Teach English in Qinghe Diqu - Beijing

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young learners vs adultsLearning English is a challenge for all esl students. Whether they are new immigrants, students in a university, or children in a kindergarten, they all face similar obstacles when acquiring the language. However, the learning of young learners and adults is a whole different story. The age, experience, and motivation of the students must to be considered by the teacher when teaching. young learners require a fun, activity-enriched lesson to retain information. If you walk into a kindergarten classroom with only some photocopied handouts and a course book, you might be in for a long lesson with many children being constantly distracted, (1) ?The youth tend to have fresher and sharper minds yet often times lack motivation considering that they would prefer to be playing outside or drawing?. Also, having an enticing classroom filled with color, toys and decorations is very important in a young learners learning environment. Because of their age, bright colors, 3D objects and visuals often stimulate young learners during the lesson. This is quite the contrast with adults, as most classrooms are quite simple looking, rarely displayed with decoration, (2) ?The classrooms of children have tendencies to be more colorful and decorative while the set up of an adult classroom will be simple containing a white board and desks?. When adults enter a classroom they usually bring characteristics young learners severely lack, mainly being experience and expectations. Have you ever asked a four year old how their past learning experience was like? It is most likely they can?t recall much of their past. However, with adults, they can use a long history of life experience and schooling to help with their learning, (3) ?They can engage with abstract thought, have a range of life experiences, definite expectations about the learning process, their own set patterns of learning, and are more disciplined than children?. In contrast, young learners, due to their age, have no experience and their learning comes completely from interaction and stimulation, (4) ?Their own understanding comes through hands and eyes and ears. The physical world is dominant at all times?. The motivation of young learners usually comes from their parent?s direction whereas adults are mainly self-motivated. Whether they are learning English for an exam, work, or general communication, adults know why they are trying to learn the language and can use their own personal goals to help them. In contrast, young learners need enjoyment out of the activity or require an immediate reward such as stickers, to keep them motivated in the classroom, (5) ?Adult learners, contrary to young learners who can study for the sake of a good grade or other indirect rewards, put forth sustained efforts for some other goals than the immediate enjoyment of the activity itself?. It is quite obvious from the examples above, that there are many differences between the way adults and children learn, especially when acquiring a second language. However, both groups do require patience, clear instruction and praise from their teachers and peers. When considering the age, experience, and motivation of the students, it is the duty of the teacher in the classroom to make sure they properly acknowledge these differences and teach the students appropriately. References (1) (2) Wren, A http://www.teflcorp.com/articles/52-tefl-learning-modes-young-learners-vs-adults/165-learning-modes-young-learners-vs-adults.htm (3) Harmer J. The Practice of English Language Teaching. - Pearson Education Ltd., 2000. http://www.esp-world.info/articles_2/Aspects%20E.htm (4)Pinker, S 1994 The Language Instinct Penguin Press http://www.tesolcourse.com/tesol-course-articles/young-learners-adults/article-01-ya.php (5) Kavaliauskien? G. and U?palien?, D http://www.esp-world.info/articles_2/Aspects%20E.htm