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Young learner and adult

школа иностранных языков

Автор Анастасия Диомидова, преподаватель английского языка школы

There are some differences in the way Young Learners/Teens and Adults study.

Firstly the difference is in concentration. Adults can concentrate for longer periods of time as YLs find it easy to get distracted with other things that seem more interesting or fun. This is something that I will need to consider while planning the lesson. It is important to divide the lesson into shorter stages and materials should be engaging and have element of fun. Young Learners need to be given a wide variety of activities which relate to the different senses. So, it is better to use lots of visuals, movements, gestures, games, songs and handicrafts.

Conversely, I think that adult lessons can be less energetic but the lessons should be structured very well to concentrate on reading, writing and speaking. With adults it is possible to spend more time on learning tasks so it is possible to engage more deeply with the learning materials, to discuss some topics or questions and write essays.

Secondly, the difference is in motivation. Adults have a clear purpose for learning English. This can be for personal or professional reasons. While it is true that some YLs and Teens choose to come to English, they are usually in the classroom because someone else decided they should be.

In my opinion, it is possible to let adults work things out for themselves, organise themselves and even decide the direction of the lessons. I think it’s a good idea to start the course with a questionnaire to find out about their interests and future aims. This will help to plan the lesson and to raise their motivation. With Young Learners, on the other hand, it is necessary to be in charge of the classroom, giving clear instructions and dealing effectively with learning strategies and classroom management.

  • The five most important attributes of young learner teacher are:
    Being able to create classroom environment. Classroom environment is one of the most important factors that affect students’ learning process. It begins with getting to know your students and building trusting relationships with them. Building their confidence by praising their efforts not only achievements. Teachers should listen to their students and also teach them to be attentive to each other too.
  • Planning the lessons: adapting materials, ensuring that the materials are appropriate (challenging, relevant). Providing opportunities for success: supporting children; ensuring that the students have a clear purpose of the task and that they understand it; making sure that the students have enough practice of the target language and the right time to complete the tasks.
  • Managing the classroom is a really important attribute of young learners’ teacher. Establishing the rules in the classroom and using appropriate classroom management techniques. This can be achieved by following the same classroom routines. Developing and ‘training’ young learners’ abilities to work in groups and pairs.
  • Finally involving families. It is really helpful when students feel that their parents are interested in their lives and their success. This encourages and motivates children greatly. Moreover, it is really helpful to keep the record of the students’ work to the teachers themselves in cooperation with the parents.

Two main areas I would like to develop further in my teaching of young learners are:

  • Planning the lessons. There are a lot of aspects that a teacher should take into account while planning the lessons that we’ve learnt during this course. Beginning with psychological, cognitive and physiological aspects finishing their likes and interests. I think I would start the next school year with getting to know my students better and I would try to be more attentive to their needs. All learners are very different and a good teacher should try to find a way to each student.

The next thing is classroom management. At this course I became aware of how important it is to establish the way students should work and behave since their very first lesson, which is much easier to achieve since they first enter the classroom. This will provide students with more opportunities to succeed performing some tasks and create a better classroom environment. There is a lot of useful information I have learnt during the course. To be better in the areas I have mentioned above, I am going to follow the tips that this course provided us with. As for adapting material to different students and to be able to establish the right set of rules during the lesson I would like to study children’s psychology more. So, I’m going to work on this and try to read a special literature that might provide me with the answers in how to manage this or that situation better.