable to focus, take a break and come back to the lesson later on. It's important that their experience is a positive one, which can't be done unless we stay in tune with the child's needs, both physical and mental.

Collaborate with the parents

Parents play a huge role in helping children develop their foreign language skills. I’ve found that checking in with parents and asking about the child’s performance in school, can help me adapt what I’m teaching to fit their individual needs. We are not with these children 24/7, so it’s important that we listen to parents and take into consideration their comments and observations.

Listen to the child's ideas and opinions

You may be surprised by the great ideas a child can come up with. By allowing them to have a voice in their own learning, you can empower and help them build confidence, and develop leadership skills.

Take the child’s feedback into consideration when planning future lessons in order to fully maximize their learning potential.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching English to French children and I recommend it to anyone, regardless of their age, sex or experience.

Teaching has allowed me to share my culture, language, and skills with a young audience. It's fascinating contributing to the development of the next generation. I enjoy seeing them get excited about learning new words and phrases, as well as seeing them build confidence in their abilities.

It has taught me to be flexible as a teacher and led me to become a more patient and understanding person.

Children never hesitate to correct me when I make mistakes in French and while slightly embarrassing, it has helped me to improve and relate to their struggle. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience that allows you to see the language from a new, unique, perspective.

If you're thinking about teaching, but scared to make the first step, I encourage you to go for it.

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Christiann Davis
Christiann Davis
Dec 19, 2021

Thank you Joey for a very insightful and encouraging blog. I am a British ex pat living in the French speaking Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe. I have been teaching English to children privately one-to-one and in small groups for about 7 years. I also taught adults part-time at a language institution for 9 months. I have a college degree but not yet a TEFL qualification. That is my goal for next year. I am always looking for ways of improving my teaching skills so your blog helped me in that respect.

Suha Karnib
Suha Karnib
Feb 05, 2023
Replying to


I would like to know if there are any workshops on how to teach french students the english language? .

I have the degree but not the experience

Thank you

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