The Importance of Different Students’ Profiles
Every student requires something different to learn English successfully. Aside from one-on-one lessons, teachers usually will not have the time to dedicate extensive attention to each student, though. Not every English-learner will be given a unique lesson catered to their needs. However, teachers can develop plans that fit best for general types of students based on their profiles. Factors such as students' age, language level, and motivation for learning helps teachers identify a student profile and thus develop the best lessons to get them engaged.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jake E. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
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Beginner students may have never encountered English before, or their English skills are very limited. Teachers ought to be especially patient with beginners. Those just starting should be encouraged to produce English often, without fear of correction. Getting them to talk is more important than cutting in to correct every mistake, for example. Corrections ought to be directed toward significant language points, or significantly recurring errors.
Meanwhile, more advanced students might desire more frequent and nuanced corrections. While speaking exclusively in English may be the classroom rule, it makes more sense to be lenient with beginner students in instances like them explaining assignments to one another. Teachers need to assess students’ language levels from the start to fairly and effectively instruct and give feedback. This aspect of a student’s profile is indispensable.
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Children and young students likewise demand different instruction than adult learners do. Visual aids are especially important for children, as are language games and other fun activities. Kids with lots of energy require dynamic lessons that can continually stimulate them. Adult learners should be given interesting lessons, of course, but maybe able to handle more intensive studying or longer English conversations, for example.
Teenage students fall somewhere between these extremes. Additionally, the lesson content should be relevant to the students’ ages. Children will not be very stimulated by a worksheet on finance vocabulary, while adults may find childish lessons to be patronizing or a waste of time. Teachers ought to imbue creativity and flexibility into their lessons no matter the students’ ages. But special attention should be given to the age profile of English learners.
Relatedly, every English learner has his or her motivation for studying. Or, some students may not have any motivation at all, outside of being forced to take English classes. Frequently, adults will have specific motivations for studying, like acquiring the skills for international business or travel. Meanwhile, teenagers who haven’t chosen to study English may need extra encouragement from the teacher to feel motivated.
Of course, some young students will be very interested, and teachers should identify why they are excited to learn. Knowing students’ interests from the beginning will help teachers design the most relatable and enjoyable lesson plans for the course. To this end, teachers should find out why motivated students care, and what other things unmotivated students like to do. Each student may not be able to have an entire lesson specially catered toward him or her. But, developing a profile of students’ different motivations will go a long way.
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Students’ ages, existing English abilities, and reasons for studying are fundamental for teachers to know. These are only three factors that could go into a broad student profile; nationality and native language, for example, are also hugely important. By taking into account these basic information, teachers will have more success in planning lessons and flexibly adapting them on the fly. Most importantly, it’s key to engaging students in their English classes.
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