Preparation Qualified TEFL

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M.J. - U.S.A. said:
Learning Modes young learners vs Adults
When setting out to teach a language it can be helpful to consider the variables that influence learning. As a teacher, one’s goal should be to teach students as effectively as possible and knowing the qualities that make a good learner could make all the difference. Much research has been done to evaluate the factors of successful learners. Some of the most common factors considered are culture, language level and motivation for learning a new language. However, probably the greatest debated factor is how age affects language learning. Language learning begins when a child is born. The human brain is designed to learn language and is capable of reproducing all possible human sounds. The brain will immediately begin to tune into the sound the language being heard around it. From that point on, the child will start to imitate and limit itself to the tones and phonics of that language. The older one gets, the less able they will be to produce the phonetic sounds of other languages simply because the brain has not been trained to do so and is not as receptive later in life as it was in the first year of development. However, since most students seeking to learn a second language are usually at least school aged, let’s take a look at how language is learned by young learners, ages five through seventeen, and adults, ages eighteen and older. Young learners can be broken up into three different categories and it is important to classify them as so. Even in each group, strengths and weaknesses can be seen. The three categories are as follows: category one age seven and younger, category two ages eight to twelve and lastly ages thirteen through seventeen. Category one is a challenging group to teach for the sheer reason that they have exceptionally short attention spans. It will take much patience and frequent change in activity to keep them focused and interested in the lesson. It will also be difficult to explain to them grammatical structure of a new language as they probably haven’t even learned all of the formalities of their own language yet. Ages thirteen and up is also a difficult group to teach as they are often classified as being the least motivated to learn. They might have been forced by a parent or school to learn and are increasingly self- conscious because of their stage of life. They are not going to be quick to participate in activities or experiment with the language for fear of embarrassment. Contrastingly, the best age for language learning probably falls in those of category two. It has been found that young learners catch onto concepts quickly, are open minded and teachable, can be easily motivated and aren’t afraid to experiment with the new language and do so very naturally. Their pronunciation has proven to be much clearer and more precise than that of an adult who has more difficulty reproducing the sounds of a new language. Researchers attribute these advantages to the fact that the brain is more malleable before puberty. In contrast to young learners, adult learners seem to be at a disadvantage when learning a second language as their brain is no longer as receptive to language learning. They have a difficult time with proper pronunciation since they are so much more accustomed to the sounds of their mother tongue. Adults tend to focus more on grammatical structure and formality of language learning rather than being creative and experimental with the language. This can result in both positive and negative consequences, having a more limited vocabulary than young learners but more quickly mastering grammatical proficiency. Adults also carry their past experiences of classroom learning with them and can sometimes serve as a hindrance in becoming successful in their language acquisition. Despite the fact that younger learners prove to be more competent in learning foreign language, adults can still be just as successful as motivation seems to play as great of a factor as age in the learning process.

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