Teach English in Longji Zhen - Suqian Shi

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It is true that every person has a very different way of learning a new language and that depending on the age of the person we can categorise learners into different groups. In general, we can divide students into two groups: children and adult learners. In this essay, we will identify the differences between teaching young students and teaching adult students. Younger learners, in general, have a short attention span and are hard to motivate since they are usually not in the class by choice but because of their parents’ choice. This lack of motivation can also be a problem when it comes to behaviour in the classroom as young students can be tempted to behave badly to impress other classmates or simply because they are bored. However, when it comes to speaking in front of the class and making mistakes when learning a new language, young students tempt not to be very scared nor very nervous when trying and experiment with the new language. These criteria can help teachers adapting to young learners and understand their needs when teaching them English. In order not to bore young students it is important to consider their short attention span when planning the lesson. The lesson should be fun and interactive, a lot of games should be used in order to keep the attention of the students and study phase should not be too long and monotonous to keep them aware and motivated. During the school year, it is important to always switch between different types of activities and use different games in order to keep the children motivated and eager to come to class and participate. Games like memory games, hangman, mimes or slow Pictionary can be used. When teaching younger students, it is important not to have too much teacher-focused time, as the students can get bored very fast and will stop listening. Adult learners, on the other hand, are usually more motivated as they are following this class out of interest or need and chose to be in this class. With adult students, the teacher’s talking time can be a little longer than with younger students as students will be more aware and nervous about speaking the language. With adults students, games can also be used but it would have to take place during the activate phase and not during most of the lesson as they will need to engage phase to take away the shyness and the study phase to get comfortable with the new vocabulary of the lesson in order to feel completely confident during the activate phase and actually talk and try to experiment with the language. Another difference is that with adult students the teacher can be more flexible when it comes to the student’s autonomy, the teacher can decide to put students into groups or pairs and make them work together on a task, and in general, there will not be any behavioural problem. Something else to take into account when teaching adults is that they might come to class after being at work all day, so they might be tired and in that case, it is important to keep them motivated through encouraging them and being positive. Overall, we can say that teaching young students and adults is very different. When young learners are not as scared and aware of speaking and experimenting with a new language, they often lack motivation and attention. Adult students, on the other hand, have high motivation but can be nervous when it comes to speaking and participating in front of the class. Regarding behaviour, adult students are easier to handle as they are independent and will usually do as they are told. Young students will be harder to manage during a lesson as they are not independent and will need constant control to be able to get them to do what the teacher want. Sources: ITTT course https://www.teflcourse.net/blog/teaching-young-learners-vs-adult-learners-the-differences-you-can-expect-ittt-tefl-blog/ http://exploreinstructionaldesign.blogspot.com/2012/12/teachers-should-consider-differences.html