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The Adult Classroom Compared to The Adolescent Classroom

The Adult Classroom Compared to The Adolescent Classroom | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Both adults and young learners are different age groups. Therefore, when working abroad and teaching adults there are both advantages and disadvantages when compared to young learners.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Emma M.

Advantages of teaching adults

Adults tend to have greater levels of motivation than adolescents which is an advantage over young learners. Teaching and Learning in an adult student classroom ‘behavioral problems are minimal,’ as they are not always completely absent because of their enthusiasm. This is shown through their maturity and concentration. This shows that adults attention spans are higher than children. This enables the classroom to be more relaxed and pleasant. In addition, adults are closer in age to the teacher which gives them the ability to form a closer bond, as they have more of a similarity. This results in the teacher and students having a closer bond than young learners and teachers. According to Unit 2: Teaching and Learning; when teaching adults, they get more of a grasp of the topic without the teacher having to give a lengthy explanation. This is the opposite for young learners, as they do not have prior knowledge and life experiences like young learners.

Also Read: The 5 Best Theories of Learning for ESL Teachers

Disadvantages of teaching adults

However, there are disadvantages when teaching adults compared to young learners. Adults have greater life stresses and responsibilities in life on top of studying. This can cause problems to arise in classroom discussions. According to Unit 2:Teachers and Learners there are more personal issues discusses in the classroom of all adults. Adults can then bring this up in a one on one discussion. This is not ideal when the teacher needs to stick to the lesson plan.

It is stated in Unit 2: Teachers and Learners that when adults are in different groups and management levels adults can be more self-conscious. This can be a result of some adults having difficulties adjusting to being a student again. Whereas young learners don’t need to make this adjustment. Adults maybe learning in everyday life which means when they are in a classroom it is quite a different experience for them. If adults are working full time and also studying English, this can cause them to be quite stressed and anxious. However, young learners can just focus on the Business English course, without job responsibility. Adults may want to come home and rest instead of going to the Business English class. In addition, they might have a work meeting that makes them unable to attend the Business English class.

This is not ideal, as they will get behind in their work and miss crucial information provided in the class. TO prevent this from happening, a planner could be used, so that the adults are organized. This is something young learners don’t have to worry about.

Also Read: Online TEFL Courses vs. Onsite TEFL Courses

Are you ready to teach English to vatious age groups?

Overall, working abroad teaching adults and young learners have the opposite advantages and disadvantages. These can be seen when comparing both groups. When teaching young learners, they tend to have less stress and responsibility than adults which is an advantage. However, when compared to adults they have a lower amount of care, which is a disadvantage. Therefore, both age groups have separate advantages and disadvantages.

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