Teach English in Daxing Zhen - Suqian Shi

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I’ve been teaching English as a second language to different levels of students for several years. Their age ranges from 5 to 50. I’ve noticed quite a few differences between the learning modes of adults and younger learners, thus teaching methods can vary greatly. Firstly, the expectation of adults and younger learners are quite different. For most of the younger students, they have little interest in the content and teaching methods as long as the teacher keep them busy and motivated. They will follow the teacher’s guidance and do the activities they are asked to do. Therefore, when teaching younger learners, a teacher should design several short activities that are both fun and educative in order that the teacher can achieve teaching goals while keep the students motivated. However, adult students focus more on the content and method of teaching and how the teacher can help them absorb the knowledge more quickly and easily. They will compare different teachers and choose the one that is most suitable for them. Thus, when teaching adults, a teacher has to gain their trust and convince that their study efficiency will be guaranteed. Secondly, the motivation can vary greatly. Adults are more likely to be motivated than young learners. This is because most of the adults choose to learn English according to their own will, while children are sometimes forced to take the lessons by their parents or school. I’ve come across teenagers who refused to give any response in the class because their parents sent them to language school against their will. This may lead to low enthusiasm and low efficiency of learning. So one vital role of a teacher when teaching is to motivate children through fun games and activities, as well as helping the kids to build their confidence through compliment. For adults, most of them are pretty clear about their aims of language learning. They learn English either because of their job requirement or their personal interest. Some of them can be really diligent and determined, and they are usually happy to do homework. Therefore, when facing adult students, the most important thing is to meet their requirement whether it is to fulfill their needs to communicate with foreign clients or to help them become a skilled language learner. Thirdly, the life experience of the two groups are of great difference. This means that even if they are at the same level, they cannot be taught with the same method. Younger learners have less life experience than adults, so they see the world differently. They are more likely to response to direct and simple instructions, and the teacher has to break down a complex instruction into several steps. For instance, if a teacher wants the students to take notes, he or she will have to ask them to take out the notebook, look at the board, and write down what’s on it. So a teacher should deliver instructions clearly and slowly with a lot of repetition. In comparison, adults don’t need to much instruction to achieve simple goals. However, they may have a lot on their minds besides learning English and they are more likely to bring the stresses and problems outside the classroom with them. Therefore, when teaching adults, a teacher should arrange activities like discussion and debate to prompt independent thinking and help them focus on the class. Finally, with regard to discipline, it’s pretty obvious that children are less likely to sit still for a long time. They come to class with great energy and curiosity. Therefore, the teacher need to set a reward and punishment system to regulate them. In the mean time, games and activities should be changed up frequently due to their short attention spans in order to maintain their high energy level. For adults, while it won’t be a problem to keep discipline, various teaching techniques should be applied, for example, using visual aids like videos, films, pictures, to maintain their attention. Also, activities such as discussion and pair work should be included to establish rapport and build confidence. Though there may be various differences between the learning modes of adults and younger learners, a teacher should teach them with passion and proficiency, encourage communication and authentic language use, and maintain a welcoming atmosphere in the class.