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Differentiating Teaching Based on Learner’s Maturity

Differentiating Teaching Based on Learner’s Maturity | ITTT | TEFL Blog

For this task, I have selected learning modes: Young learners v.s. Adults. When teachers are instructing students, they should first think about how to instruct them using the best methodologies to make learning best or what factors or aspects of learning they should consider for their classes, such as student motivation, previous learning experience, language awareness, behavior problems that could arise in class and the students’ life experiences. All of the above factors can be divided by many different students, but it has been shown in this course that these facets are predominantly divided by young learners.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Heejeong K. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Teaching Approach

In class, teachers can use different activities to motivate students to learn the languages, such as songs and chants. However, adults can be cautious or nervous about certain kinds of activities in the classroom, so these types of activities can be intimidating or embarrassing once the learner is older. In contrast to adults, songs and chants are used a lot for young learners and they are effective as a tool to assist them, in addition to other strategies, to learn the language. Even though songs and chants are effective, the teacher should consider how to use the songs and chants depending on age groups for young learners, for example, movement with singing can cause older YL students to feel embarrassed. Furthermore, the teacher should not merely have a song or chant in their lesson for simply the sake of having one; they should first consider if it is effective to motivate this group and if there is meaning in the song or chant choice.

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Adult Students

Adults have already acquired their 1st language and they have also had previous experiences learning, this leads them to want to match the new language to their native language and this could lead to problems; however, younger learners are more likely to be able to absorb language from context and usage in much the same way as they acquired their language. Due to this fact, teaching young learners requires setting up various learning opportunities where students are in an immersed learning environment facilitated by the instructor.

Adults are more mature than young learners, so their behavioral problems are also lower than young learner’s issues. However, adults can have potential problems which young learners might not have, such as feeling internal pressures trying to conduct their lives and other outside factors which can also enter the classroom and negatively affect their ability to learn. For this reason, a teacher should be caring to all learners, as they do not know the background or personal life of the learners and what burdens they may carry into class each day.

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Teaching Plan

Teachers should always carefully plan their lessons considering all the influences on learning because all of these aspects should be differently approached in class. Also, the relationship between learners and teachers is very important to solve many problems which could be caused by these influences, for instance motivating a student(s) to be more interested in studying English, so teachers need to make an effort to know their students and keep them motivated and focused on the class, in addition to having a good lesson plan. Finally, when teachers try to make a good relationship with students and also try to develop a rapport in the class with each student, they can have successful students, too. This is all-important in teaching, regardless of the student’s age, but should still be regarded as integral teaching.

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To sum it all up, student’s learning can be greatly influenced by their age and their willingness to learn. Teachers must strive to create a positive and respectful learning environment where the learner’s ability and preferences are considered. Additionally, the way a teacher interacts with their student(s) while instructing the class and their rapport with all students, while considering their learning readiness, will make all the difference in their ability to reach all learners. Generally, the age of the students must be considered to be effective while teaching different groups of students.

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