“Listen, Do, Repeat, Understand and Remember”:Teaching English to Very Young Children in Aceh

Document Type : Original Article


1 Syiah Kuala University, Indonesia

2 Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia

3 Serambi Mekkah University, Indonesia

4 Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Tarbiyah Darussalam, Indonesia


This qualitative study investigated the methods used in teaching English vocabulary to very young children (i.e. toddlers) at a bilingual school in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Not much research has been published on teaching English to toddlers in the EFL context; therefore, this research is important as the results can become additional input to L2 teachers who teach very young children because by understanding their conditions of learners, teachers can help them reach their full potential as language learners. An observation sheet and a set of interview questions were used to collect data from an English teacher. There was only one teacher who became the participant because the school under study is thus far the only school that provides an English learning environment for children as young as toddlers in the city of Banda Aceh. The class was observed for three class meetings. The results showed that of the four teaching methods observed, the most commonly employed method was Total Physical Response (TPR), followed by Natural Approach (NA), Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and Suggestopedia (SG) as the least. Furthermore, based on the interview with the teacher, it was indicated that TPR and NA were more appropriate for teaching the toddlers English vocabulary. Through TPR, the very young children demonstrated their understanding of commands by responding with simple answers or gestures. In NA, they were situated in a natural environment and not prompted to speak until they felt ready to do so. Additionally, the teacher used no specific textbooks because music, pictures, and authentic materials procured an immense role in supporting the activities in the classroom.