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Why a Diverse-Aged Group is Difficult to Teach

Why a Diverse-Aged Group is Difficult to Teach | ITTT | TEFL Blog

There are many potential problems when teaching is considered. With the teaching of a foreign language, especially in a culturally reserved country such as Turkey, the possible issues become bigger or more. I do not believe it would be very useful or beneficial neither for the teacher nor the students to put people with big age differences in the same class, trying to learn the same subject from the same teacher. There are many disadvantages as opposed to weak advantages in doing so.

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

Level of Motivation

To begin with, the level of motivation in students differ depending on the personality and learning aim. In a class containing students from different ages and different backgrounds, it would be rather challenging for the teacher to motivate the students who do not have a full comprehension of why they learn English and keep the motivated students alert at the same time. The students who are difficult to encourage about learning or targeted language are mostly children or teenagers for the fact that they would much rather play games or talk to their friends than sit in a room with others in silence. Surely, this could change on people’s lives and such; however, the fact is that it is undeniable that many instructors find it difficult to motivate a handful of teenagers at once, let alone encouraging them with older students who know the importance of language learning.

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Learning Goals

In addition to the problem mentioned above, even if they are not completely distinctive, the students’ learning purposes will not be the same due to the difference in age and background. A person at working age would mainly try to learn a foreign language such as English which is global for career-related reasons. Being able to speak or write in a foreign language helps many people to find better jobs or even jobs in a foreign country which is appealing to people in nature. There might be other employees who need to learn the language to be promoted to an upper-level position or the company they have been working for has changed their policy and started doing business with companies abroad and they may have asked them to either learn about the new policy and requirements or choose to work at another branch.

A teenager; nevertheless, might sign up a course to pass an exam. Students in today’s world are required to enter several exams to be able to go to universities. This is a motivating factor for some to take an English course. Some other teenagers or children want to learn English just for entertainment reasons. The writers of the books they like might be English or the movies they watch are mostly in English. They may want to read books or watch movies in their native language to get the feeling of it better. It does not matter whether it is college or pleasure purposes, the reason is not for career or money in the short term. As a conclusion, the aim of learning is separate.

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Finally, the interaction among the members of a class is effective in learning; therefore, it should also be taken into consideration when grouping the students. It is delicate enough for even an experienced teacher to create a bond between the learners. Also, it is not always possible to create a relaxed environment which is hindering in lacking. When the age is variant, it might be even more difficult because the students’ will have a different understanding of jokes, respect, and personal space. For example, teenagers find sarcasm and dark humor funny while an older person might find these jokes to be offensive and negatively react to them. A teacher never wants the students in a class to be in a misunderstanding or dispute. It will be as difficult and distracting for the instructor as it is for the whole group.

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In conclusion, teaching a group with many different aged students is and will always be challenging for each teacher. The century, country, school or targeted language will not matter. The possible problems will always be there and with the hindrance of there being people from different cultural, educational, and background information, they will get even bigger and riskier.

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