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How Teaching English to Young Students Differs from Teaching Adults

How Teaching English to Young Students Differs from Teaching Adults | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Teaching is an exceptional art which allows all human beings to take advantage of the conveyed knowledge. Particularly, the teaching and learning process of English could be successfully accomplished in the case of young learners as well as adults. Both the teacher’s role and several techniques denote essential features to achieve rewarding English learning results.

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

There are two key aspects when it comes to teaching young learners who often are full of energy but lack motivation.

Therefore, communicative activities related to games during the active stage help keep up students’ enthusiasm. Besides, a great deal of diverse warm-ups contributes with engaging students at the beginning of the class and make them lose fear or shyness. On the other hand, classroom management counts a lot since this defines discipline and cooperative learning among pupils. It is up to the teacher how to organize the class; however, it is advisable to pair students up or group them especially for increasing competitiveness and engagement in the activities. Finally, the use of authentic and non-authentic material to complement the content from the course book brings dynamism to the learning environment. The teacher should carefully select not only appropriate material suitable for students’ English level but also teaching aids dealing with technological advances. In fact, young learners’ motivation relays upon the teacher’s attitude and courage to design original, diverse and interactive lesson plans which foster language-acquisition willingness among students that fall into this category.

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Opposed to young learners, adults are eager to get immersed into the English learning process.

Nevertheless, this learners’ type lack energy and time due to home or work responsibilities, so there is an enormous and urgent need to create a lively atmosphere inside the classroom. Real-life situations along with role plays should take part in active stages so grownups associate the use of the foreign language with circumstances which occur in their lives on a daily basis. At the early stage of the lesson, the teachers’ responsibility has to do with building students’ confidence as well as giving them the opportunity to open up their minds and forget about difficulties at work or home, through discussion activities.

Conversely, discipline is not an issue to worry about when teaching adults which does not mean they do not need any type of organization when performing certain tasks. It is the teacher’s job to set up the class to work individually, in pairs or groups and consequently, provide immediate feedback which is a crucial element for adults who tend to ask for the teacher’s comments about their progress. Generally, adults will be used to teacher-centered classes where the only material is the course book. Thus, the educator can take advantage of the professional knowledge of adults and get them to create their own material: for instance, letters, emails, videos, surveys, reviews, articles and so forth. Indeed, adults are the most preferred group by teachers who only require appropriate guidance and flexibility to expose themselves to a different learning experience.

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In conclusion, effective English teaching is likely to be achieved in either young learners or adults thanks to teaching techniques suitable for each type of learner. As teachers, it is also highly- recommended to manage classrooms in concordance with the activity at every stage of the lesson, this ensures teacher monitoring and increases students’ self- awareness. Lastly, resources and materials brought into the class can make the difference between monotony and liveliness into the learning atmosphere.

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