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The Two Most Common Learning Difficulties For English Students

Learning a second language is an adventure, most people find it fascinating. Some people are intimidated, they take a glimpse, and then walk back to the familiar ground; some embark on the journey, but not all of them can truly enjoy the journey that is full of difficulties, some learners quit in the middle of the adventure; thus, only a small amount of people can finally master a second language. Teachers should be able to know what types of difficulty students might face and how to help them deal with these difficulties. In this post, we shall look into two learning difficulties — poor memory and lack of concentration.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Lijie Z.

Poor Memory

Take English learning as an example. Learners, no matter young or old, might have a memory issue, especially when they learn by rote. They forget how to spell a word because they never match the syllables with the spelling; they forget the language points because they never connect them with their daily lives and because they fail to make them into long-term memory. Teachers can spend more time to teach students pronounce and spell syllables; link the language points with picture and real life matters to help students understand and remember. And students need to get the skills of linking the second language in their daily lives by themselves as well.

Adults normally blame their failure in English learning on their poor memory, which is only part of the story. Children indeed have better short-term memory; however, they do forget the knowledge that is not frequently used like the adults do. So the trick in memorizing language points lies in long-term memory. Teachers can use the Forgetting Curve from German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus as a tool in lesson planning and tests setting to give students more exposure to language points. Students should also know the scientific memorizing technique from the very beginning; therefore, they would understand the importance of reviewing.

Also read: 10 Tips for Teaching Grammar to EFL Students Abroad

Lack of Concentration

Distractions interfere with concentration, learners concentrate throughout the class only when they are fully engaged in the whole class. This requires teachers’ good preparation and their ability to adjust when the distraction occurs.

There are several factors that distract students. Young learners tend to have a shorter period of concentration than adults, they get distracted when other things interest them, like a bird, the pattern on teacher’s clothes, even their own figure nails; thus the class for young learners should be shorter and made of more interesting activities than that for adults.

However, adults have more things to worry about, like their jobs, love, and money. They always take the class after work, which means that they are easy to lack concentration due to tiredness. Therefore, a good teacher should be able to make difficult language points simple to learn. Despite the factors from the students’ side, the difficulties in the language points, boring lectures, and inexperienced teaching manners can also be the source of distractions.

Also read: 10 Tips for Teaching Grammar to EFL Students Abroad

Are you ready to teach English abroad?

In order to help students fully concentrate in the class, a good teacher must establish rapport with students at the very beginning; know the students; make specific plans and back-up plans; detect the changes in the class and lighten up the atmosphere. A good teacher should also be a good educator, who focuses on the students’ long term progress. Therefore, teachers need to find out why a student always lose concentration in class and offer a solution to this problem.

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