Teach English in BAfu Zhen - Chongqing

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Learning Modes young learners vs. AdultsThere is a popular theory that second language acquisition is much easier in children than in adults, that after adolescence it becomes much harder to acquire a new language. However, there are also arguments that support the theory that adults have a distinct advantage when learning a second langue. What is agreed upon generally is that teaching each of these groups should be approached differently. According to Krashen (1981), in the second language learning context, young children learn differently from older learners. As he explains, some second language theorists assume that children acquire language and adults can only learn. Children often learn indirectly rather than directly. In other words, they take information from all sides, learning from everything around rather than focusing on the precise topic they have to study. As Zhao and Morgan (2004) relate, children generally are not consciously interested in language for its own sake. Instead, they direct their attention towards things that are easy for them to understand, children therefore learn more effectively when their attention is focused on meaning rather than on language. Adults have distinct preconceived learning concepts. They are often put off by role plays and games, popular way of learning a second language. They generally dislike rote learning and drills and are conditioned to expect certain 'learning styles'. Children however, are open to any teaching method as long as they are having fun while then are learning. While adults are normally motivated by a specific reason for studying the language, for example, job prospects or travel etc. children simply learn because they are naturally inquisitive and interested, in general children have a strong motivational urge to communicate in order to satisfy their needs. Krashen (1983) makes an important distinction between ?implicit? and ?explicit? learning, stating that implicit knowledge plays a crucial role in acquiring language. He argues that second language acquisition is similar to child first language acquisition. He describes it as ?picking up? a language subconsciously. Games therefore play an intrinsic role. As their attention span is short, teachers have to use transitions and change activities often in order to keep their attention. Adults have a certain amount of self discipline and can control their attention from wavering while the teacher of young learners have to hold their young learner's attention to prevent them from being distracted by their peers, or the environment. Additionally, adults are fearful of being embarrassed by their lack of ability. They fear scorn and ridicule because of their prior life experience. They are less likely to practice their newly acquired language skills in public as opposed to children who take every opportunity to show off their new language skills. Children are more likely to ask questions and to be spontaneous. The teacher's role is to channel this spontaneity into constructive learning. The difficulty for the teacher of adult learners is often that one has to determine understanding without ever causing any kind of feelings of humiliation or ridicule in the adult. young learners absorb smaller amount of input from the teacher inadvertently, naturally, in a similar way to which they have absorb their first language (Zhao and Morgan, 2004). Adults have a contrast and often have to be persuaded to not revert to their native language. Additionally, teaching adults means that the teacher has to create different situations and scenarios in which to practice using the language, with children however, the teacher only has to focus on the current lesson, in other words, the 'here and now'. In conclusion, young learners and adults have clear but different learning concepts. Each group should therefore be approached differently in order to maximize the teaching/learning process. Bibliography Cook, C. 2008 Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. Hodder Education Krashen S. D. 1981 Principles and Practices in Second Language Teaching. Oxford Pergamum Press Zhao, A. H. Q. and Morgan, C. 2004. Consideration of Age in L2 Attainment ? Children, Adolescents and Adults. Asians EFL Journal Vol. 6, Issue 4, December 2004