Who Is Easier to Be Taught: a Child or an Adult?
I would like to divide groups of learners into 4 categories: children (from 5 to 12 years old), teenagers (from 12 to 18 years old), adults (from 18 to 60 years old) and seniors (from 60+). I had the chance to teach all of those groups in some points of my life. The conclusion of this experience made me see the major difference in the abilities and motivation among those 4 different groups.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Lara M.
Children are a very nice audience when it comes to preparing fun exercises. They also don’t require detailed knowledge, because they are just at the beginning of their English experience. It is also very likely that they will not question teachers knowledge. At the same time, they have no inside motivation because usually, they don’t understand why they are learning a language and they can’t see far-reaching benefits on learning. That is why the only motivation they see usually tests at school. Nonetheless, if the teacher makes good relationship with them, they will feel motivated by the nice atmosphere to be active and show to the teacher that they care. Unfortunately, kids are very easily distracted and they can’t focus on one task for too long. They also have a tendency to behave disrespectfully because they are not aware of the importance of good behavior.
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Teenagers are usually the most accustomed with hard working and spending a lot of time studying and learning. Most of them have lessons because they are aware of the importance of learning a language for school or for their future. This group knows very well how to focus on studying. Furthermore, they develop their hobbies and interests so very often it is possible to talk with them on a broad variety of interesting topics. Teenagers are sensitive when it comes to talking about their personal life because very often they have problems with trusting their teachers. The pressure of the group might occur as very important for this group of learners.
Adults are good learners who have usually high level of motivation. They learn language usually because of the need of it in work, or for their own pure satisfaction. They have strong problems with finding time for learning English because of job and family duties. At the same time, they can be a very nice company at the English lessons because usually they are making a relation with the teacher and they are very willing to share their personal thoughts and discuss many topics. Sometimes adults may have a short time of motivation to learn and they can get easily worn out. In this group, it is very important to help with motivation and help them to find a work-life balance.
Seniors are very rewarding when it comes to teaching them English. Very often their level of motivation stays on an equal level because they are used to live in a routine. They also might use lessons as an excuse to spend some social time with other people. They are patient and they can spend a lot of time learning because usually, they have a lot of time in their life. Sadly because of their age, they might face some difficulties understanding grammar or memorizing vocabulary. They tend to be self-critical and it is very important to show them the belief in them and always award them with good words when they try to talk and understand. Seeing the progress of the senior group is very satisfying.
Are you ready to teach ESL students?
As I depicted the pros and cons of teaching different age groups I think that teachers find themselves suitable to teach the group that they can cope with the most easily. Personally, I like working with adults and seniors the most. I can suit their needs and I have the methods and patience to teach them. But different personalities fit different groups and I think that there is no such thing as “easier group”. Each one of them is hard, easy and rewarding at the same time. They are just different
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