The Dependence of TEFL Experience on Students’ Age
A learning model is a complex of activities based on the main chosen approach which covers the demand of the group. There are four directions in languages studying: writing, listening, speaking and reading.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Joseph Victoryia D. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Each of them is equally relevant and has its difficulties and tricky moments. To provide students with the sustainable development of their skills, a teacher has to take into consideration several important points: the average age of the group, level of English of the group and classroom arrangement. Being aware of a classroom arrangement helps with understanding of the best choice of equipment (board, tape-recorder, laptop, etc.) and activities (games, role-play, etc.). Understanding the level of a particular group defines a course and, respectively, themes. The average age of the group estimates an approach and methods of teaching. Young and adult students cannot be treated in the same way – it’s a fact.
Usually, children are more active, enthusiastic, curious and impatient. Work with children means a lot of games and entertainment which should cover a lesson theme. They can learn something naturally while having fun. Children control and understand themselves worse, often, do not love their homework and cannot hold attention for a long period (classes can be made longer gradually as the group gets older). Their best side includes a high level of motivation (they are looking for something new every day!), trust (usually they do not have any expectations and rely on the teacher’s experience) and quickness of apprehension (they aren’t afraid of making mistakes and trying something new).
Almost every topic interests children, that liberalize the decision-making process. The first step for every teacher who works with children should be trust-establishing. A teacher has to understand what is going on in a class and with students even if a teacher can do nothing with it (parents’ divorce).
Also Read: How long does a TEFL course take?
Adults, on the other hand, are more conscious and focused but their motivation as usually they attend classes for a specific reason (work, university entering, etc.)and desire to study “today” sometimes depends on out-of-class spheres (work, family) and, of course, being adults means to have some experience and expectation, too. Some of them find the concept of a talking-class difficult to accept because their school or university experience is based on writing and reading only and that is why they still remember something (even through decades) but they could not and cannot speak.
That is a particular problem of the Post-Soviet Union region, for example. Adults are afraid to make mistakes and it keeps them on the same level. To make adult students work harder and become more motivated, a teacher can weave a plan together with the group for both sides to be sure that all aspects of the language will be covered and that the general plan is interesting enough to capture students’ attention. The program should complete the goals of the group whether it is the business English, IT, common language or any other. The essential point to remember is that adults avoid surprises because they are afraid of failure to be consistent with their expectations.
To study a foreign language without their native one is hard for children and adults. Children often mix both languages to express themselves and adults are more tensed. However, using students' native language makes them learn slower and allow looking for a clue from their teacher every time they meet an obstacle.
As for sources, it's almost the same: all students need to hear, read, write and speak to learn any language. Adults should find their way to dictionaries quicker, children normally get sounds easier. Appropriate material will make a process faster and smoother. In any case, language is not a study-in-school-only; quite a big part of work has to be done by students themselves.
Games, songs and exercises are for children only? That is wrong. Laugh is the simplest way to relieve distress and to become more open to a new language. Neither children nor adults like a stressful environment. Children will be happy to touch their noses, cheeks or elbows and learn new difficult vocabulary! Most adults won’t be wanting to create anything all day long, they prefer to get by on tasks corresponding to their daily life. Some educators believe that kids learn best through play. All kinds of activities should be carefully prepared: not too simple and interesting enough for older groups and quite a lot of games for young ones for them not to be bored.
Despite every point described above both children and adults are looking for the teacher's help. A teacher should make sure that students are involved and engaged, they are doers not just spectators. They will need a certain amount of time to absorb a language.
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A teacher has great influence in a class: he/she can build rapport among students, make them participate in the studying process of another person in a class, engage them in the process and teach something new. Studying is not about language issues only but communication. Teacher's good mood, friendly atmosphere and high level of interest from the teacher's and students’ sides will lead everyone to success.
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