Supporting Outer Motivation of Younger Learners
A common theme that has been present in the 120-hour TEFL course, the 50-hour Business English course and the 50-hours Young Learners course has been that different age groups of students have different expectations of their teacher. Adult learners, for example, have fixed views on teaching and learning styles that they have built off of prior learning experiences. Young learners, on the contrary, typically are open-minded to new learning experiences and teaching methods. Young learners are typically not as motivated to learn English because they may not realize the direct benefits of learning English due to their lack of life experience. To specify, young learners, are anyone between the age of 2 and 13. Young learners ages 9-13 are typically more receptive than the young learners aged 5-9, who have shorter attention spans. Motivated students have a greater chance of success in the classroom. If the teacher makes the classes lively and interesting, it will help build motivation in the classroom and the young learners will be more successful.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Gabrielle N.
When a teacher has a class of students aged 9-13, it may be in their best interest to follow the Standard Communicative Approach, where the lessons are student-centered and the teacher acts as a facilitator. The lessons are taught in English, and there is more verbal repetition and drilling. The most important component of this approach is that the lessons involve a high level of activity and high noise levels with a whole range of activities. This allows the learners to engage and practice while having some variety in their learning. While they do enjoy games and group work and pop music, 9-13-year-olds typically would not enjoy singing, dancing and “pretending.” One way to make the class interesting would be by incorporating pop music, clips from popular TV shows and movies and social media into the lesson.
Like the approach used for 9-13-year-olds, it would also be best to adopt the Standard Communicative Approach for young learners ages 5-9 because it is student-centered. The high-level of activity and high-noise levels make the lessons engaging. A wide range of activities allows these young learners to stay engaged. With short attention spans, this is a crucial component in the lesson execution. These young learners love movement and doing things. Song and dance, pretending and playing games keep them happy. It is difficult for these young learners to stay quiet and stay still; learning has to be fun for them. The teacher needs to create a very active atmosphere where the activities will change constantly. Rhymes and chants, games, storytelling and arts and crafts are all activities that must be incorporated into the lesson if the teacher wants to have a successful lesson.
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In sum, it is clear that different age groups require different teaching approaches in the classroom. Students ages 9-13 like games and talking with their peers. The incorporation of pop music, popular TV shows and movies and social media will keep the class interesting and more importantly, keep the students motivated. Students ages 5-9 also enjoy playing games. They require high levels of activity and love to be moving and singing. By having a wide variety of activities incorporated in the lesson plan, these young learners will be engaged, interested and motivated.
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