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The Problems Ukrainian Adult Students Face While Learning English

The Problems Ukrainian Adult Students Face While Learning English | ITTT | TEFL Blog

We live in the age of technical progress and globalization. Both these trends require people to get together, unite, share ideas to come up with new inventions, discover other cultures. This is why thousands of people all over the world take up studying English every day. They turn to language schools, private teachers, speaking clubs or any other resources they can find, excited to start and be able to speak fluently in a year or so. However, reality shows that only half of those students get the result they wanted. So, possible obstacles and complications which face Ukrainian adult students while learning English will be discussed in this essay, possible solutions will be suggested.

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

Emotional Challenges

On the one hand, there are some difficulties which have practically nothing to do with the studying process itself. They are psychological hurdles that wait for students who take up any new activities at a mature age. That is why every teacher must understand that most grown-ups start studying English because they have to do it, which raises a question of motivation. They do it for their job, or future immigration, or any other reason they have. The motivation may seem extremely high at the beginning but then somehow students forget to do their homework, keep making excuses instead of making progress and even give up on studying altogether. The teacher should always keep in mind that adults, unlike kids, have a lot of other things to worry about and English lessons are mostly not a priority for them.

Also Read: Can I teach English abroad without any teaching experience?

Way to Overcome Problems

So, to avoid such problems, the classrooms should become a place where a student can relax and have fun after a difficult working day. It has been proved more than once that our memory is linked with positive emotions, which makes creating a positive, fun atmosphere a requirement for a teacher who wants to make the studying process as resultative as possible. Although it is very important not to overuse creative, engaging tasks as it is still a lesson where students are supposed to learn. Therefore, lack of motivation, tiredness are very common problems that can be avoided using more communicative tasks, games and personalized materials.

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Lack of Proper Approach

On the other hand, English teachers from Ukraine face the methodology problem even if the students are fresh and not depressed by their routine. The methodology problem mentioned before takes its roots deep in the Soviet studying system as at that time all the foreign languages were taught using the native Russian language. The division was 80% L1 to only 20% L2. Unfortunately, this has been a big problem for the teachers as students are not used to thinking in English, the grammar is difficult for them to understand as they do not try to understand it in context but compare to the grammar of their native language. As a result, we teach them to study first, break the studying stereotypes which is extremely difficult because they are not used to this new way and sometimes it can even be too much for a student, especially the older ones.

Also Read: An ESL Student’s View on The Global Status of English

Class Routine Strategy

However, there are always some ways to make the transition more comfortable. It might be a good idea to give the students a list of the new vocabulary for the class in advance, which can boost his confidence. Also, teachers should tell their students that it is normal to use dictionaries, it would be even better if a teacher recommends some trustworthy ones. Moreover, while teaching a lesson with this kind of students a teacher should be ready to mime a lot and always have some visual aids prepared. Therefore, the old translation method of teaching English is difficult to get rid of and lessons for students with such a problem require much planning and preparation.

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To sum it all up, the two biggest problems which face Ukrainian teachers of English are mental obstacles connected with studying something new and the problem of Soviet methodology leftovers. Both problems should be taken into account while teaching students whose native language is Slavic. Nonetheless, teachers’ approach, positive attitude and readiness to solve any problems they face always make English lessons a place students always want to come back to.

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