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Teach English in Qianji - Huai'an Shi
Savannah Bruch TEFL Course Essay Feb. 6, 2020 Teachers are some of the greatest influencers in the world and have the potential to impact many lives through their jobs, but in order for that to happen they have to be properly equipped and knowledgeable of who they are teaching and how best to do that. In this essay I will share about young learners and adult learners, their differences and similarities and highlighting both the advantages and obstacles that teachers could face in each group.This topic is important to me because I believe as teachers we should always be prepared for whatever teaching environment we step into, and most likely this will change as we go throughout life, so for this reason it’s necessary we learn how to work with all types of students and know how to best encourage them on their journey of discovering the English language. Before we start analyzing what teaching young learners looks like, lets define who exactly this applies to. Young learners range anywhere from preschool age to teenagers in high school, including the primary and elementary school in-between. In each of these different age ranges, the students will be growing and changing through the normal human development process; Their attention span and self awareness in the classroom will also change. When dealing with young learners, there are multiple reasons why teaching them can be seen as easier rather than harder. Some examples are: They have the ability to grasp information more fully and at a quicker pace; they are more willing to speak up in class and are not as afraid to be embarrassed, excluding the teenage stage; the high energy they bring to the classroom means interactive lessons are well-received; and lastly they are concerned about winning the teachers approval, so even using a rewards system can go a long way in motivating them. Even though they can be a fun class to teach, there are also a few obstacles to be aware of. For example: High energy, though beneficial, also means a shorter attention span and a need for more activities, more often; they are usually less motivated to learn because they have been forced to learn English; and they are usually more sensitive as they are growing up, a lot of positive feedback and praise is necessary to help them feel encouraged as they are learning. In the short amount of time that I have worked with teaching children english, I would agree that young learners can be some of the most rewarding, but also the most challenging of students. When a child is being forced to learn English, whether in school or by the parents, the best thing a teacher can do is get to know the student well, and plan activities and lessons based around the likes and dislikes of that particular child. It is the same in the classroom- however, one must choose not based on the interests of the individual student, but the classroom as a whole. In a group of adult learners, the age group varies yet isn’t as crucial to consider as it is when dealing with young learners. However, adults could be put into different categories such as business English students compared to general English, as well as ranging from beginner to advanced levels. As we looked at the positive aspects of teaching young learners, we will also do the same with this group. This group is exciting to teach because: they are usually highly motivated to learn since they probably chose to study English for themselves; they have more years of life experience, which means they have a lot to share and offer with the class; and as adults they tend to have a longer attention span which helps them to focus for longer periods of time. Although adults can be easier to teach than young learners, the teacher will also face obstacles with this group. Some examples include: they can be more shy to speak up because they are more self-aware and nervous; they can have a harder time learning and retaining information compared to younger learners and they may have bad experiences of learning in the past, which, if brought into the classroom, may make it harder on the teacher or other students. In my own teaching experience I have only worked one-on-one with adult students. Compared to children, they are much more amiable to work with because you aren’t forcing them to learn, which means lessons go more smoothly and homework is usually always brought back completed. It’s important to know as a teacher no matter the difficulties you may face, the positive moments will always out way the negative, and we as teachers have the ability to create that positive experience for our students. The role of a teacher can be a very strong impact in every student's life, no matter which age group they may work with. The best thing a teacher can do is make their students feel respected and comfortable in the learning environment, while getting to know them, their various learning needs, and being ready to walk alongside them in their journey.