Maximising Language Learning of Seniors
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Maximising Language Learning of Seniors

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A presentation on older language learners that I gave at the 2010 TESOL Congress in Lleida, Spain.

A presentation on older language learners that I gave at the 2010 TESOL Congress in Lleida, Spain.

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Maximising Language Learning of Seniors Maximising Language Learning of Seniors Presentation Transcript

  • Maximising Senior Language Learning Kieran Donaghy
  • Montse 55 Retired bank worker
  • Dolors 57 Interior designer
  • Angels 67 Retired school teacher
  • Teresa 57 Civil Servant
  • Pere 48 Nurse
  • Lourdes 60 Cake shop owner
  • Objectives
    • How to maximise the language learning of seniors .
    • How to adapt courses and methodology to the needs of older learners .
  • Summary of the session
    • Benefits of studying for seniors .
    • Some myths about older learners .
    • Affective factors .
    • Health factors .
    • Cognitive factors .
    • Compensations to learning environment and methodology .
    • Seniors and ICT .
    • How a university language service has adapted to the needs of older learners .
  • Benefits of studying for seniors
    • 80% reported a positive impact
    • 58% improved their enjoyment of life
    • 56% improved their self-confidence
    • 36% could cope better
    • Dench & Regan ( 2000 )
    • “ There is substantial evidence that seniors can and do learn new skills and develop proficiency with previously learned skill sets .”
    • Moseley & Dessinger ( 2007 )
  • “ It is possible ‘ to teach an old dog new tricks ’.” Moseley & Dessinger ( 2007 )
    • “ There is no reason to believe that older learners are not able to learn a new language .”
    • Weinstein-shr ( 1993 )
    • “ Motivation has been identified as the single most important factor in determining successful language acquisition in adults .”
    • Pulvermuller & Schumann ( 1994 )
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  • IPEC
    • I nterest
    • P ersonalization
    • E ntertainment
    • C hallenge
    Handcock ( 2009 )
  • Self-confidence is a key factor in second language acquisition .
    • “ Many older learners fear failure more than younger learners .”
    ( Schleppegell , 1987 )
  • The teacher has to reduce anxiety and build self-confidence in the senior learner .
    • Provide opportunities for students to work together , focusing on understanding rather than producing language in the early stages .
    • “ If an older person cannot read because of failing eyesight, cannot hear what is said in class because of hearing loss, or cannot copy notes because he or she is arthritic, learning is going to be a frustrating, difficult experience .”
    • Hayslip and Kennelly ( 1985 )
  • Hearing ability
  • Hearing Action Plan
    • 1 . The teacher should speak clearly ensuring that the students can see their face and lips .
    • 2 . Adjust volume for listenings and videos .
    • 3 . Repeat listening texts .
    • 4 . Minimise background noise .
  • Visual ability
  • Visual Action Plan
    • Verdana
    • Bold type
    • Minimum of 12-point for printed text
    • 24-36-point for projected visuals
    • Do not use italics or ALL CAPS
    • 50 to 75 characters per line
    • 5 to 7 words per line on screen
    • Use Red and orange
  • Mobility
  • Mobility Action Plan
    • 1 . Comfortable chairs and tables .
    • 2 . Allow more time for older students to do whole class communicative activities .
    • 3 . Activities like running dictation and Total Physical Response activities may not be appropriate .
  • Cognitive factors
    • “ Older brains are slower to process information , less able to block distractions and irrelevant information during recall tasks , and less agile when it comes to switching from task to task .”
    • Hayslip and Kennelly ( 1985 )
    • “ Older learners can benefit from memory and other types of cognitive training .”
    • Loweinstein ( 2005 )
  • “ Old brains can be trained to act like young ones .” Begley (2006)
  • Richard Of York Gave Battle in Vain 1 . Help seniors to exercise their minds using memory exercises, and mnemonic devices .
  • A : What happened ? B : I broke my arm . A : How did it happen ? B : I was playing football and I fell over . A : Did it hurt ? B : Yes , it did , at first . But it ’ s better now .
  • A : What happened ? B : I broke my arm . A : How did it happen ? B : I was playing football and I fell over . A : Did it hurt ? B : Yes , it did , at first . But it ’ s better now .
  • A : What happened ? B : I broke my arm . A : How did it happen ? B : I was playing football and I fell over . A : Did it hurt ? B : Yes , it did , at first . But it ’ s better now .
  • A : What happened ? B : I broke my arm . A : How did it happen ? B : I was playing football and I fell over . A : Did it hurt ? B : Yes , it did , at first . But it ’ s better now .
  • A : What happened ? B : I broke my arm . A : How did it happen ? B : I was playing football and I fell over . A : Did it hurt ? B : Yes , it did , at first . But it ’ s better now .
  • S A V O S ubject + A uxiliary + V erb + O bject I don ’ t like him .
  • Q U A S I QU estion + A uxiliary + S ubject + I nfinitive Where do you live ?
  • 2 . Adjust timing to compensate for cognitive loss .
    • More time to respond .
    • Avoid timed tests .
    • Avoid fast-paced presentations .
    • Adjust timing when motor skills are involved .
    • Make it clear when one task begins and another ends .
  • 3 . Supplement listening and text with images .
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  • Repetition is key . 4 . Use repetition and recycling .
  • Ebbinghaus Curve : www.psych.purdue.edu/~ben/285su2001/notes/figures/5-forgettingcurve.htm
  • Overcoming the Curve Immediately after class 24 hours later 1 week later (or sooner) 1 month later (or sooner) Notice how less is forgotten after each review!!
  • Seniors should review what they have learned:
    • 10 minutes after learning
    • 1 day after learning
    • 1 week after learning
    • 1 month after learning
    • 6 months after learning .
  • 5 . Start and finish a class with a positive activity and in between “ sandwich ” less popular but necessary activities .
  • 6 . Help students reduce external noise . Comfortable tables and chairs , adjust lighting and sound , little background noise .
  • 7 . Encourage seniors to think analytically , reflectively and creatively .
  • 8 . Get students to use cognitive strategies .
  • Seniors and ICT
  • What do seniors think about ICT?
  •  
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  • Seniors at UAB Idiomes
  •  
  • “ I am still learning .” Michelangelo
    • [email_address]
  • Sources
    • Aging: What to expect as you get older, (2004). Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Retrieved on 19th July, 2009 from:
    • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aging/HA00040
    • “ Briefing Sheet”, (2005). Older people and learning – Some key statistics. Retrieved on July 5th 2009 from:
    • http://www.niace.org.uk/sites/default/files/69-Older-people-learning.pdf
    • Dench, S, and Regan J, (2000). Learning in Later Life: Motivation and Impact, Research Report RR183, Department for Education and Employment, February 2000 . Retrieved on 6th July 2009:
    • http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/pubs/summary.php?id=rr183
    • Eggen, P. and Kauchak, D (2001). Educational psychology: Windows on classrooms (5thed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Merrill Prentice Hall.
    • Hale, N. (1990). The older Worker . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • Hayslip, B. J. and Kennelly, K. J. (1985).. Cognitive and non-cognitive factors affecting learning among older adults. In D. B. Lumsden (ED), The older adult as learner: Aspects of educational gerontology: New York: Hemisphere.
    • Krashen, S. D., M. A. Long, and R. C. Scarcella. (1979). Age, Rate and Eventual Attainment in Second Language Acquisition. TESOL QUARTERLY 13.
    • Lenneberg, E. H. (1967). Biological foundations of language . New York: John Wiley and Sons.
    • McLaughlin, B. (1992). Myths and misconceptions about second language learning. Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics Washington DC ERIC Identifier: ED350885.
    • Moseley, J.L. and Dessinger , J.C. (2007). Training Older Workers and Learners: Maximizing the Workplace Performance of an Aging Workforce New York: Pfeiffer.
    • Oxford, R. (1985). A new taxonomy of second language learning strategies . Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.
    • Pulvermuller, F. and Schumann, J. (1994).Neurobiological mechanisms of language acquisition. Language Learning 44.
    • Roth, C. L. (2005). How to protect the aging workforce. Occupational hazards, 67(2). 2005, VOL 67; NUMB 1.
    • Schleppegrell, M. (1987). The Older Language Learner. ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics Washington DC. ERIC Identifier: ED287313. Weinstein-Shr, G. (1993). Growing old in America: Learning English Literacy in the later Years. ERIC Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education Washington DC., National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education Washington DC. ERIC Identifier: ED367197.