Teach English in Baiquan XiAng - Chongqing

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Learning Modes, young learners vs AdultsIn order to be a good teacher, there are certain roles and responsibilities he or she must assume. However, no matter how good a teacher is, no learning could take place if the learners are not willing to learn. Good learners have desire to experiment with the language, possess willingness to ask questions, have an ability to think about their own learning process and methods and are willing to accept corrections on their errors. Therefore the teacher has a challenging task of recognizing these qualities and fostering them in the classroom. We could classify learners according to age groups; young learners (from 2 to 18 years) and adult learners (above 18 years). young learners are again sub-divided into three age groups such as ages from 2 to 7 years, 8 to 13 years and 14 to 18 years. The first group is often called the pre-schoolers, the second group is called the pre-puberty learners or adolescents and the third group is called the teenagers or post-puberty learners. Jean Piaget (1896-1980) , a Swiss biologist and psychologist developed a four-stage model of cognitive development in young learners. They are being summed up as follow: 1. Sensorimotor stage (0-2yrs). The baby builds an understanding of himself or herself and observes how things work through interactions with the environment. 2. Preoperational stage (2-4yrs). The child needs concrete physical situations to conceptualize abstract ideas. Identification of objects is by simple and important features. 3. Concrete operations (ages 7-11yrs). The child starts to conceptualize and think in abstract terms. He is able to create logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences. 4. Formal operations (11-15yrs). The teenager no longer needs concrete objects to make logical judgment at this stage. The teenager is able to make deductive and hypothetical reasoning. His or her ability for abstract thinking is quite similar to an adult. For the purpose of comparison we now take a look at Knowles theory of Andragogy assumptions of the adult learners. Knowles (1986) popularized this concept of Andragogy as follow: 1. Self-concept: A maturing person progresses from dependency to self-directness. 2. Experience: They draw upon their experiences to help their learning. 3. Readiness: Their readiness to learn is closely associated with their new social roles. 4. Orientation: An adult learner likes to make application of new knowledge in problem solving. 5. Motivation: An adult receives motivation to learn from internal factors. Having taken an overview of the above two theories, we can now make some comparisons between the young learners and adults. Both theories generally consist of three factors; motivation, experiences and behavior. Firstly, we realize that young learners learn because they are curious and teenagers learn due partly to group pressure. However adult learns because they have made the choice to learn and partly because of economic reasons. Secondly, young learners are may have some experiences of the native language while teenagers might have good knowledge of it. However, adults have life experiences and language learning. Thirdly, young learners have short attention span and learn well by play while this is not applicable to adults. Moreover, the adolescent learners are receptive to teaching and not worried about mistakes but adults are either positive or negative with the learning experiences. We need to take further note that teenagers as compared to young learners are more self-conscious and less likely to take risks in the presence of their peers. Therefore we need to care for them and encourage motivation by making learning interesting. In conclusion, we find that teaching young learners needs lots of preparation in terms of visuals, objects, games, activities and pictures etc. However teaching adults need further research and comprehension of materials to meet their expectations. Last but not least, young learners need more praises and encouragement but adults need more challenges and applications to learn well. Adults are self-directed in their learning purposes and as long we prepare well, know the subject well and build rapport with them, teaching adults would be successful.