Teach English in Malan Zhen - Qingdao Shi

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It should come as no surprise that adults and young learners need different approaches in teaching methods. Especially when it comes to teaching these groups English as a second language. In order to teach an English class effectively, there are several key aspects to consider: the mindset of the students, their motivation for learning, and language ability. The categories of young learners and adult learners are commonly split between students who are 18 years or older, and those younger than 18. Within the young learners category, there are three sub-categories divided by age groups: 7 years or younger, 8 to 12 years old, and 13 to 17 years old. These three categories of young learners often require different approaches. Young learners, particularly students under the age of 7, require more frequent praise in the classroom and less correction of mistakes. Teachers must remain patient with these younger students as their attention spans are very short, and they require a change in tasks and activity much more frequently than adult learners, and even older aged young learners. Games work particularly well for keeping students’ attention and to make the learning fun. Teachers should keep in mind that the game rules should be simple and easily understood. Visual teaching aids are invaluable for conveying new vocabulary and information to young learners. These aids can be photographs, cartoon pictures, real objects, or even gestures performed by the teacher. Over the top, dramatic gestures can be especially beneficial, as young students enjoy seeing the teacher act in a silly manner. These silly gestures, in addition to building language understanding, will also build rapport with the class. Having rewards on hand for good work and good behavior is something that teachers should have in mind with young learners. Stickers are a very common motivating reward in classrooms. Student motivation is one of the most important factors that new and experienced teachers alike must keep in mind. Adult learners tend to be highly motivated to perform well, as they have most likely chosen to take the English course. They may have aspirations such as traveling to, working in, or studying in an English speaking country; or just an interest in learning foreign language. Young learners have usually not chosen to be in the classroom, as it is a requirement of their curriculum. They may not see any benefit to learning English when they can accomplish everyday tasks with their native tongue. It is important to note that teachers will still come across both unmotivated adult learners and highly motivated young learners. Adult learners will typically have a reason for wanting to learn English. In one-on-one sessions, it can be easy to focus on the individual needs and wants of the student. However, in larger groups of adults, focusing on everyone’s individual needs can prove to be more difficult as they likely have different motivations and aspirations for learning English. In addition to class size, the ages of students can vary drastically in a classroom of adults. This means drastically varying motivations for learning. Just like with young learners, games can be very useful for eliciting language, teaching new ideas, or reviewing previously learned items. Games can be less simplistic, but should still be easily understood by the students. Teachers can keep things interesting in the classroom by making a lessons’ materials relevant. Current news topics, movies, and popular English songs make for good discussions and engaging lessons. Classroom management and discipline is a very important aspect of teaching. With short attention spans, and a lack of desire to learn, classrooms of young students require a more strict enforcement of class rules. This means teachers should be consistent with their set rules. All students should be treated fairly, and “favorites” shouldn’t exist. Teachers should keep in mind the code of conduct of the school or employer, and not go outside of these guidelines. A good rule of thumb is for teachers to be more strict in the beginning of a course, and gradually relax as time goes on. It is much easier to regain control of the classroom this way, than vice versa. Teachers should also bear in mind that their attitude and personality in the classroom is very important and can have a major effect on discipline. Again, because adult learners have more than likely chosen on their own to take an English course, classroom management is likely to be easier to maintain. However, classes with a large number of students can be difficult to manage due to the amount of people in the room. Appointing group leaders can assist with managing the class. Group and pair activities also work well to keep all students involved throughout the duration of a class period. In short, although the points addressed here are broad, they are meant to cover the basic and most obvious differences between a classroom of adults versus a classroom of young learners. As a teacher becomes more experienced, and tries different teaching methods, they will learn what their students respond well to and what they don’t.