Middle-aged English Students:
my Favorite Bunch of Learners
By Marita de la Lama
I have always enjoyed teaching English and very fortunately during my teaching career I have had the opportunity to teach all, children, teenagers and adults. Although I undoubtedly have no memories of my teaching years at primary school, I must confess that it was not until I started working with middle-aged students that I definitely fell in love head over hills with my English teaching career.
I believe that it is quite unfair of many teachers to consider that middle-aged students scuffle considerably when learning a foreign language, a struggle that in turn may make almost all their instructors’ efforts ineffectual. But nothing can be further from reality! Let me underline some characteristics of this cluster of apprentices that make them so special and valuable:
1. The teacher gets a boost of professional self-confidence
This group of students values all your teaching efforts and never limits their compliments to your teaching or method after a single good lesson. As a consequence, teachers end up developing a strong bond with their students.
2. An ideal atmosphere for learning and practicing a foreign language
As a set, middle-aged students develop good rapport within themselves. Frequently, they enjoy socializing after class or getting together to prepare projects or special assignments. They see their language course as a good opportunity to make friends and have fun, something that I do appreciate.
3. Substancial living experience that enrich class discussions
When performing communicative activities teachers do not need to strive to elicit students‘ opinions. In fact, they will be interacting and exchanging opinions as soon as you ask them to start. Perhaps the struggle would be more likely to emerge when you need them to stop talking!
4. Knowledge of how to learn
This particuar assembly of learners knows they learn better and they are willing to apply this know-how to their own gaining knowledge of English. They feel responsible for their own learning and progress and so not rely completely on th eteacher as a younger group of students commonly does.
5. Deep Analytical skills
The analytical skills that characterize this segment of the student population optimize the learning of grammar and syntax.
6. Goal-oriented and discipline
With this human assemblage teachers do not need to motivate pupils to learn. Its members are goal-oriented people who direct all their effort, discipline and concentration to absorbing the language.
7. They have already developed better skills to learn and do remember new words.
Unlike a younger cluster of students, middle aged scholars have a good deal of mnemonic strategies that help them develop a worthy amount of vocabulary.
So next time that you have a chance to teach a section, in which the youngest student in the class is in his forties, go right ahead and do it! You'll end up discovering what a terrific teacher you are.
Adult Education, Dharon Hills.
Teaching English as a Second Language, Marianne Celce-Murcia, Editor.
Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Douglas Brown, Longman.
DE LA LAMA, MARIA. Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics and Bachelor’s Degree in Theoretical Linguistics from the University of California; MBA from the Universidad del Pacífico. Current Director at Centro de Idiomas de la Universidad del Pacífico.