Teach English in Shebotu Zhen - Tongliao Shi

Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Shebotu Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Tongliao Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.

In this summative task I will write a short essay about the main differences between teaching young learners and teaching adults based on the knowledge I have gained during my TEFL course. Learners above the age of 18 are considered adult students, while young learners are categorised under three groups. Very young learners are pre-school children under the age of 7, pre-puberty learners range from 8 to 12 years old, while students above 13 are classified as the early teenage learner. As a generalisation that applies to the whole of the young learners group, even if to different degrees depending on the sub-category, the characteristics that define an appropriate teaching approach include a shorter attention span than that of adult students and an openness to experiment with new sounds and language, but at the same time a heightened self-consciousness and a problematic relation to self-motivation as well. In my understanding the difference between teaching young learners as opposed to adult students is not so much about using completely different teaching methods, rather than placing a different emphasis on teaching techniques that essentially apply to both adults and young learners. Children take on a particular position as students, where the classroom context is to some extent the continuation of the family setting, placing the teacher temporarily in the role of a parent or caregiver. In the case of small children, learning a new language aligns with the process of learning to speak, and as such repetition, a slower delivery of speech, a higher pitch and exaggerated intonation are essential elements of facilitating language growth for the second language as well. When it comes to pre-puberty and teenage groups, the most important difference in the attitude of the teacher lies in the importance of giving approval and, especially regarding teenagers, managing the students’ motivation. The teacher’s role gains primary importance here. Among the various roles a competent TEFL teacher is expected to assume during class, there are certain roles that gain more relevance when it comes to teaching children. As young students have a shorter attention span and a curiosity that is more innate and vivid, but also more difficult to maintain than in the case of adults, the teacher as a participant livening up class activities may be more important for young students, than a teacher as a tutor or facilitator, who is there to help with individual tasks. Similarly, the teacher as a model for the use of English might be more useful for young learners than a teacher assuming the role of the observer or an assessor. As class discipline is an issue that tends to be more problematic in the case of young learners, the role of the organiser and manager/controller is also something that gains emphasis over other roles of a teacher. Leading the activities and giving instructions, organising the students’ space and time are essential in dealing with learners of a high energy level. Apart from these distinct roles, the personality of the teacher is also something that is perhaps more relevant when it comes to teaching children, having a major effect on discipline and in dealing with potential problems in a class of young learners, such as peer pressure, attention seeking, or boredom. Similarly to putting different emphasis on certain teacher’s roles depending on the age of the students, and thus arriving to a specific idea of a good teacher in the case of young learners, the definition of a good learner also articulates itself with variations for children and adults. A willingness to listen to and experiment with language, curiosity and an active attitude, and openness to new methods and correction are the things that essentially make for a good student. Both young and adult learners have the potential to display these qualities, however their learning experiences articulate themselves based on different factors. Generally adults tend to have more defined expectations towards a new learning experience based on their background, although it might be easier for a teacher to connect with adults due to their life experience and potential common conversation topics. On the other hand, children are open to new methods and approaches, and tend to be less nervous about failure and performance. The most important difference though, is the question of motivation. Adults have their own reasons to enrol in a language class, whether it is for future career prospects, travel purposes, to increase their grades or rate of success at exams, or to communicate with friends and colleagues, perhaps settle in an English speaking country. In the case of young learners however, the most important source of motivation is the teacher, so an extensive effort has to be made to spike and maintain children’s and young learners’ enthusiasm. As far as I am concerned, this can be best achieved by applying the Engage-Study-Activate teaching method in a way that allows for prolonged periods of the Engage and Activate phase, placing a greater emphasis on these than in the case of class of adults. Presenting a set of dynamic, frequently varying and engaging activities, learning through drawing, colouring, playing games and using props such as objects, pictures and flash cards are effective ways to sustain the attention of the pupils and preserve a disciplined atmosphere in class.