When teaching English, it is important to adapt the lesson plan and activities to your students’ ages. There is a major difference in teaching English to children versus teenagers and adults. In order to succeed at teaching any age, we have put together a list of tips for teaching students of different ages.
Children tend to be very energetic and therefore you will need to be prepared to stay on your toes when in class. When teaching young children, it is important to remember that they do not have a driving reason to learn English. Rather they are driven by imagination and it is important to keep this in mind when creating your lessons.
- Establish a set routine for each class that is easy for them to learn and understand.
- Incorporate fun games and singing into the lesson plan.
- Do not overcorrect and use positive reinforcement throughout the class.
- Do not shout at them; create a way to get their attention (i.e. rhythmic clapping or a fun rhyme)
Unlike children and adults, teenagers may not be as motivated to learn English. They can view the class as simply another subject that they have to take rather than something they truly wish to learn. Therefore, it is good to build a rapport with your students and try to make your classes as engaging as possible with games. This also means that your students’ level of English will vary according to class and you should tailor your lesson to match the level of each class.
- Establish a rapport with your students and get to know them on a personal level.
- Play age-appropriate games
- Teach age-appropriate slang
- Remember that teenagers have started to care more about what others think
- Make the class relatable; what do the students enjoy doing in their spare time? Discuss these topics in English to help expand their vocabulary.
Adult learners tend to be the most motivated to learn English as they usually have a reason for learning the language (i.e. for university, their job, etc.). It is important to remember and understand their reasons so that your lessons will focus on those reasons.
- Focus on grammar
- Provide positive and detailed feedback
- Teach idioms, phrases, and slang as well
- Keep in mind that you may be teaching people who are older than you. This could create a weird dynamic and so it is important to make the classroom neutral and do not be condescending.
No matter what age you teach, it is important to make the lessons fun and remember your students’ motivation for learning English. When you understand their motivation, your lessons will become more engaging and the students will be more determined to improve their language skills.